As the only late-night host to go live after the Democratic National Convention Monday night, Stephen Colbert had jokes ready about everything from John Kasich’s comical “crossroads” metaphor to Bernie Sanders delivering his speech in front of our “national strategic stockpile of firewood.”
But when it came to the Michelle Obama barnburner that closed out the evening, the Late Show host just couldn’t bring himself to make fun of the former first lady.
Early in his live monologue, Colbert admitted that he was “deeply moved” by the patriotic display that opened the first night of the DNC. “It’s because this feels like this is the real beginning of the election,” she said. “A chance for the American people to do the work that our elected officials failed to do for the past four years. And that’s hold Donald Trump accountable.”
When it came time to talk about Michelle Obama’s address, he did try out a few jokes. For instance, in response to her saying that “going high is the only thing that works,” Colbert said, “A solid policy for both America and Dave Matthews concerts.”
But by the time he got to the end of her speech—and his monologue—it was clear that he felt the moment was too important to mock.
After playing her closing message to the nation, Colbert turned sincere as he told viewers, “I’ll be honest with you. My job is to have a joke for every time somebody says anything in public. After watching Michelle Obama’s speech, I have never been more happy to fail at my job.”