Stephen Colbert's election special, which started at 11 p.m. ET Tuesday with presidential votes still rolling in, was planned as a festive event, but opened as a support-group session and veered into a wake of sorts -- complete with booze -- as one guest noted Donald Trump's chance of defeating Hillary Clinton had grown to 95%.
As comedian Jena Friedman found it difficult to be funny, Colbert, appearing disappointed and a bit stunned, left humor mode to talk about the future: "If Donald Trump is the next president of the United States, it's all of our responsibility to find a positive aspect."
As the special, drained of humor, continued past its scheduled ending, a sober Colbert — despite the alcohol — stood at his desk and gave a moving, off-the-cuff speech about the election. Fans on Twitter loved it.
"I think we can agree that this has been an absolutely exhausting, bruising election for everyone," Colbert said. "And it has come to an ending I did not imagine. We all now feel the way Rudy Giuliani looks."
He speculated that the world is "going to be saying, 'Has America lost its mind?' And the answer is evidently, 'Back off, buddy. We've got 300 million guns and we're kind of stressed right now.' "
Then, he spoke about Democrats and Republicans being terrified of each other. "How did our politics get so poisonous? I think it's because we overdosed, especially this year. We drank too much of the poison. You take a little bit of it so you can hate the other side and it tastes kind of good and you like how it feels. And there's a gentle high to the condemnation."
Calling for unity, he then offered prepared jokes about things we all can agree on — the way KitKat bars should be eaten in segments and that the biggest plus of Cool Whip is that it's free Tupperware container — before offering his hope and some advice.
"Above all, we, as a nation, should never, ever have another election like this one. Do you agree?" he said to rousing cheers. "Now, please. Get out there. Kiss a Democrat. Go hug a Republican. Give a libertarian a (sex act)." (He's still a comedian and it is pay-cable.)
"The election is over. You survived. Good night and may God Bless America," Colbert concluded, before leading the audience in an impromptu rendition of My Country Tis of Thee.