“Someone-Else-A-Culpa”: Late-Night Hosts Take on Christie's Apology
Comedians riff after New Jersey's governor apologizes during a press conference.
By Justin Ray and Patrick Hickey Jr. ••
After unleashing their first round of comedic takedowns, late-night hosts used New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's nearly 2-hour press conference addressing the traffic jam scandal as an opportunity for an onslaught of new jokes.
Christie apologized to the people of New Jersey Thursday and announced that he had fired an aide he said had lied to him about being involved with the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge as political payback to a local mayor.
In his opening monologue, "The Tonight Show" host wasted no time getting to Christie, making him the first person on his comedic hit list.
"New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is in the news, as you know," Leno said. "He doesn't know yet if he's running for president in 2016. I guess he'll cross that bridge when he comes to it."
After recapping the scandal for his audience, saying the traffic "clogged a lot of arteries," Leno added," Christie has denied any personal involvement. He said he was too busy clogging his own arteries at the time."
Leno then addressed how the scandal could affect Christie's presidential chances.
"The ironic thing is that now that Christie is denying everything, he sounds more presidential," Leno said. "That's what presidents do. They deny everything."
"The Daily Show" started with host Jon Stewart proclaiming, "The Garden State's second most important boss took the stage at the New Jersey State House for a sold out 2-hour marathon show and he played all the hits."
Stewart then rolled a clip from Christie's conference earlier that day in which the governor said he would be traveling to Fort Lee to apologize to Mayor Mark Sokolich face-to-face.
"That's excellent but when are you going to go, rush hour?" Stewart joked. "Maybe have a police escort or a motorcade, I'm just saying maybe you should Skype this one."
However, the highlight of Stewart's segment on Christie focused on his comment during the conference that the scandal was "not the tone" he has set during his tenure.
"Intimidation, vengeance, vitriol, that's not the tone?" Stewart said. Then, Stewart pulled out a harmonica and proceeded to play a series of out of tune notes in between clips of past controversial Christie moments, such as the two separate instances he called a reporter and a war vet an "idiot" during conferences.
"I think I finally figured out the tone he's set," Stewart said. "F-U-sharp."
"Governor and future former Republican frontrunner Chris Christie is embroiled in a scandal with a side of imbroglio," Colbert said.
Colbert then played a clip from December 2, 2013, in which Christie denied a question from a reporter asking if he he was involved with the traffic jam and said to a reporter, "You really are not serious with that question.”
"Yeah you cannot be serious with that, in retrospect, extremely serious question," Colbert said.
Colbert moved his focus to Christie's press conference.
"This morning in a triumphant, 108-minute someone-else-a-culpa, Christie faced these allegations head-on with a press conference that jammed airwaves with a 32-denial pile-up," Colbert said.
After playing a clip of Christie saying he was sad about the fiasco and didn't know the stages of grief in exact order, Colbert said, "I think I know the stages: grief, sadness, press conference, denial, anger, political death."
Then, Colbert played a clip of Christie saying there still may have been a traffic study.
"Yes there may have still been a traffic study
," Colbert said. "For instance, we now have ample data suggesting that shutting down lanes on the busiest bridge in the world to punish political rivals will come back to bite you in the ass."
Colbert concluded, "Now I see he's the kind of leader I can get behind. The kind that says 'It's my way or I shut down your highway!'"
The "Late Night" host was apologetic to his audience in his opening monologue. Apparently, he had some trouble getting to work.
"Sorry I was late guys," Fallon said. "Apparently, I pissed off Chris Christie and he popped the tires on my Citi Bike."
The jokes continued as Fallon picked on Christie's husky frame.
"Christie was furious when they blocked the bridge," Fallon said. "Because he thought they said 'they blocked the fridge.' He was all like, 'Not on my watch. Who do I have to kill? Who do I have to eat?'"
Although O'Brien didn't mention the scandal on his monologue, he did share his thoughts on Twitter.
If Chris Christie had blocked people from entering New Jersey he’d be a hero.
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) January 9, 2014
You can watch the segments below, or you can find the Stewart segment here and the Colbert segment here.