Best of Late Night: Stephen Colbert on the Stormy Daniels Interview: ‘It All Felt True’


Stephen Colbert said Stephanie Clifford’s account on “60 Minutes” was “insane, salacious” and utterly believable.


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‘The Least Surprising Story I Have Ever Heard’

Stephen Colbert on Monday was eager to dig into Anderson Cooper’s “60 Minutes” interview with Stephanie Clifford, the former pornographic film actress known as Stormy Daniels. Colbert was thrilled to hear Clifford’s account of her alleged affair with President Trump — but even the juiciest details didn’t shock him.

“The interview covered everything: The president had sex with a porn star, she spanked him with a magazine with his face on it, he didn’t wear a condom, later they watched ‘Shark Week,’ then his lawyer paid her to keep her mouth shut, and now Trump’s suing this porn star for $20 million. It’s an insane, salacious tale about a sitting president — and the least surprising story I have ever heard.” — STEPHEN COLBERT

“It all felt real, it all felt true. That felt truer than him getting elected.” — STEPHEN COLBERT

Video by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

At one point in the interview, Clifford described turning the tables on Trump. Early in their first romantic encounter, she said, she suggested the president should stop talking about himself as much, and spanked him with a magazine featuring his photograph. After that, she said, Trump opened up to her, and started acting “more appropriate.”

“Hmm, a couple of spanks and Donald Trump started acting more appropriate. John Kelly, you know what to do.” — STEPHEN COLBERT

Trevor Noah had his own thought about who might have been watching.

“You know Bob Mueller is watching this interview, right? You know that. Now he’s going to walk into the interrogation room with a rolled-up magazine, like, ‘O.K., Donald, time to talk about Russia.’” — TREVOR NOAH

Here’s Colbert on the moment when, according to Clifford, Trump told her that she reminded him of his daughter Ivanka.

“Wow, that is awkward. But not nearly as awkward as when he said to Ivanka, ‘Honey, you remind me of this porn star I had sex with.’” — STEPHEN COLBERT

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Stormy Daniels Attracts 22 Million Viewers to ‘60 Minutes’


The “60 Minutes” interview of Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, on a screen at the Hi-Life bar in Manhattan on Sunday.

Peter Foley/EPA, via Shutterstock

Stormy Daniels is a ratings blockbuster.

CBS’s “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday night featuring the pornographic film actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, garnered the highest ratings for the program in almost a decade. It drew 22 million viewers, according to Nielsen, more than the much-hyped recent telecasts for the Grammys and the Golden Globes.

The segment on Ms. Clifford, who said she had a sexual relationship with Donald J. Trump in 2006 and had been offered money to keep it quiet, took up more than half the episode. The start of the episode was delayed 36 minutes by an overtime NCAA men’s basketball tournament game between Kansas and Duke. The CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who joined “60 Minutes” as a correspondent in 2006, conducted the interview.


Ms. Daniels’s interview, conducted by Anderson Cooper, got “60 Minutes” its best rating since a 2008 sit-down with the Obamas.


The episode was the best performer for “60 Minutes” since the airing of Steve Kroft’s interview with Barack and Michelle Obama after the 2008 election, which had more than 25 million viewers. The ratings on Sunday were probably helped somewhat by a strong lead-in, the college basketball game, which Kansas won, 85-81.

The rise of streaming has fractured the television audience, and it has become a rarity for a show to draw more than 20 million viewers. The exceptions are live broadcasts of major sporting events and awards shows.

The interview segment with Ms. Clifford made for a bigger draw than the telecasts of this year’s Grammys (19.8 million) and the Golden Globes (19 million). The “60 Minutes” episode also had more viewers than the usual editions of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” which averaged 18 million viewers, and came within striking distance of ABC’s telecast last month of the Academy Awards, which had 26.5 million viewers.

The highly anticipated segment on Ms. Clifford kicked off viewing parties, both at home and at bars.

The broadcast also outperformed recent “60 Minutes” breakout episodes. The El Chapo-focused interview with Sean Penn, in January 2016, drew 20.6 million viewers, and Lesley Stahl’s sit-down with Mr. Trump and his family, soon after he won the presidential election in November 2016, drew 20 million.

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