Melania ... Michelle ... speech ... RNC.
Good heavens, this stuff writes itself. Go ahead. Say the first thing that comes into your head, and it will be funny, and if it isn’t funny, then borrow a line from late night TV Tuesday. It’s OK -- you’re not plagiarizing, just “borrowing.” Be sure to return it later.
If there has been a gift to late night TV over the last year, last FIVE years, then that gift was delivered -- wrapped in a gold lame package -- Monday at the Republican National Convention. Once unwrapped, the contents flowed unrestrained -- and not just the Melania Trump-plagiarism episode.
Before I get to the happy results of those -- and I will, rest assured -- “Late Late Show with James Corden” made most effective use of them. If you don’t want to watch the whole clip, here’s his “Top Ten” excuses Melania made for plagiarizing Michelle’s speech:
10.) I thought that was the speech every first lady gives.
9.) I’m from a communist country, where we share everything -- including speeches.
8.) I no paid to write. I paid to be wife of clown billionaire.
7.) I played “Pokemon Go” until five minutes before the speech.
6.) I did not have plagiaristic relations with that woman, Mrs. Obama.
5.) The drugs I take to get through sex hadn’t worn off.
4.) Chris Christie ate my first draft.
3.) I’m just like you -- I didn’t think Donald Trump would make it this far.
2.) Who cares about plagiarizing? James Corden is doing it right now.
And the No. 1 excuse Melania Trump gave for plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech ...
“Three words -- I speak no English.”
Meanwhile, back to those RNC Night 2 gifts: There were no fewer than three late night talk shows, for example, which parodied Donald Trump’s silhouetted entrance on the stage at the Quicken Loans Arena. It was just a matter of deciding which was funniest. Upon careful consideration, my award for Best Trump silhouette goes to “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” the host of which used this as a pretext to channel a “special” speech by “Trump” himself:
“I know I wasn’t supposed to be here, but our keynote speaker ALF couldn’t make it ... Did you see Melania? She stole the show, literally. She delivered her speech like a true first lady.”
Really, ba dum, ba dum, ba dum and ba dum.
The lines -- and ba dums -- kept coming. From everywhere, and every channel.
Click ... Jimmy Kimmel, coming to Melania Trump’s defense: “She didn’t plagiarize the speech, she covered it! Like when Whitney Houston recorded “I Will Always Love You”-- or the Beatles did “Twist and Shout.” It was a cover version -- of Michelle Obama’s speech. And it doesn’t matter who did it first, it’s who did it best.”
Click. Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show” -- which also did a remix of that ubiquitous Kanye West Snapchat, with Melania inserted in place of Tay Tay -- observed: “Melania just took something a black woman did as her own -- or as Iggy Azalea calls it, her new hit.”
Click. Fallon again, at the top of his monologue: “If any of these jokes sound old, it’s because Michelle Obama used them in 2008.”
Click. Seth Meyers in “A Closer Look” segment of “Late Night”: “Melania did it -- she did something less original than being a model married to an old billionaire.”
We could go on all day -- hey, they went on all night -- but time is short, there’s more found comedy to come, and we now get to the heart of this completely original post: Who was funniest in late night on the historic evening of July 19, 2016? Decisions have to be made, and I will make them. I’ve narrowed this down to two brilliant bits -- the cold open of “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” in which Broadway star Laura Benanti parodied, to considerable effect, Melania Trump; or the Corden bit that dusted off David Letterman’s “Top Ten List.”
Yes, the Benanti parody was priceless -- possibly a future late night classic, to be dusted off whenever we need to remind ourselves just how easily this stuff really does write itself, in fact:
Melania/Benanti: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore. You’ve got to fight for your right -- to party. Oh, and one more thing, it’s LIVE from New York ...”
What made me laugh: My winner, and it’s a squeaker, is Corden. This was perfect because it was so meta -- Corden quite happily, gleefully stealing classic Letterman, and calling it his own. He even channeled Dave, also effectively, repeating “Pokemon Go” over and over -- just as Dave would do to any word or phrase he found puzzling or simply ridiculous. Best of all, this one reminded us all of what we have missed for a year -- or whom. Dave, of course. This wasn’t stealing. It was homage.