Stephen Colbert investigated two trends on Thursday evening: the wave of “newly minted Reddit millionaires” who have sent the shares of flailing US companies such as GameStop soaring at the expense of hedge funds, and “an alarming surge in another American industry: white supremacy”.
For the first time ever, the Department of Homeland Security released a bulletin on Wednesday warning of a “heightened threat environment” for “homegrown violent extremists”.
“I understand it’s a pandemic, we’re baking our own sourdough, but can we please not grow our own terrorists?” Colbert responded. But the “looming threat of continued intramural violence raises an important question”, he continued. “Will the Republican party finally take a stand agains the man who legitimized American fascism?”
For the answer, he turned to the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, who visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago this week. “So you’re gonna suck up to the man who sent goons to kill you?” Colbert said. “That’s not a lack of self-respect, that’s a lack of self-preservation Kevin!”
McCarthy is reportedly torn between members of his party disappointed in Trump’s encouragement of a violent mob at the Capitol and those who back his baseless claims of election fraud. “The poor guy, he’s caught between a rock and a dumb as a rock,” Colbert deadpanned, noting McCarthy’s pandering to Trump’s voter base. “Evidently, the only thing scarier to Republicans than a violent mob is the fear that a violent mob might not like them any more.”
Colbert then turned back to Wall Street, where professional investors who shorted companies such as GameStop were outfoxed by Reddit users coordinating trades online. “Chaos continues on Wall Street as hedge fund managers lose billions to Reddit traders running amok,” Colbert said. “Those poor hedge fund managers – now might be a good time to invest in whoever makes the world’s tiniest violins.”
On the Daily Show, Trevor Noah also discussed the “dumb money” – a small army of individuals – who caused certain Wall Street hedge funds to lose billions on short bets, which triggered the investment platform Robinhood to temporarily suspend trading for shares of companies such as GameStop on Thursday.
“Wall Street was getting rocked so hard by average people buying stock in GameStop, that they just stopped average people from buying it,” Noah said. “The same guys who were always like ‘the markets must never be regulated, they must always remain free’ – those same guys are like, ‘Oh shit, the poor people got a hold of the freedom, turn it off, turn off the freedom!’
“Right now, a lot of people are understandably upset about what Wall Street is doing,” he added. Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, about as diametrically opposed as you can get in Congress, both criticized the Robinhood freeze, while rapper JaRule tweeted: “Yo this is a fucking CRIME.”
“Let me tell you something,” Noah said of JaRule’s comment. “When the guy who did the Fyre Festival thinks that you’re fraud? Man, you’re doing some shady shit.”
On Late Night, Seth Meyers recapped Joe Biden’s announcement of a vaccination timeline for Americans, in which he expects 300m doses will be distributed by the end of the summer. “So the president did a competent thing to address a crisis, announced it in clear and simple terms Americans could understand, and he offered a rough timetable so that he could be held accountable,” Meyers said, comparing the appearance to the former president, “and he did it without barking at reporters next to a whirring helicopter.”
Meyers also blasted reports that congressional Republicans such as Mitch McConnell were “frustrated” by the Biden administration’s refusal to forget Trump’s incitement of a riot at the Capitol earlier this month. “Oh I’m so sorry you’re frustrated,” Meyers deadpanned. “I mean, my goodness, we wouldn’t want to upset noted advocate of bipartisanship Mitch McConnell, who I’m sure is sitting by a rain-soaked window silently staring out into the distance wondering why no one across the aisle will work with him, only to remember that he’s a cold-blooded assassin that destroys all opposition in his path, and only then will he smile.”
Given the ongoing pandemic and economic crisis, Meyers added: “We don’t have time to indulge feigned victimhood and wounded egos of Republican senators.”
And in Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel tore into the Republican party’s embrace of fringe conspiracy movements such as QAnon. “QAnon is so fringe, in fact, Republicans in the House just put their screwiest, Q-iest member on the education and labor committee,” he said.
That would be Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia, and “if you don’t know who this person is, I wish I didn’t too,” Kimmel said. “She is the lady who, among other things, called for Nancy Pelosi’s execution; called for Joe Biden’s impeachment on his first day in office; and she believes our former governor here in California, Jerry Brown, used space lasers to set the wildfires here. She saw the Austin Powers movie and thought it was a documentary, I guess.”
Greene also, as captured on video played by Kimmel, harassed teenager David Hogg, a survivor of the 2018 Parkland school shooting, taunting him for not owning a firearm and calling him a “coward”.
“She referred to him online as ‘Little Hitler’,” Kimmel said. “I wonder how it would go over with the Fox News and Ted Cruz crew if Nancy Pelosi called for Marjorie Taylor Greene to be executed and called a teenage kid Hitler? You think they’d have anything to say?
“Well, it was the other way around, and guess what? Most of them have nothing to say,” he concluded. “Instead, they assigned her to the education committee – hoping she would get one? I don’t know.”