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  • >> Stephen: HEY, EVERYBODY!

  • WELCOME TO A SPECIAL LIVE "LATE SHOW."

  • I'M YOUR HOST, STEPHEN COLBERT.

  • WELL, YOU DID IT.

  • YOU SURVIVED THE LAST FOUR YEARS AND YOUR REWARD: A SHINY,

  • NEW, OLD PRESIDENT.

  • GOOD OL' JOE, BECAUSE TODAY AT 11:49 A.M., JOSEPH ROBINETTE

  • BIDEN JR. WAS SWORN IN AS THE 46th PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED

  • STATES.

  • WE WATCHED IT.

  • EVIE'S HERE.

  • WE WATCHED IT TOGETHER.

  • THE INAUGURATION WAS A JOYFUL OCCASION.

  • LIKE I DO AT MOST HAPPY THINGS, I CRIED A LOT.

  • IT'S TRUE.

  • IT WAS EXTREMELY EMOTIONAL AND NOT ENTIRELY IN THE WAY THAT I

  • EXPECTED.

  • BECAUSE I HAVE TO TELL YOU, I HAVE ZERO GLOAT IN ME.

  • THERE'S NO ENDZONE DANCE IN ME.

  • WHAT I FEEL IS ENORMOUS RELIEF.

  • WATCHING THE INAUGURATION TODAY, I RECOGNIZED JUST HOW

  • WORRIED I'VE BEEN FOR MY COUNTRY.

  • BUT WE'VE ALL BEEN TOO DEEP FOR THE LAST FOUR YEARS TO TRULY

  • REALIZE WHAT WE WERE DEEPLY IN.

  • IT'S LIKE WE'VE BEEN ON A SHIP THAT'S BEEN IN A STORM FOR FOUR

  • YEARS, AND WE JUST STEPPED ON TO DRY LAND.

  • I WANT TO KISS THE GROUND, BUT, YOU KNOW, COVID, SO I'M JUST

  • GOING TO FIST BUMP IT.

  • TODAY FELT LIKE A RETURN TO NORMALCY, EVEN THOUGH SO MUCH

  • ABOUT THE DAY WAS ABNORMAL.

  • DUE TO THE PANDEMIC, EVERYONE WAS WEARING MASKS, AND INSTEAD

  • OF PEOPLE THE MALL WAS FILLED WITH FLAGS.

  • LOOK AT THEM WAVING!

  • THEY'RE SO HAPPY!

  • I CAN'T BLAME THEM.

  • REMEMBER, IT'S BEEN A TOUGH FOUR YEARS FOR FLAGS, TOO.

  • BUT EVEN THOUGH IT WAS ABNORMAL, AT LEAST WE UNDERSTOOD WHY IT

  • WAS ABNORMAL.

  • ONE YEAR AGO TODAY, THE FIRST U.S. PATIENT WAS HOSPITALIZED

  • FOR COVID.

  • AND AFTER 12 MONTHS OF DENIAL AND SELF-DELUSION ABOUT THIS

  • PANDEMIC, WE'RE FINALLY ACCEPTING REALITY AND TAKING

  • PRECAUTIONS.

  • SO MANY TIMES DURING THE LAST FOUR YEARS, WE WERE ALL LIKE,

  • "WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING, AND WHY IS IT HAPPENING?"

  • AND THEY WOULDN'T TELL US.

  • AND THEY WOULDN'T TELL US THE REAL REASONS, BECAUSE EVERYTHING

  • WAS A SALES JOB.

  • AND THE WEIRDEST FEELING IS WHEN SOMETHING IS CLEARLY ABNORMAL

  • AND SOMEONE TRIES TO TELL YOU IT'S NOT.

  • WHAT WE SAW TODAY WAS THE OPPOSITE OF BEING GASLIT.

  • TODAY, WE WERE REALITY-BOARDED, AND I AM HERE FOR IT.

  • PERHAPS THE MOST POTENT SYMBOLISM FOR THIS INAUGURATION,

  • WAS THE GUY WHO HAD TO DISINFECT THE PODIUM AFTER EVER SPEAKER.

  • HIS WHOLE GIG WAS WIPING AWAY A DISEASE, MUCH LIKE THE VOTERS

  • DID.

  • RIGHT BEFORE THE BIDENS CAME OUT, SOMETHING VERY AUSPICIOUS

  • HAPPENED: IT STARTED SNOWING!

  • IT'S AN INAUGURATION MIRACLE!

  • (SINGING TO THE TUNE OF "LET IT SNOW" )

  • OH, THE LAST GUY IN CHARGE WAS FRIGHTFUL,

  • BUT THE NEW ONE SEEMS DELIGHTFUL

  • AND "NOW" THERE'S FOUR YEARS TO GO

  • PRESIDENT JOE!

  • PRESIDENT JOE!

  • PRESIDENT JOE! ♪ IN A SHOW OF NATIONAL UNITY, ALL

  • THE FORMER PRESIDENTS PAID THEIR RESPECTS.

  • JIMMY CARTER SENT A MESSAGE, THE BUSHES WERE THERE.

  • THE CLINTONS WERE THERE.

  • THE OBAMAS WERE THERE.

  • AND THAT'S ALL THE FORMER PRESIDENTS.

  • ( LAUGHTER ) THEN CAME THE WORDS WE'VE BEEN

  • WAITING TO HEAR: >> PLEASE WELCOME, LADY GAGA!

  • >> Stephen: NO.

  • I MEAN YES.

  • I MEAN, YES, THAT WAS EXCITING, DON'T GET ME WRONG, BUT NOT THAT

  • ONE.

  • UH, SORRY.

  • JIM?

  • >> LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED

  • STATES, JOSEPH ROBINETTE BIDEN JR. AND DR JILL BIDEN.

  • ( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ).

  • ♪ ♪ ♪ >> Stephen: ISN'T THAT LOVELY?

  • A PRESIDENTIAL COUPLE HOLDING HANDS IN A WAY THAT DOESN'T LOOK

  • CONTRACTUALLY MANDATED.

  • WHEN IT WAS TIME FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM, THAT'S WHEN

  • LADY GAGA DID ARRIVE, AS ONLY GAGA CAN-- NOT ON THE RED

  • CARPET, BUT IN A RED CARPET.

  • DARING COUTURE FROM THE SPRING 2021 STAINMASTER LINE.

  • ( LAUGHTER ) GAGA SANG THE NATIONAL ANTHEM

  • BEAUTIFULLY, AND I WAS ESPECIALLY MOVED BY THIS MOMENT.

  • OUR FLAG WAS STILL THERE ♪ >> Stephen: AND, SURPRISE!

  • THE FLAG WAS STILL THERE!

  • RARELY IS THAT SONG A CLIFFHANGER, BUT JUST TWO■ç

  • WEEKS AGO, IN THAT SPOT, IT WAS IN DANGER OF BEING REPLACED BY A

  • RAMBO PHOTOSHOP.

  • FUN FACT: AFTER THE INAUGURATION, LADY GAGA DIDN'T

  • GET IN A LIMO.

  • THAT BIRD ON HER DRESS JUST CARRIED HER HOME.

  • THEN JOSEPH R. BIDEN TOOK THE OATH OF OFFICE WITH■ç HIS

  • HAND ON WHAT APPEARED TO BE THE BIBLE: DIRECTOR'S CUT EXTENDED

  • EDITION.

  • WHEN THE NEW PRESIDENT ADDRESSED THE NATION FOR THE FIRST TIME,

  • HE HAD A CLEAR MESSAGE FOR THE CAPITOL INSURRECTIONISTS:

  • >> HERE WE STAND, JUST DAYS AFTER A RIOTOUS MOB THOUGHT THEY

  • COULD USE VIOLENCE TO SILENCE THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE, TO STOP

  • THE WORK OF OUR DEMOCRACY, TO DRIVE US FROM THIS SACRED

  • GROUND.

  • IT DID NOT HAPPEN.

  • IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

  • NOT TODAY, NOT TOMORROW, NOT EVER.

  • NOT EVER.

  • ( APPLAUSE ) >> Stephen: STIRRING WORDS THAT

  • I HOPE THE RIOTERS HEAR.

  • ON THE TV IN THE PRISON DAY ROOM.

  • THE NEW PRESIDENT WENT ON: >> THIS IS A GREAT NATION.

  • WE ARE GOOD PEOPLE.

  • >> Stephen: IT'S SO STRANGE TO HEAR SOMEBODY SAY THAT WE'RE A

  • GREAT NATION, WITHOUT THEN HEARING ABOUT WHICH OF US ARE

  • RADICAL SOCIALIST ANTIFAS INTENT ON DESTROYING OUR

  • HERITAGE WITH LOW-FLOW TOILET FLUSHES.

  • THE THEME OF THE DAY WAS "AMERICA UNITED," SO

  • PRESIDENT BIDEN CALLED ON THE NATION TO STEP BACK FROM TOXIC

  • PARTISANSHIP.

  • >> WE CAN JOIN FORCES, STOP THE SHOUTING AND LOWER THE

  • TEMPERATURE.

  • >> Stephen: AND THEN SOMEONE RAISES THE TEMPERATURE, AND I'M

  • LIKE "WHO TOUCHED THE THERMOSTAT?

  • YOU KNOW THE RULES AT POP'S HOUSE."

  • AND EVERYONE IS LIKE "WASN'T ME."

  • AND I'M LIKE, "WELL I'M PUTTING IT BACK TO 68.

  • WE'RE NOT HEATING THE WHOLE DAMN NEIGHBORHOOD HERE."

  • "JILL GET ME THE CELLO TAPE.

  • I'M TAPING THIS SUCKER DOWN!" THEN BIDEN ISSUED A STIRRING

  • CALL FOR THE NATION TO COME TOGETHER:

  • >> THIS IS OUR HISTORIC MOMENT OF CRISIS AND CHALLENGE AND

  • UNITY IS THE PATH FORWARD.

  • AND WE MUST MEET THIS MOMENT AS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

  • IF WE DO THAT, I GUARANTEE YOU WE WILL NOT FAIL.

  • WE HAVE NEVER EVER, EVER, EVER, FAILED IN AMERICA WHEN WE HAVE

  • ACTED TOGETHER.

  • >> Stephen: SOMEONE CLEARLY NEVER SAW THE "CATS" MOVIE.

  • ( LAUGHTER ) PRESIDENT BIDEN QUOTED SAINT

  • AUGUSTINE AND SAID A COUNTRY CAN BE JUDGED ON WHAT THEY LOVE AND

  • THEN ASKED THIS IMPORTANT QUESTION:

  • >> WHAT ARE THE COMMON OBJECTS WE AS AMERICANS LOVE?

  • >> Stephen: UH, MELTED CHEESE?

  • SAUCY NETFLIX DRAMAS?

  • VIDEOS OF CATS KNOCKING STUFF OFF DESKS?

  • THAT FEELING WHEN YOU FIND $20 IN THE POCKET OF A JACKET YOU

  • HAVEN'T WORN SINCE LAST YEAR?

  • MEGHAN THE STALLION?

  • JALAPENO POPPERS?

  • JALAPENO POPPERS!

  • AT 78 BIDEN BECAME THE OLDEST PRESIDENT EVER TOIC TATHE OATH

  • OF OFFICE.

  • NOT THAT HE WAS COMPLAINING, BUT THERE'S A LOT OF WORK TO DO.

  • >> FOLKS, THIS IS A TIME OF TESTING.

  • WE FACE AN ATTACK ON DEMOCRACY AND ON TRUTH, A RAGING VIRUS,

  • GROWING INEQUITY, THE STING OF SYSTEMIC RACISM, A CLIMATE IN

  • CRISIS.

  • >> Stephen: THAT'S A HELL OF A LIST.

  • HE SHOULD PROBABLY PUT THOSE ON THE WHITE HOUSE CHORE WHEEL.

  • "ALL RIGHT, IT'S WEDNESDAY!

  • MAYOR PETE, YOUR TURN TO TAKE OUT THE RECYCLING AND END

  • SYSSYSSYSTEMIC RACISM OR NOW ALLOWANCE, MISTER.

  • WHO TOUCHED THE THERMOSTAT?

  • WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?

  • WHAT'S GOING ON?

  • WHAT, ARE THE SQUIRRELS PAYING THE BILLS NOW?"

  • ( LAUGHTER ) IN ONE PARTICULARLY MOVING

  • MOMENT, BIDEN QUOTED LINCOLN WHEN HE SIGNED THE EMANCIPATION

  • PROCLAMATION.

  • >> IF MY NAME EVER GOES DOWN INTO HISTORY, IT WILL BE FOR

  • THIS ACT, AND MY WHOLE SOUL IS IN IT.

  • MY WHOLE SOUL IS IN IT.

  • TODAY, ON THIS JANUARY DAY, MY WHOLE SOUL IS IN THIS.

  • >> Stephen: IT'S SO NICE TO HAVE A PRESIDENT WITH A SOUL

  • AGAIN.

  • THE PREFTS ONE SOLD HIS TO THE DEVIL AND DIDN'T EVEN GET

  • GEORGIA OUT OF THE DEAL.

  • AS STIRRING AS BIDEN'S SPEECH WAS, IT WASN'T AS HISTORIC AS

  • HIS OPENING ACT, BECAUSE TODAY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OUR

  • 244-YEAR HISTORY, THE UNITED STATES HAS A FEMALE VICE

  • PRESIDENT.

  • IT'S A MOMENT THAT FUTURE GENERATIONS WILL LOOK BACK ON

  • AND SAY, "WOW, THAT TOOK A LONG TIME."

  • NOT ONLY I HARRIS OUR FIRST FEMALE VICE PRESIDENT.

  • SHE'S OUR FIRST BLACK VICE PRESIDENT, OUR FIRST SOUTH

  • ASIAN-AMERICAN VICE PRESIDENT, AND THE FIRST VICE PRESIDENT IN

  • FOUR YEARS WHO DOESN'T THINK YOGURT IS TOO SPICY.

  • IT WAS MOVING TO WATCH VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS BEING SWORN IN

  • BY SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR.

  • AND IT GOT A VERY EXCITED REACTION FROM JOE BIDEN.

  • >> THAT I WILL WELL AND FAITHFULLY DISCHARGE.

  • >> THE DUTIES OF THE OFFICE ON WHICH I AM■ç ABOUT TO ENTER.

  • >> THE DUTYIES OF THE OFFICE UPON WHICH I AM ABOUT TO ENTER.

  • >> SO HELP ME GOD.

  • >> SO HELP ME GOD.

  • >> ALL RIGHT!

  • >> Stephen: "ALL RIGHT!" THAT'S REFRESHING.

  • IN JUST TWO SHORT WEEKS THAT DAIS HAS GONE FROM ALT-RIGHT TO

  • ALL RIGHT!

  • VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS' SWEARING IN WAS FOLLOWED BY A PERFORMANCE

  • OF "AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL" BY J-LO, WHO INCLUDED A SHOUT-OUT

  • IN SPANISH ( SPEAKING SPANISH )

  • >> Stephen: HECK, YEAH!

  • MOVEOSE GRACIAS, MISS LO.

  • DON'T BE FOOLED BY THE SHADES THAT ARE ROCK.

  • DIDN'T THINK THAT JACK WAS COMING, DID YOU, JACK.

  • THERE'S ALWAYS ONE MORE JACK THAN YOU THINK, JACK.

  • JACK.

  • ( LAUGHTER ) THEN, SENATOR ABEY KLOBUCHAR

  • LIGHTENED THINGS UP A BIT.

  • >> THIS IS THE FIRST INAUGURATION IN THE HISTORY OF

  • AMERICA WHERE J-LO WAS THE WARM-UP ACT FOR CHIEF JUSTICE

  • ROBERTS.

  • >> Stephen: MAYBE, BUT NOT THE LAST.

  • I'M HOPING FOR THE 2022 SUPER BOWL HALF TIME SHOW.

  • THE INTERNET WENT ABSOLUTELY ABECAUSE FOR THIS PICTURE OF

  • SENATOR BERNIE STANDERS.

  • THE VERMONT IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE, IN A PARKA AND GIANT WOOLEN

  • MITTENS.

  • BUT NOTICE THE ONE PART OF HIS BODY THAT IS NOT COVERED.

  • BERNIE, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!

  • DON'T YOU KNOW THAT 99% OF YOUR BODY HEAT ESCAPES OUT OF THE TOP

  • 1%?

  • THERE WERE A LOT OF HIGHLIGHTS DURING THE CEREMONY, BUT A REAL

  • STANDOUT WAS INAUGURAL POET, 22-YEAR-OLD AMANDA GORMAN.

  • >> IF WE'RE TO LIVE UP TO OUR OWN TIME, THEN VICTORY WON'T LIE

  • IN THE BLADE BUT IN ALL THE BRIDGES WE'VE MADE.

  • THAT IS THE PROMISE TO GLADE THE HILL WE CLIMB.

  • >> Stephen: BEAUTIFUL, STIRRING WORDS.

  • AND A NICE CHANGE FROM THE LAST ADMINISTRATION.

  • THE CLOSEST THEY CAME TO POETRY WAS, "I, "HIKU.

  • THE YOUNG POET LAUREATE SUMMED UP THE CHALLENGES FACING OUR

  • COUNTRY.

  • >> BEING AMERICAN IS MORE THAN A PRIDE WE INHERIT.

  • IT'S THE PAST WE STEP INTO AND HOW WE REPAIR IT.

  • >> Stephen: YES, HOW DO YOU REPAIR THE PAST?

  • HAVE WE TRIED UNPLUGGING THE PAST AND PLUGGING IT BACK IN

  • AGAIN?

  • BECAUSE THAT WORKS ON EVERYTHING ELSE.

  • BUT HOWEVER WE FIX THIS COUNTRY, IT'S NOT THE NEW

  • ADMINISTRATION'S WORK ALONE.

  • IT IS UP TO ALL OF US, AS IT ALWAYS IS.

  • IN WHATEVER WAY WE CAN.

  • AND PRESIDENT BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS, YOU HAVE OUR

  • PRAYERS, OUR BEST WISHES, AND OUR EVERY CONFIDENCE.

  • WE'VE GOT A GREAT SHOW FOR YOU TONIGHT.

  • MY GUEST ARE JON LOVETT, JON FAVREAU, AND TONY VIETOR, FROM

  • "POD SAVE AMERICA."

  • BUT WHEN WE RETURN, THE PRESIDENT'S FIRST DAY AT WORK.