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  • >> Stephen: WELCOME.

  • WELCOME, ONE AND ALL TO "A LATE SHOW."

  • I'M YOUR HOST, STEPHEN COLBERT.

  • ONE MORE TIME.

  • WELL, FOLKS, IT'S OUR LAST SHOW OF 2020, AND HOPEFULLY IT'S OUR

  • LAST 2020, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN-- AND I'M NOT SURE I DO.

  • TONIGHT, WE'RE GOING TO REVISIT THE YEAR THAT WAS-- AND, BOY,

  • WAS IT-- IN A SPECIAL REPORT >> "2020: THE YEAR THAT TOOK

  • YEARS.

  • WHAT A CLUSTER-FOND LOOK BACK."

  • >> Stephen: 2020 BROUGHT US SO MUCH: THE CLUMSIEST COUP IN

  • HISTORY, THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC, COMMERCIALS FROM DOMINOE'S

  • SAYING THEIR PIZZAS WOULD NOW GO RIGHT FROM THE OVEN INTO THE BOX

  • WITHOUT ANYONE TOUCHING IT, WHICH REALLY RAISED A LOT OF

  • QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW THAT ALL WORKED BEFORE.

  • 2020 WAS SO BAD, THE TOP ARTIST ON SPOTIFY WAS A MAN SCREAMING

  • INTO A PILLOW.

  • HERE'S A STORY YOU MIGHT HAVE FORGOTTEN: THE PRESIDENT WAS

  • HERE'S A STORY YOU MIGHT HAVE FORGOTTEN: THE PRESIDENT WAS

  • IMPEACHED.

  • I'LL RECAP IT IN MY BACK-FOR-A-LIMITED-TIME-ONLY

  • SEGMENT, "DON AND THE GIANT IMPEACH."

  • >> UH-OH.

  • >> Stephen: THE SAGA OF THE PRESIDENT'S IMPEACHMENT BEGINS

  • WITH... WELL, HOW WOULD YOU PUT IT?

  • >> A PERFECT PHONE CALL.

  • >> Stephen: YES, OUR PRESIDENT WAS TALKING WITH THE

  • NEWLY-ELECTED PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE, WHO ASKED FOR MILITARY

  • ASSISTANCE, AND OUR COMMANDER IN CHIEF RESPONDED,

  • "I WOULD LIKE YOU TO DO US A FAVOR, THOUGH," WORDS THAT WILL

  • GO DOWN IN HISTORY AS BEING JUST FINE, FOR SOME REASON.

  • THERE WAS ONE THING LACKING FROM THE PRESIDENT'S IMPEACHMENT

  • TRIAL: A TRIAL, BECAUSE THE SENATE VOTED 51-49 NOT TO HEAR

  • WITNESSES.

  • IT'S LIKE THE OLD SAYING, "IF A TREE FALLS IN THE FOREST AND NO

  • ONE'S AROUND TO HEAR IT, YOU CAN'T PROVE THE TREE BLACKMAILED

  • UKRAINE FOR DIRT ON ITS POLITICAL OPPONENT."

  • I MEAN, THAT WOULD BE COMMITTING TREE-SON.

  • ♪ "GROOVE IS IN THE HEART" ♪ >> THAT SLAM GOT WOOD!

  • >> Stephen: WITHOUT WITNESSES OR EVIDENCE, ON FEBRUARY 5, THE

  • SENATE ACQUITTED THE PRESIDENT OF THE IMPEACHMENT CHARGES.

  • AND WITH THE IMPEACHMENT BEHIND HIM, THE PRESIDENT FINALLY HAD

  • TIME TO FOCUS ON IGNORING THE CORONAVIRUS.

  • FOR WEEKS, HE SAID IT WAS GOING TO DISAPPEAR LIKE A MIRACLE.

  • TURNS OUT, IT WAS THE ECONOMY, BECAUSE BY MARCH 16, THE WHOLE

  • COUNTRY WAS SHUT DOWN.

  • I THINK WE'LL ALL REMEMBER WHERE WE WERE THAT DAY, AND EVERY DAY

  • SINCE.

  • IN THE FIRST WEEKS OF THE LOCKDOWN, NETFLIX'S "TIGER KING"

  • POUNCED ON AMERICA'S HEARTS LIKE A CLINICALLY DEPRESSED JUNGLE

  • CAT.

  • IT WAS A GRIPPING DOCUMENTARY SERIES ABOUT HOW JOE EXOTIC AND

  • HIS ARCHNEMESIS, CAROLE BASKIN, SHOULD MAYBE CONSIDER SWITCHING

  • TO THE SEARS PORTRAIT STUDIO.

  • NOW, WHILE THE PRESIDENT SHFN USING HIS PLATFORM TO TELL

  • AMERICANS TO WEAR MASKS HE INSTEAD GAVE THEM SLIGHTLY LESS

  • EFFECTIVE TIPS LIKE THIS.

  • >> IS THERE A WAY WE CAN DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT, LIKE

  • INJECTIONED IN, OR ALMOST A CLEANING.

  • >> Stephen: AH, YES, "DRINK BLEACH" DAY.

  • AND IF YOU HAD FORGOTTEN THAT HAPPENED, IT COULD BE BECAUSE

  • YOU FOLLOWED HIS ADVICE.

  • IN THE MIDDLE OF DEALING WITH COVID, ANOTHER CRISIS ROCKED

  • AMERICA: EVEN MORE SHOCKING EXAMPLES OF POLICE KILLING

  • INNOCENT AND UNARMED BLACK PEOPLE, INCLUDING GEORGE FLOYD

  • IN MINNEAPOLIS.

  • THE CELL PHONE VIDEO OF THAT INCIDENT ENRAGED AMERICA AND LED

  • TO MARCHES EVERY DAY AND NIGHT ACROSS THE COUNTRY, IN BIG

  • CITIES AND SMALL TOWNS.

  • IN FACT, PEOPLE PROTESTED IN EVERY STATE AND IN

  • WASHINGTON, D.C.

  • IT WAS INSPIRING TO SEE AMERICANS IN 2020 COMING

  • TOGETHER AND USING THEIR COLLECTIVE VOICE FOR A CAUSE

  • SLIGHTLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN "I WANT A HAIRCUT."

  • THE DEMONSTRATIONS GREW OVER THE SUMMER AND INCLUDED PEOPLE FROM

  • EVERY RACE AND ETHNICITY.

  • IN FACT, BLACK LIVES MATTER MAY BE THE LARGEST MOVEMENT IN U.S.

  • HISTORY.

  • AND THAT INCLUDES THE VIETNAM PROTESTS, THE MILLION MAN MARCH,

  • AND THE 1980's SOCIAL MOVEMENT DEMANDING THE LOCATION OF THE

  • BEEF.

  • THE PROTESTS WERE OVERWHELMINGLY PEACEFUL, INCLUDING ONE IN FRONT

  • OF THE WHITE HOUSE ON JUNE 1.

  • THEIR PEACEFULNESS DID NOT STOP THE PRESIDENT FROM USING FEDERAL

  • TROOPS TO ASSAULT PROTESTERS WITH FLASH-BANG EXPLOSIONS AND

  • TEAR GAS SO HE COULD CROSS THE STREET FOR A PHOTO OP, HOLDING

  • THE BIBLE AWKWARD LEES.

  • FOR AS JESUS SAID, "IF SOMEONE STRIKES YOU ON THE RIGHT CHEEK,

  • TURN TO HIM THE OTHER ONE, ALSO.

  • BUT IF SOMEONE COMES BETWEEN YOU AND A PHOTO OP, DADDY GONNA POP

  • OPEN A CAN OF WHOOP ASS!" NO GROUP WAS MORE SUPPORTIVE OF

  • THE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT THAN N.B.A. PLAYERS, BUT BECAUSE

  • OF COVID, HALFWAY THROUGH THEIR SEASON, THEY ALL WENT INTO THE

  • N.B.A. BUBBLE IN ORLANDO.

  • IT WAS EQUAL PARTS FIERCE COMPETITION AND DISNEY

  • SLEEPOVER.

  • NOW, THIS BUBBLE HAD VERY STRINGENT PROTOCOLS.

  • PLAYERS WERE ADVISED NOT TO SPIT OR CLEAR THEIR NOSES, WIPE THE

  • BALL WITH THEIR JERSEYS, LICK THEIR HANDS, OR TOUCH THEIR

  • MOUTHS UNNECESSARILY WHILE PLAYING.

  • THAT, OF COURSE, CUT DOWN ON THE TIME-HONORED DEFENSIVE TACTIC OF

  • WET WILLY.

  • BUT ENOUGH BAD NEWS ABOUT THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC.

  • THERE WAS ALSO BAD NEWS ABOUT THE WEATHER.

  • IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST ACTIVE HURRICANE SEASONS ON RECORD.

  • IN FACT, THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER RAN OUT OF ASSIGNED NAMES

  • IN THE MIDDLE OF SEPTEMBER AND HAD TO RESORT TO USING GREEK

  • LETTERS.

  • THEN THEY STARTED RUNNING OUT OF GREEK LETTERS AND HAD TO RESORT

  • TO HURRICANE WINGDINGS.

  • OH, THERE WAS ALSO AN ELECTION.

  • THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARIES WERE A CLOWN CAR OF COMPETENCE WITH 28

  • CANDIDATES.

  • HELLO, HI.

  • NICE TO SEE YOU ALL AGAIN.

  • YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE CANDIDATE NUMBER 29.

  • "I'M SORRY, YOU DIDN'T MAKE THE TOP TIER, CONGRESSMAN, BUT YOU

  • JUST DON'T HAVE THAT HICKENLOOPER SIZZLE."

  • ULTIMATELY-- $500 MILLION.

  • IN A TIME OF CRISIS, DEMOCRATS FELL BACK ON THEIR SAFETY

  • SCHOOL: OLD WHITE GUY U.

  • GO, STATUS QUOS!

  • BECAUSE OF THE PANDEMIC, BIDEN SPENT MOST OF THE GENERAL

  • ELECTION ZOOMING FROM HIS BASEMENT.

  • IT'S THE MOST SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN FROM A BASEMENT SINCE

  • THE PRESIDENCY OF ULYSSES S.

  • LAUNDRY BASKET.

  • ALTERNATIVELY, THE PRESIDENT REFUSED TO WEAR A MASK FOR

  • MONTHS AND INSISTED ON HOLDING MASS, PLAGUE-SPREADING RALLIES.

  • THOUGH, THEY DID RAISE A LOT OF CAMPAIGN CASH WITH THEIR EBOLA

  • MONKEY KISSING BOOTH.

  • THE 74-YEAR-OLD PRESIDENT TRIED TO MAKE THE RACE AGAINST HIS

  • THEN-77-YEAR-OLD OPPONENT ALL ABOUT MENTAL FITNESS.

  • SO, IN AN INTERVIEW ABOUT A RECENT COGNITIVE TEST, HE

  • UNVEILED THE CATCHPHRASE OF THE YEAR:

  • >> THE FIRST QUESTIONS ARE VERY EASY.

  • THE LAST QUESTIONS ARE MUCH MORE DIFFICULT.

  • LIKE A MEMORY QUESTION, IT IS LIKE, YOU WILL GO "PERSON,

  • WOMAN, MAN, CAMERA, TV."

  • SO, THEY WOULD SAY, "COULD YOU REPEAT THAT?"

  • SO, I SAID, "YEAH."

  • IT'S "PERSON, WOMAN, MAN, CAMERA, TV."

  • >> Stephen: PRETTY IMPRESSIVE THAT HE REMEMBERED THOSE WORDS

  • WHEN HE KEEPS FORGETTING HE LOST THE ELECTION.

  • THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION WAS DONE ENTIRELY BY

  • ZOOM, WHILE THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION WAS WHAT CAN ONLY BE

  • DESCRIBED AS THE WORLD'S WORST OPEN MIC.

  • WITH REPUBLICAN CELEBRITIES LIKE GUY WHO WANTS TO SELL YOU A

  • PILLOW, GUY WHO WANTS TO SNORT THE PILLOW, AND BRIDE OF

  • SNORTENSTEIN.

  • >> THE BEST, IS YET, TO COME!

  • >> Stephen: WELL, SHE WAS RIGHT.

  • BUT MORE ON THAT LATER.

  • THEN CAME THE DEBATES.

  • THE PRESIDENT'S STRATEGY WAS TO MAKE SURE THERE WOULD BE NO

  • DEBATE BY INTERRUPTING EVERYTHING THAT--

  • >> I'M THE ONE WHO BROUGHT BACK FOOTBALL.

  • >> Stephen: HEY, I WAS STILL TALKING!

  • JOE, HELP ME OUT HERE.

  • >> WILL YOU SHUT UP, MAN?

  • >> Stephen: REMINDS ME OF THE IMMORTAL WORDS OF RONALD REAGAN:

  • >> MR. GORBACHEV, SHUT YOUR DIRTY LITTLE MOUTH!

  • >> Stephen: THEN, AFTER MONTHS OF CLAIMING THE PANDEMIC WOULD

  • JUST GO AWAY AND REFUSING TO SOCIALLY DISTANCE OR WEAR A

  • MASK, THE THINKABLE HAPPENED: THE PRESIDENT TESTED POSITIVE

  • FOR CORONAVIRUS.

  • WHAT A PLOT TWIST!

  • IT'S LIKE THE END OF "THE SIXTH SENSE" WHEN YOU REALIZED,

  • "IT STARRED BRUCE WILLIS THE ENTIRE TIME!"

  • ( MUSIC STING ) THE PRESIDENT WAS PUT ON A

  • POWERFUL STEROID CALLED DEXAMETHASONE.

  • HOW POWERFUL?

  • OF A STEROID?

  • LET THIS DOCTOR EXPLAIN: >> WHEN WE PUT PATIENTS ON

  • HIGH-DOSE STEROIDS LIKE THAT, WE MONITOR THEM VERY CLOSELY,

  • BECAUSE THERE'S A HOST OF SIDE EFFECTS, INCLUDING IMPACT ON

  • THEIR MENTAL HEALTH AND DECISION-MAKING.

  • >> THE DEXAMETHASONE IS KNOWN TO HAVE A MENTAL HEALTH SIDE

  • EFFECTS.

  • IT CAN CAUSE PSYCHOSIS.

  • IT CAN CAUSE DELIRIUM.

  • IT CAN CAUSE MANIA.

  • >> Stephen: IT WAS PRETTY SCARY KNOWING THAT THE PERSON WITH THE

  • NUCLEAR CODES MIGHT BE SUFFERING FROM PSYCHOSIS, DELIRIUM, AND

  • MANIA.

  • AND THEN THEY GAVE HIM DEXAMETHASONE.

  • ♪ " GROOVE IS IN THE HEART" ♪ >> SLAMAGEDDON!

  • >> Stephen: AFTER A FEW DAYS AT WALTER REED, THE PRESIDENT

  • EMERGED FROM THE HOSPITAL, LANDED ON THE WHITE HOUSE LAWN,

  • CLIMBED THE STEPS, AND HEROICALLY REMOVED HIS MASK.

  • IT REMINDED ME OF WHEN PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT, CONFRONTED WITH THE

  • GROWING MENACE OF FASCISM, ROSE FROM HIS WHEELCHAIR AND GAVE

  • HIS ENTIRE CABINET POLIO.

  • FINALLY, WE MADE IT TO ELECTION DAY.

  • EARLY IN THE EVENING, TRUMP WON FLORIDA, BUT MANY OF THE OTHER

  • SWING STATES REMAINED TOO CLOSE TO CALL.

  • AS THE WEE HOURS CRAWLED ON, THINGS LOOKED INCREASINGLY

  • BETTER FOR BIDEN.

  • BUT THEN, AT 2:30 A.M., THE PRESIDENT APPEARED BEFORE THE

  • CAMERAS TO MAKE AN ODD CLAIM.

  • >> WE WERE GETTING READY TO WIN THIS ELECTION.

  • FRANKLY, WE DID WIN THIS ELECTION.

  • >> Stephen: OF COURSE, YOU CAN'T JUST DECLARE YOURSELF THE WINNER

  • BEFORE THE VOTES HAVE BEEN COUNTED.

  • THAT'S WHY THERE AREN'T T-SHIRTS THAT SAY "SAN FRANCISCO 49ers

  • 2020 SUPER BOWL CHAMPS" WITH 2:24 LEFT IN THE THIRD QUARTER.

  • NOW, DESPITE THE PRESIDENT'S BEST EFFORTS, WE KEPT COUNTING

  • THE VOTES, AND THE SATURDAY AFTER THE ELECTION, AT AROUND

  • NOON, ALL THE MAJOR NETWORKS CALLED THE RACE FOR BIDEN.

  • AND PEOPLE POURED INTO THE STREETS TO CELEBRATE, FROM TIMES

  • SQUARE TO DENVER TO MIAMI TO CROWDS IN FRONT OF THE WHITE

  • HOUSE.

  • ♪ Y-M-C-A IT'S FUN TO STAY AT THE

  • ♪ Y-M-C-A ♪ >> Stephen: WHICH IS A

  • SURPRISING WAY TO CELEBRATE A BIDEN WIN, BECAUSE HE IS MANY

  • THINGS, BUT NOT A-- ♪ YOUNG MAN

  • NO, HE IS 78 ♪ HE'S NOT A YOUNG MAN

  • BUT STILL HE LOOKS PRETTY GREAT THE PRESIDENT IMMEDIATELY

  • REFUSED TO CONCEDE AND STARTED A SLOW-MOTION COUP, AIDED AND

  • ABETTED BY PRESIDENTIAL LAWYER AND MAN WHO COMES PRE-ZOMBIED,

  • RUDY GIULIANI.

  • ON THE VERY DAY THE RACE WAS CALLED FOR BIDEN, RUDY HELD AN

  • INSANE PRESS CONFERENCE IN PHILADELPHIA AT THE FOUR

  • SEASONS...

  • TOTAL LANDSCAPING, WHICH WAS BETWEEN A CREMATORIUM AND AN

  • ADULT VIDEO STORE.

  • THAT STORE, OF COURSE, WAS THE MARRIOT MARQUIS DE SADE SEX

  • SHOP.

  • GIULIANI'S CONSPIRACY-FUELED, PARANOID RANT WOULD GO DOWN AS

  • THE MOST EMBARRASSING LEGAL PRESS CONFERENCE IN HISTORY--

  • UNTIL TWO WEEKS LATER, WHEN HIS HEAD MELTED.

  • BUT 2020 WASN'T ALL BAD NEWS.

  • ALTHOUGH, TO BE FAIR, IT WAS MOSTLY BAD NEWS.

  • BUT THEN, IN MID-NOVEMBER, WE LEARNED THAT TWO DIFFERENT

  • COMPANIES HAD A CORONAVIRUS VACCINE THAT WAS 95% EFFECTIVE

  • IN CLINICAL TRIALS.

  • THAT IS HUGE!

  • DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS?

  • HOLD ON.

  • IF THERE'S TWO COMPANIES...

  • AND THEY'RE EACH 95% EFFECTIVE...

  • THAT MEANS...

  • GIVE ME ONE!

  • I DON'T CARE WHAT'S IN IT.

  • JUST POKE ME WITH SOMETHING SO I CAN GO TO A BAR AGAIN!

  • I MISS THE LITTLE CUP OF NUTS!

  • ANYWAY, THAT'S IT.

  • THAT'S MY LAST MONOLOGUE OF 2020.

  • WE DID IT!

  • I'D SINCERELY LIKE TO THANK EVERYBODY WHO MADE THE SHOW

  • POSSIBLE THIS YEAR-- THE NETWORK FOR ALL THEIR SUPPORT,

  • THE STAFF, THE CREW-- BUT MOSTLY, I'D LIKE TO THANK

  • YOU, MY VIEWERS.

  • BECAUSE THE ONLY WAY WE COULD HAVE MADE IT THROUGH THIS YEAR

  • IS TOGETHER-- AS FAR APART AS POSSIBLE.

  • I'LL SEE YOU IN 2021.

  • AND FOR THE