Late Night

Seth Meyers’ 10 Best ‘Closer Look’ Segments of 2016

In 2016, Seth Meyers' "Closer Look" segments became must-watch election commentary. What was your favorite Late Night moment of the year?

At the end of 2015, I deemed Seth Meyers the “most improved satirist of the year” and declared that he had “filled the late night void” left by Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. In 2016, as Trevor Noah tried to find his footing and Stephen Colbert often stuck to lighter fare, Meyers’ “Closer Look” segments became America’s must-watch bits of nightly satirical commentary. Whether he was offering Donald Trump a job as NBC’s Chicago President or blasting white politicians for using shootings of police to attack Black Lives Matter, Meyers refused to let up on the absurdity that was 2016. Here, in no particular order, are the best ‘Closer Look’ segments of the year.

Trump Becomes the Nominee

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After the GOP officially chose Donald Trump as its nominee, Meyers looked at how the Republican Party became the party of a racist, xenophobic liar. “This should be a serious moment of introspection for Republicans,” Seth said in the clip. “How did they get to the point where they’re handing their nomination to a race-baiting, xenophobic, serial liar who peddles conspiracy theories and thinks the National Enquirer is a real newspaper. The answer: This is no accident. This is not a fluke. The Republican Party is the party of Donald Trump — and has been for years.”

Kansas Tax Cuts

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After Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax cuts for the wealthy and small business owners nearly bankrupted the state, Seth reminded viewers that Brownback’s policies are the same tax cuts Senate Republicans want to pass on a national level. “Even when you buy couch cleaner they tell you to try it on a small patch of fabric first. That’s what happened here — Kansas was the small patch of fabric. Not only did the cleaner not work, the couch exploded.”

Politicians Respond to Police Shootings

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Following the July killing of five officers at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas, Seth attacked the white politicians and pundits using the shooting to attack the Black Lives Matter movement, and, for some reason, President Obama. “The fact is, black people are disproportionately affected by racial disparities in our criminal justice system — that’s just a fact. And saying Black Lives Matter is a response to that. The problem with you, Rudy,” Meyers addressed Guiliani, “is you’re imagining the word ‘only’ in there. As in ‘only’ black lives matter, but no one is saying that. In fact, assuming the word ‘only’ in any context is kinda weird, just in general. Like when you see a sign outside a convenience store that says, ‘We sell lottery tickets,’ you don’t assume they mean, ‘We only sell lottery tickets.'”

Trump Transforms for the General Election

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After winning the nomination, Trump transformed to appeal to a wider audience as he prepared for the general election. In the process, he flip-flopped on many of the promises and statements he made earlier in the election. Meyers showed clips of Trump changing his tune on issues like the minimum wage and taxes on the wealthy. “Trump is a Magic 8 Ball,” he said. “You shake it up and you can get one answer. Shake it again, you get something completely different.”

The Orlando Shooting

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After the horrific mass shooting in Orlando, Seth opened his show on a somber note with a “Closer Look” at gun violence in America. He began by pointing out that “amid the horrific scenes of carnage and grief, there were also tremendous outpourings of compassion and goodwill.” But then he changed gears to focus on the real problem that connects all shootings. “Whether the shooter was a homophobe, mentally ill, a terrorist inspired by ISIS, or all three, what allowed him to kill so many people on Sunday was his gun.”

The Trump Tape and Debate Fallout

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One of the year’s biggest stories was the lewd tape that should have derailed Trump’s campaign. Meyers balked at Trump’s claims that is was just “locker room talk” and in response to NBC’s decision to fire Billy Bush from the Today Show for his role in the tape, Meyers remarked, “There is currently a higher standard for host of the third hour of the Today Show than there is for Republican nominee [and now, America’s choice] for president.”

Donald Trump’s First Moves as President-Elect

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After the election, pundits tried to give Trump the benefit of the doubt. Meyers agreed for a moment. “Let’s give him this fresh start and see if he can surprise us. Let’s give him a chance.” Cue the supercut of news organizations announcing that Trump had chosen Breitbart Editor Steve Bannon as his chief strategist. “Well, we gave him a chance,” Meyers said of Donald Trump’s first week as president-elect. “Bye chance, thank you for stopping by. Good to see you, chance.”

Detroit Teachers Stage Sickouts

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As the Flint water crisis continued to go unsolved, elsewhere in Michigan teachers in Detroit staged “sick outs” to protest their lack of pay as a corrupt state government screwed the Detroit school district out of $30 million. Meyers brought attention to the issue and demanded that “We shouldn’t be forcing people to work for free!”

Voter ID Laws

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Since the 2010 election, 21 states have passed laws that require government-issued IDs to be shown at the polls. In this clip, Seth told the story of 94-year-old Rosanell Eaton in North Carolina who had to take ten trips to the DMV and drive 200 miles to obtain one form of voter identification. “And if you want to know what ten trips to the DMV does to a person, just look at the people who work there,” said Seth. Besides, “94-year-olds are not committing voter fraud…94 is a terrible age to start a long con. ‘First, I’ll get a Democrat elected, and then—oh, I died.'”

Trump’s Response to the Orlando Shooting (Seth bans Trump from Late Night)

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After the Orlando massacre, Trump made a speech about terrorism essentially calling President Obama a terrorist sympathizer. When The Washington Post reported on the speech as such, Trump revoked their press access. Standing in solidarity with the spurned news outlet, Seth announced that Donald Trump was officially banned from appearing on Late Night. “You missed out, buddy. We could have gone to Coney Island and ridden the Cyclone in a segment we would have called ‘Will His Hair Move?'”

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