UPDATED with video: Stephen Colbert had Showtime’s The Circus stars Mark Halperin and John Heilemann on Late Show for the first time since they guested on Colbert’s live election night special train wreck, in which producers cleverly prepared for every contingency, except the one in which it became clear during the broadcast that Donald Trump would be our next president.
Colbert began Wednesday night’s interview replaying the moment when the two men broke the gobsmacking electoral college news to him, with Halperin describing what had just happened: “Outside of the Civil War, World War II, and including 9/11, this may be the most cataclysmic event the country has ever seen.”
“I might have understated it,” Halperin said Wednesday night with wild applause from Colbert’s audience in agreement.
“In all seriousness, do you see anything in the first 45 days that is the fruit of that moment that you were picturing,” Colbert wondered.
“I don’t want to minimize the loss of life in 9/11, and in the wars – obviously that is beyond anything that has happened,” Halperin began. “But if you think of how this has convulsed the country… More than half of the country that voted against him and is upset about his being president – it’s self inflicted. I’ve traveled a lot since he got elected and there are people who are hopeful, and optimistic, and really think this is the kind of change we need. And there are adults who say to me, ‘This is the worst thing that’s happened to me in my life.'”
The Circus is coming back to Showtime for Season 2 on March 19. They could have done a second season had Hillary Clinton won the race, Heilemann said, but “it is the case in journalism that novelty is a compelling thing. And everything that’s happening every day, every hour, every minute in Washington right now is new.”
“The novelty of it pretty much made it impossible for us not to go back for a second bite of the apple,” he added.
Calling Trump’s Washington and Trump’s America “a fascinating thing,” Halperin noted. “You can go anywhere in America, this is what people are talking about.”
“Certain late-night shows that are focusing on the Trump administration have been doing quite well in the ratings, I read,” he added.