Election 2016: Best & Worst Late-Night Moments From SNL, Fallon, Colbert, John Oliver, Samantha Bee and More

On Nov. 8, Americans will decide whether they want Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump to succeed Barack Obama as President of the United States. The results, no matter which candidate walks away the victor, will put a cap on the most vicious election cycle — possibly ever — as well as a year’s worth of largely celebrated political satire.

Ahead of Election Day, TVLine has gone back and revisited countless hours of late-night coverage — from John Oliver and Samantha Bee’s well-crafted takedowns, to the exquisite impersonations of Bernie Sanders and Melania Trump, courtesy of Larry David and Laura Benanti — to handpick the best and worst moments.

Check out the gallery on the right – or click here for direct access — then weigh in via our poll. Tell us which of the late-night programs has featured your favorite presidential election coverage.

(FWIW: The poll purposely excludes the non-political Conan and Late Late Show With James Corden, but does include Chelsea and the recently cancelled Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore — both of which have covered the election, but didn’t quite make our cut.)

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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25 Comments
  1. Kevin says:

    Last Week Tonight and Saturday Night Live were the best. Don’t make Trump become POTUS.

  2. Angela says:

    Colbert bringing back his old persona and Jon Stewart’s appearance/rant during the RNC were so freaking cathartic and needed. I LOVED that. John Oliver’s been great in covering this whole insane mess, too. Just a few more days and hopefully this nightmare will be over once and for all.

  3. Lauren says:

    Seth Myers kills it every night just like Jon Stewart used to. He has been my favorite.

    • Jill says:

      I agree. I can’t get anyone in my life to see that.

      • MMD says:

        I do. I dvr him every night just to watch his opening and “A Closer Look”. Stephen Colbert has been good as well. I enjoy them the most because they are on weeknights so I get a good laugh at the entire kerfuffle every day, rather than just once a week.

    • Angela says:

      I haven’t been a regular viewer of Seth Myers’ show in general, but the quotes and clips I have seen from him regarding this election have been pretty awesome :).

  4. Audre says:

    Full Frontal and Last Week Tonight were the best out of the bunch.

  5. Meg says:

    Samantha Bee has been fantastic throughout this entire mess of an election, so if I have to pick one it’s her. I’ve enjoyed John Oliver’s show as well, and SNL and Colbert have been fairly funny. Oliver and Bee have had a good mix of information and humor with election coverage.

  6. matraupach says:

    None of them….

    – The Daily Show With Trevor Noah’ (Comedy Central) & ‘Full Frontal With Samantha Bee’ (TBS) & The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ (NBC)

    Have a very obvious pro Hillary Clinton bias and this since the very start.
    That’s a disqualification in itself.

    – ‘Last Week Tonight With John Oliver’ (HBO)

    Slightly better, but still with a pro Hillary Clinton bias.
    He even discredited Jill Stein with false facts.

    – ‘Late Night With Seth Meyers’ (NBC) & ‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ (CBS)
    Actually among the best!
    The only downside is the amount of time each segment gets
    It feels like Trump got two times the air time every other candidate got.

    I don’t really watch the rest, and I have stopped watching many of the above after their bias became too obvious.

    And NO I don’t support Trump!
    I just hate it when there is such a one sided reporting that you even start questioning the media itself!

    • HAP says:

      Dontcha think that the so-called one-sided reporting is the result of who Trump is? He is not a legitimate and qualified candidate. He’s a self-absorbed buffoon.

      • matraupach says:

        If you want a real democracy, the media has to report every candidate equally.

        But they don’t!

        The disaster was when John Oliver did his segments about 3rd parties and he presented them as total failures. And to accomplish that he even lied!
        For example he made it look like Jill Steins position on vaccination is absolutely crazy, even though she shares this position with Hillary Clinton.
        Or that Jill Steins proposal to use Quantitative Easing to erase student-dept is nuts and that Jill Stein doesn’t understand how Quantitative Easing works: A total lie! If you research even a little you find enough material where JILL STEIN explains how erasing student dept with Quantitative Easing would work AND how these measure actually works at all! But John Oliver made her look like she is stupid especially with good cuts, and nice jokes he came up with…
        And suddenly every single 3rd party candidate had more negative reporting during Last Week Tonight than Hillary had the whole last year!

        You can’t just report the good things or keep quite about the scandals your candidate has( That’s Samantha Bee’ for yea!) You have to report everything!
        And that’s why I think that Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert are better than most, because they dared to mention Hillarys scandals mostly unbiased!
        Trevor Noah & Samantha Bee’ mention them too, but downplay them into oblivion.

        As it is obvious:now: Yes I prefer Jill Stein! Green Party needs to get the 5% so that there might be hope in the future!

        This election is screwed and we have to survive the next 4 years no matter who wins… sadly…

        And yes Trump is horrible!
        But I am no longer sure after all the latest scandals that Hillary is better!
        Death by quicksand or death by bullet: What a decision!

        • Sorry, but no. Quantitative easing did not involve buying debt then cancelling it. Her platform only lists one academic behind her idea, compared to a wealth of expert commentary exposing the flaws in her plan and how they reflect her fundamental misunderstanding of the role of the Federal Reserve.

          • matraupach says:

            “Quantitative easing did not involve buying debt then cancelling it”
            Actually that is exactly what this is!
            It means that the central bank (FED) buys all the relevant bonds of a specific subject from all the other financial institutions. After that the FED has the ability to cancel those debt. The only point is, that the president can’t directly order the FED to do so, BUT the president assigns the head of the FED, who has the authority to do so!
            This means it IS a possible way to cancel student debt.

            Btw. Jill Stein made clear (even to the Last Week Tonight Staff) that this is only a POSSIBLE way to cancel student debt and not the only way and that there are more options they can take, but the Last Week Tonight Staff ignored all their responses( they even had the info BEFORE the segment aired!)!

            Nonetheless: It would work!

            And like Jill Stein said in the misleading Jon Oliver-segment: It is nothing more, than a financial “magic-trick” that the government used during the housing-crisis to bail out the “too-big-to-fail-banks”!

    • KatsMom says:

      Entertainment shows that occasionally deal in editorial content aren’t “reporting.” The hosts are not journalists and they’re not held to journalistic standards. They’re just comedians looking to find humor in topical matters. The fact that they occasionally use facts to set up their punchlines or bolster their opinions doesn’t mean that they’re providing a news report. And it’s certainly not expected that they’re going to offer unbiased information. And, of course, your own bias undoubtedly plays into your perceptions as well. Jill Stein may not technically be anti-vax, but she’s incredibly sympathetic and agrees with many of their arguments, even though they’re not supported by facts. Her opinions frequently show a lack of knowledge about the government, just as you did defending her ridiculously unworkable plan for student debt. The Fed chairman must be selected from the sitting members. Which current member does Stein believe would support her pie-in-the-sky plan and excuse all those billions in debt? I’m not aware of anyone on the bipartisan board that would be willing to take such extreme action, even if it is theoretically possible in a perfect world filled with rainbows and unicorns. The Board is not part of the executive branch. It is specifically set up in such a way to provide it with independence from the government. Oliver was right to point out that her plan, while sounding lovely, is completely unrealistic.

  7. sj says:

    I know The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore was cancelled, but it should still be on the list.

  8. Ron says:

    My vote goes to Sam Bee and the Full Frontal team. They’ve been absolutely killing it. But it was a VERY close second for John Oliver and the LWT team. They’re also really phenomenal.

  9. Lala says:

    Trevor Noah and Seth Meyers have really come into their own with this election coverage…It’s been a joy to watch these two hosts. Fallon was really disappointing, I stopped watching him for a bit but I guess he didn’t want to rustle any feathers.

  10. pickles says:

    These talk show hosts had the Obama years off. Making any political humor about him or his wife were off limits. Before Obama political humor was funny no matter if it was Bush,Bill Clinton or Reagan.

  11. peterwdawson says:

    People are still shocked by the Fallon interview? That was so not Fallon’s wheelhouse. Asking Fallon to go after a political candidate is like asking a toddler to fight a bear: even if a fight were to happen, it wouldn’t be what the kid’s really interested in doing.

  12. Greg Cantin says:

    The skit I liked best was the one the NYPD did where it outed Bill and Hillary as Pedophiles. It had me in stitches!

  13. greg says:

    So hard to find any skits disparaging the candidates equally. Being in hollywood its difficult for the comedians and writers to hide theyre total disdain for trump. I am not a trump supporter but its not even close. Take snl for example. They show a makeup laden alec baldwin as a older less attractive man whom is out of touch with reality. No problem with this portrayal of trumps actions as he practically giftwraps it every week for the writers. Then hillary is displayed as a younger more attractive woman who is silly and whimsical. Just an example of the comedic slant that is blatant. The funniest skits have been of melania