Larry Wilmore (Comedy Central)

From Seth Meyers to Larry Wilmore: Late night hosts take on the Cosby scandal

It's a tough topic to joke about, but late night hosts have found their own ways of addressing the issue


Anna Silman
January 23, 2015 8:40PM (UTC)

It has been over three months since the Cosby scandal broke, and over the past few months, most of the late night hosts have all weighed in with their own takes on it. Cosbygate is not an easy subject to make light of — our own Erin Keane write about why these jokes are such a tricky beast  — but it's an important part of the conversation, and not addressing it (say, like Letterman or Fallon) almost feels worse than tackling it in a tactful way. Here’s a look back at how hosts have addressed the horrorshow over the past few months:

After a few days of silence, Conan was the first major late night host to make a Cosby joke, on November 20th:

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And would continue to do so over the next few months:

Seth Meyers followed up the next day, with a nuanced four-minute sketch that riffed on how hard it is to joke about the subject:

That same night, Jon Stewart had this snappy Cosby burn, saying "I mean, TransCanada can't just lay pipe where it wants to without permission," the host said. "It's not Bill Cosby":

Stewart has thrown out similar barbs on other occasions:

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While some have opted for throwaway lines, others have approached the issue with a longer riff, like Michael Che on SNL. As he put it, "while I may never forgive Bill Cosby, I hope maybe someday I can forgive Dr Huxtable. I mean, I know it’s not the same thing, but I forgave Kramer."

The brazen Bill Maher, naturally, came out guns blazing, saying that while it was a bad week for Cosby, luckily he "has a bunch of pills lying around that will make him forget the whole thing.”

Of course, there was Tina and Amy's epic Golden Globes segment, about which Salon critic Sonia Saraiya said "it’s bold, it’s brash, and it was basically the only way for comedians to handle such a sensitive topic"

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While Larry Wilmore has fast established his fearless brand of humor, launching into a scathing Cosby takedown on the second night of his show. As he put it, “That’s like if Bill Cosby drugged and raped every single U.S. president from George Washington to John F. Kennedy."

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Anna Silman

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