Seth Meyers: ‘Why is it easier to vote on America’s Got Talent than it is in America?’

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Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers panned California’s process for recall elections on Wednesday evening, a day after the current governor, Gavin Newsom, handily defeated an effort to unseat him by the Republican party. “Recalls in California are, to use a political insider term, super fucked up,” said Meyers. The recall ballot contains only two questions: should California recall its governor, and who should replace them if the recall succeeds?

“Which means a sitting governor could get recalled if they get 49% of the vote and then get replaced by someone who got half that,” the Late Night host explained. “It’s insane.

“I mean, who came up with this system?” he continued. “It’s more difficult than following the latest developments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

Related: Stephen Colbert on Trump tell-all: ‘Maybe we should’ve been a little more terrified’

“The recall system is nuts and it should be scrapped,” he added. “Why is every electoral system in this country so backwards and insane? Gerrymandering, the electoral college, recalls – why can’t there just be a winner who gets the most votes and that’s it? Why is it easier on America’s Got Talent than it is to vote in America? If Doritos chose their flavors this way, the top seller would be Cilantro & Cauliflower.”

California’s “dumb, waste-of-time recall” cost taxpayers an estimated $276m and could end up costing more than $300m, “all because Newsom went to dinner during the lockdowns at a fancy restaurant called the French Laundry, which we can all agree was absolutely stupid on his part.

“But it’s also not surprising that this was the way Republicans tried to stage a takeover of the most populous state in America,” Meyers added. “Not through a normal election, but through a weird loophole where they would only need a small percentage of voters to win.”

Stephen Colbert

“Sorry, California Republicans,” said Stephen Colbert on Wednesday’s Late Show. “I know you spent 20 months and millions of dollars on this recall, but you know what they say: you win some, but not in California.”

Newsom celebrated his non-removal in a speech on Wednesday night: “I want to focus on what we said yes to as a state: we said yes to science, we said yes to vaccines, we said yes to ending this pandemic. We said yes to diversity.”

“And nothing says diversity like a rich white guy named Gavin,” Colbert quipped.

The Late Show host also discussed the Nicki Minaj tweet that ignited a firestorm online, in which she claimed she wasn’t vaccinated because her cousin’s friend in Trinidad developed swollen testicles from a Covid vaccine. “Of course, your cousin’s friend is a much more trusted source than all of the world’s doctors,” Colbert joked. “That’s why in an emergency you always hear a man yelling, ‘Is anyone here someone’s cousin’s friend?’”

Outrage over Minaj’s claims and vaccine skepticism prompted Trinidad and Tobago’s minister of health to respond in a press conference: “There is absolutely no reported such side-effect of … testicular swelling in Trinidad, nor that we know of anywhere else in the world.”

“Wait a second, sir, are you calling Nicki Minaj a liar?” Colbert joked. “Because to do that takes some … wait a second.”

Trevor Noah

And on the Daily Show, Trevor Noah addressed America’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. “We just observed the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and what do we say? ‘Never forget,’ which is a powerful and necessary sentiment, and it’s true,” he said, noting memories of observing the attacks from afar as a child in South Africa.

“But if I’m honest, I think we need to expand on what ‘never forget’ means. I also feel like we should never forget how easily our fear can drive us to do horrible things to other human beings.” As terrible as the recent US drone strike in Afghanistan that the New York Times reported accidentally killed 10 civilians, including seven children, “what’s even more terrible is that when you look back at the 20 years of the war, there’s absolutely nothing unique about it”.

At one point in the war, America and its allies were killing more civilians than the Taliban – a “huge failure on the part of America”, Noah explained. “I mean, if you’re killing more civilians than the Taliban, what’s the point of being there? Like, if you’re trying to catch the Candyman but you’re killing more people than he is, at some point people are just gonna be like, ‘All right, we’re just gonna stick with the Candyman.’

“What makes it worse is that nobody ever seems to face any consequences for these deaths. There’s no other job in the world where you can just accidentally kill innocent people and then show up the next day like nothing happened,” he added, noting the sparse public outcry throughout the war.

In fact, the war in Afghanistan was “something most Americans did forget, while it was happening”, he said. “To most people in America, this war became like when you forget Netflix is on, and they have to pop up that little thing like, ‘Yo, are you still alive?’”

But the Afghan people did not forget about the war, especially as thousands of innocent people lost loved ones to American drone strikes. And lest Americans forget the financial cost, Noah added, the war cost $300m a day for 20 years. “Forget about schools and hospitals – for $300m a day, America could’ve made a new Fast & Furious movie every day for 20 years,” Noah joked.

“The least we can do the next time we even consider getting into another war is to never forget that it might not actually make anybody feel safer, or safer at all,” he concluded. “Never forget that it will cost you a fortune. And most importantly, never forget that there are innocent people on the other side.

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