NEW YORK (AP) — Viewers looking for a respite from serious presidential election coverage from TV newscasters got a reprieve on Tuesday as alternative voices also got in the act, including comics and other offbeat political observers.
Not content with their regular daytime jawfest, the ladies of ABC’s “The View” took over Lifetime for a 2½-hour live prime-time special.
This version of “The View” was stocked with the usual drop-leaf table and screaming studio audience, along with election results and appearances by the likes of Lena Dunham, Will Forte and Mario Cantone (though missing veteran panelist Whoopi Goldberg, who had a prior commitment).
“I feel like it’s New Year’s Eve,” said host Joy Behar at the start of the show as she calmed the crowd down, then invited viewers to “grab a drink out there — and make sure that’s all you grab.”
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That was 9 p.m. Eastern. By 11 p.m., new election-night options were even more freewheeling — and, with GOP candidate Donald Trump demonstrating startling strength at the polls, these shows shared a certain mordant tone.
Cable’s Viceland presented “Desus and Mero’s Live Election Special” with the stars of its late-night talk show, comedians Desus Nice and The Kid Mero, hosting what took on an end-of-the-world theme.
“We’re really live,” said Nice, “which is why we’re kind of despondent about what’s going on with the results.”
There were correspondents on-site at campaign headquarters. Meanwhile, another correspondent seated at his MacBook in the Vice newsroom moaned, “I got a little bit too depressed to keep reading the news, so what I’m doing right now is researching some anarchist groups that you can still join.”
Comedy Central upheld a long tradition of live election-night coverage with “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah presiding over a “news” special titled “No, No, Please, No, Oh God, No! Nooooooo!!!!!!”
But Noah kicked off his hour by dispensing with comedy.
“I genuinely don’t understand how America can be this disorganized or this hateful, I don’t know which it is,” he said. “Right now, I’d call it a nail-biter if I had any nails left.”
He cut to “Senior Hillary Correspondent” Desi Lydic reporting with a forced smile that, at Clinton headquarters, “Everything is fine … We will just have to wait a LITTLE bit longer than expected to find out if America prefers a competent sane woman or a misogynist troll doll. Somehow, it’s still too close to call.”
Stephen Colbert’s rival late-night broadcast hosts were bumped for their respective networks’ straight-news political coverage. But Colbert was on duty, transporting his “Late Show” from CBS to sister network Showtime for a live, f-bomb-accented hour on that premium cable outlet.
Dubbed his “Live Election Night Democracy Series Finale,” Colbert greeted the crowd at the Ed Sullivan Theater with an up-to-that-minute assessment: “Here we are — the end of the election. Can you believe it? What a year tonight has been. Right now the election is too close to call and too terrifying to contemplate.”
“Are you on edge?” he asked his audience, who yelled in the affirmative. “I think everyone’s on edge. Specifically, the edge of the country, waiting for Trump to win so they can walk into Canada.”
The hour was not without updates. Making full use of Showtime’s permissiveness, Colbert read a news flash — that Florida Senator Marco Rubio had won re-election — from a card taped at crotch level to an otherwise naked body builder.
A few minutes later, Colbert clung to a slender reed of hope by declaring the election still too close to call.
Recalling the famous blundered newspaper headline proclaiming that “Dewey Defeats Truman,” he explained he didn’t want to make an erroneous forecast. So he was willing to make only two predictions:
— That the next president would come from New York.
— And a fitting headline might be: “Election Defeats America.”