As if there was any chance the men of late-night were going to ignore the Matt Lauer scandal.
Savannah Guthrie announced Wednesday that her colleague had been fired from NBC News after an employee came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct, which began during the 2014 Winter Olympics and continued afterward. "We are deeply saddened by this turn of events," NBC News chairman Andy Lack wrote in a staff e-mail earlier that morning, "but we will face it together as a news organization—and do it in as transparent a manner as we can." Since the initial complaint was filed, two more women have come forward with similar claims.
Jimmy Fallon opened NBC's The Tonight Show by mentioning the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. "Also getting lit tonight, the HR rep over at the Today show: 'Today has been rough. Keeping it pouring.' That's the big story today," he said. "NBC fired Matt Lauer from the Today show after he was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior. So, if you're wondering, 'Where in the world is Matt Lauer?,' he's probably at a bar with Charlie Rose. That's our guess!"
After the Lauer news broke, Seth Meyers said he would not be addressing the scandal on NBC's Late Night. "Due to the tree lighting we taped tonight's show yesterday," the host tweeted, "so if you're wondering why any of today's news is conspicuously absent this evening—now you know!" Meyers will likely address Lauer's exit when he tapes a new episode for Thursday night.
Stephen Colbert mocked President Donald Trump's response to the Lauer allegations on CBS' The Late Show. Trump tweeted Wednesday morning, "Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for 'inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.' But when will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News. Check out Andy Lack's past!" Lack said Wednesday morning that this was the first complaint about Lauer's behavior in 20 years, though he acknowledged it may not be the last complaint. During an NBC News call later that afternoon, Lack also dismissed the claims Trump made, saying he himself has nothing to "hide."
In his monologue, Colbert joked, "I am one of the few men still allowed on television." The host then read from a report in Variety, in which a source clamed Lauer once gave a colleague a sex toy as a present, which included an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her. "It's bad enough he gave her a sex toy, but he also gave her instructions! He found a way to man-splain sexual harassment," Colbert joked. Another source told Variety Lauer once exposed his genitals to another employee. "I'm going to say what that woman couldn't," Colbert said. "What a dick!"
Criticizing Trump's response to Lauer, Colbert cited a fact check report from The Washington Post: "By 'fake news' do you mean 'more than a dozen women accusing Trump of improper conduct or sexual assault?' Is that what you mean by 'fake news?'" he asked. "Listen up, you don't get to comment That is the pot calling the kettle at 3 a.m. and asking what she's wearing."
"Plus, remember the whole Billy Bush bus thing?" Colbert said, referring to the 2005 Access Hollywood tape that leaked last year and resulted in Bush's firing from NBC News. "It turns out in private, Trump has told multiple people that it may not have been him on the tape after all and, 'We don't think that was my voice.' Quick tip: If you're going to say something that's already crazy, don't refer to yourself as 'we,' OK?" Doing his best Trump voice, Colbert joked, "The voices in our head tell us that's not our voice—what's that? Yeah, they agree with me.'"
So, Colbert replayed the footage of Trump saying it's OK to grab women "by the p---y."
"When you listen to it again, it can't be him—because anybody who said that wouldn't get elected President of the United States. He's got to be innocent. There's no two ways about it. You can't have both," Colbert said sarcastically, before showing footage of Trump last year admitting to using those words and apologizing for what he said. In conclusion, the late-night host joked, "The only way it could be more un-Trump is if he said that while eating a vegetable."
Like Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel criticized Trump for dancing on Lauer's grave. "More famous and powerful men were accused today of inappropriate behavior, including—and this was a shocker—Santa Claus. Apparently, one of the children on his route saw him kissing mommy. I guess it's over—as is Matt Lauer, who was let go from the Today show this morning because of unspecified allegations of sexual harassment," the host said on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live!. "This morning my wife looked at her phone and she went, 'Oh my, God! Matt Lauer!' Of course, I assumed he was dead. So, I guess this is better? I don't know. It's very surprising. Poor Savannah Guthrie had to go on the air and break the news moments after she found out about it. And, of course, President Trump weighed in on it. As Presidents do...and I'll tell you, if anyone knows about inappropriate behavior in the workplace at NBC, it's Donald J. Trump."
"Is he aware that he's him? I don't think he is. I think he sees Donald Trump on TV and goes, 'I like that guy!' And, as far as Matt Lauer goes, what happens now? I mean, does he have to do an emotional sit-down interview with himself? Another question is: If Matt Lauer is off the Today show for his behavior, what happens to Kathie Lee Gifford? I don't know if you watch the show, but will they have to cancel Spanky Tuesday? Do you know about Spanky Tuesday?" he asked before showing clips of Gifford spanking Hoda Kotb's butt. "Hoda clearly told her to stop more than one time and she didn't!" Kimmel said. "Spanky Tuesday might be in jeopardy!"
On Comedy Central's The Daily Show, Trevor Noah said, "Let's start our show the same way the Today show did, by telling you that Matt Lauer got fired. This whole situation is so s--ty for women, because no matter how aware it happens, you're losing. Either it's happening to you, or it's your co-worker who is accused and now it's your show that's affected." He then showed footage of Guthrie and Kotb announcing the news of Lauer's termination. "They just found out, and then they had to report it," he said, sharing his sympathies. "No time to process their emotions. The stage manager was just like, 'Three, two—we fired Matt Lauer—and we're live!'"
Noah questioned how many figures in news media had been accused of sexual harassment, citing Mark Halperin, Lauer, Bill O'Reilly and Rose. "Soon, they'll have enough to start their own perv news network," he joked, as a graphic showed a logo for PNN: The Most Busted Name in News. "We've heard a lot of these stories over the past few months, and it almost felt like we've heard it all. But then Matt Lauer comes along and finds new ways to be repulsive."
Finally, on TBS' Conan, Conan O'Brien joked, "Longtime Today show anchor Matt Lauer was fired because he was caught engaging in sexually inappropriate behavior. Afterwards, Lauer said, 'Maybe having all those people looking in the windows wasn't such a great idea after all.' Maybe that was the problem. It's fine to have that, but you've got to watch what you're doing."
Lauer, for his part, issued an apologetic statement on Today Thursday.
(E! and NBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)