Sarah Palin is back … and late night hosts couldn’t be happier.
On “The Late Show,” Stephen Colbert summed up the “Mama Grizzly’s” comeback like this: “While Trump admittedly has given me so much material to make jokes about, nobody compares to the original Material Girl.”
And Trevor Noah offered this metaphor for Palin’s reemergence from the “wilderness” of Alaska: “Donald Trump is not the first American candidate to get so far in politics knowing so little. He’s the second. And, of course, like every version of an iPhone, you know the second one is better. But you still got to give props to the original. And Sarah Palin was the original.”
In her theatrical endorsement of Trump for president on Wednesday, “the original anti-establishment candidate” seemingly took America back to 2008, pushing play on the greatest hits from her time as John McCain’s running mate – and also not making a whole lot of sense. Armed with an arsenal of zingers like “no more pussyfooting around,” the one-time vice presidential candidate took a crowd of Iowans on an incoherent, steam-of-consciousness ride that clocked in at more than 20 minutes.
Some pundits compared Palin’s material to slam performance art. For example, during an appearance on MSNBC’s Hardball, Republican strategist John Feehery said Palin’s endorsement “wasn’t really even a political speech,” instead referring to it as “a bunch of poetry” that was “not connected” and “didn’t make sense.” “The bigger problem for Donald Trump is Sarah Palin going rogue and saying crazy things,” he said.
Palin’s unique delivery didn’t go unnoticed by Colbert, Noah, and a slew of other late night headliners, each of whom had a field day with the champion of “hockey moms.” Here’s a roundup of the six best comedic reactions to Palin’s Trump edorsement:
“God, I have missed you! It’s like a magical eagle made a wish on a flag pin, and it came to life,” Colbert proclaimed, lauding Palin’s grand return with a cover of Kelly Clarkson’s of “Since U Been Gone.”
The highlight of Colbert’s riff on the former Alaska governor? He replayed Palin’s call for a “hallelujah” from her Iowa audience before leaping up from behind his desk with a tambourine. “Sarah Palin just guaranteed Trump the evangelical vote, because I think she was speaking in tongues,” he deadpanned, referencing the fact that many people didn’t seem to understand what Palin was saying.
Colbert then pretended to tase the part of his brain that understands sentence structure and imagined what Palin endorsements for Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio and Sebastian the Crab from Disney’s ”The Little Mermaid” might sound like. Here’s the result:
Noah, host of “The Daily Show,” poked fun at Palin for being “all over the place,” arguing that her endorsement speech was so random that it was as if a bag of Scrabble tiles had grown a body and come to life. “It’s like the only thing Sarah Palin hates more than Obama is punctuation. Nobody talks like that. It’s almost like she’s a malfunctioning robot,” he joked of Palin’s seemingly non-human delivery.
The South African comic went on to declare he’d learned why America is so great: “Presidents might have term limits, but Sarah Palin is forever.”
The host of “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore” posed this conspiracy theory: Was Palin drunk? “I’m not even joking, you guys,” he alleged. “She sounds wasted, right?” Wilmore argued that Palin’s stream-of-consciousness speech couldn’t even be compared to a “word salad.” “That’s a word Chipotle burrito bowl with extra E. Coli thrown in,” he joked. Wilmore then brought on a correspondent to explain the Palin-Trump phenomenon in scientific terms. The conclusion? The “mass of their egos is so great” that it’s similar to this phenomenon: the convergence of two black holes.
Jimmy Fallon joked that Palin’s speech has already assumed icon status in the great canon of political rhetoric, predicting that “in 100 years, students will have to memorize that.” Unlike the majority of the late night hosts, however, he seemed to throw more barbs at Trump than at his new surrogate, deadpanning: “Trump described being quiet for 20 minutes as the most painful experience of his life.” Fallon then went inside Trump’s head to translate what he was thinking while standing there and smiling. He riffed on Palin’s pronunciation of the word “deal,” which sounded like a lot more like “dill”: “Does she think I’m the pickle king of New York?”
James Corden declared Palin’s endorsement to be “particularly confusing,” arguing that her presentation had the same rhythm as a Dr. Seuss book – if Dr. Seuss wanted to deport all of the Woozles. The British comedian began his spoof of Palin by flashing back to ‘08, pondering aloud, “You just know that John McCain is on his couch at home watching the TV being like, Donald – dude – this is a bad idea.”
The leader of Team CoCo slammed Palin’s endorsement as “rambling” in his opening monologue on Jan. 21. Conan O’Brien then joked that the ex-veep candidate had this explanation for being a no-show at a Trump event earlier that day: “I was fresh out of nonsense.”