“Just before the taping of our show today the verdict was announced in the trial of Derek Chauvin,” said Stephen Colbert on Tuesday evening.” Around 5pm ET that afternoon, a Minneapolis jury found the officer who kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes guilty on all three counts against him: second- and third-degree murder, and manslaughter.
“After 10 hours of deliberation, a jury in Minneapolis decided that it’s illegal for the police to murder people, that Black Lives Matter,” Colbert said. “It’s hard to celebrate because a man is still dead but there is a sense of relief that at least this one injustice was not compounded with indifference. It could easily have gone the other way.
“No matter what you saw on that tape, this nation does not have a great track record on this subject,” he added. “But at least in this case, this man faces accountability.”
Still, “justice is a far more difficult goal,” the Late Show host continued. “America still has a problem of overpolicing and systemic racism, but hopefully this is a step toward a future where police being held accountable for their actions isn’t headline material and a hope that accountability today is a deterrent for tomorrow.
“Today is one stop on a journey that began last May and led to protests calling for that accountability in every town and every city in America,” he concluded. “But this is just one stop. There is more work to be done.”
In Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel also started his monologue with a mention of Derek Chauvin’s landmark guilty verdict. “We’re all grateful it went the way that it did,” he said. “The jury made the correct decision, a unanimous decision, which is a step in the right direction. And I hope the verdict itself brings comfort to the family of George Floyd and all those who mourned his death.”
The host then continued to escalate his feud with the MyPillow CEO, Mike Lindell, the Trump conspiracy theorist backer and now host of a deranged live stream called the Frank-a-thon. “He claimed 90 million people tuned in yesterday to see this,” said Kimmel, playing a clip of Lindell spewing nonsense such as “what about my friend that lost his Google Maps because he said something about the border?”
“That went on late into the night,” Kimmel explained. “I love that he owns a pillow company and doesn’t seem to sleep. It’s like poetry. I want this Frank-a-thon to go on forever.
“Mike Lindell is like Saul Goodman from Better Call Saul,” the spin-off of Breaking Bad. “He had a funny supporting role in one of the most incredible dramas of all time, but now that he’s got his own show, you really appreciate what a character he is.”
“The courts did their job and justice was served and while this is a step in the right direction, there’s still a lot of work to be done,” said Jimmy Fallon of the Chauvin trial. “Too often, justice isn’t served, and the need for police reform remains. We all must continue to call out injustice until things change for the better.”
The Tonight Show host then dove into his monologue, which ripped on the struggles faced by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine: the FDA has halted production at one of the company’s facilities while it investigates a potential contamination issue. “Wait, they’re halting production now? You know your company is in trouble when millions of doses are contaminated, and it’s not nearly the worst part of your week.
“Don’t worry, instead of fixing the contamination problem, they’re just going to rebrand their vaccine as ‘Johnson & Johnson: Xtreme’.”
Fallon also acknowledged the 4/20 holiday for marijuana enthusiasts, which is popular enough to have merited a mention from the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, on the Senate floor: “Today is what you might call a very unofficial American holiday: 4/20.”
“This clip feels exactly like the moment everyone’s parents joined Facebook,” Fallon joked.
Late Night taped before the announcement of the Chauvin verdict, “so if it seems conspicuous in its absence, that is the reason why”, Seth Meyers said. “However, if you’re looking for multiple jokes about how today is 4/20, allow us to be your sanctuary.”
Meyers then riffed on Biden in his monologue, starting with reports that White House officials are working on a large childcare and paid family leave spending plan. “Not to be confused with the last administration, which was just a paid family,” Meyers joked.
In other news, the MyPillow CEO, Mike Lindell, a staunch fomenter of Trump’s baseless election fraud conspiracies, countered a $1.3bn defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems with a $1.6bn lawsuit of his own. “He’s just jealous because their voting machines are more comfortable to sleep on than his pillows,” said Meyers.
And “according to polls, Americans are more interested in trying edibles than any other type of cannabis product,” Meyers explained. “Wow, America is the only country that starts with the munchies.”