Neither late-night host can believe that the "Empire" star reportedly paid for the allegedly fake hate crime via check.
As the Jussie Smollett saga continues to unfold day by day, "The Daily Show" and "The Late Show" both took a deep dive into the latest charges and allegations against the "Empire" star in relation to an alleged hate crime he is now believed to have orchestrated.
It's the more ridiculous details that have since emerged in the scandal that finally got the attention of Stephen Colbert. And while Trevor Noah touched on the story earlier in the week, this was his most extensive exploration of it yet, and he was very happy to find a silver lining in all of it.
The most recent developments in the case saw Smollett formally charged with falsifying a police report, which is a felony and could lead to prison time if he is found guilty. He turned himself in to authorities and was released on a $100,000 bond.
Smollett continues to maintain his innocence, standing by his initial report that he was attacked by two men who shot racial and homophobic slurs at him, along with the phrase, "This is MAGA country."
Chicago police are now maintaining they believe that Smollett orchestrated the attack with two Nigerian brothers and that he set up the whole thing because he felt he was underpaid on his show. They say they have the brothers affirming this version of events, as well as physical evidence including text messages and a check Smollett purportedly wrote the brothers to commit the fake crime.
It's this last detail that perhaps got the most attention. Even Charles Barkley interrupted the TNT NBA Halftime Show to poke fun at Smollett allegedly paying for a fake crime by check. Check out how late night responded below.
"The Late Show with Stephen Colbert"
"This story involves race, sexuality, politics and violence," Stephen Colbert explained to his audience. "So I need to tread very lightly here and simply say, What a dick."
He went on to see one huge problem in Smollett's alleged plot to fake this hate crime against himself. "I'm no expert, but if you're going to fake a white supremacist hate crime, hire two white guys," he suggested. "This is one place where you don't want diversity."
The host then helpfully pointed out that there are plenty of white people in Chicago, suggesting Smollett "go to a Blackhawks game."
But there's an even easier way to get what he wants, if it's all about the money. "Has he never heard of a sex tape? Come on," he said. "A night vision camera on the dresser, somehow it leaks, bingo, you're hosting 'The Late Show.' I'm not saying anything, I'm just saying they don't give these jobs away."
In all seriousness, though, Colbert echoed the sentiments of many marginalized people in the United States that if Smollett did orchestrate this fake hate crime, he's done a huge disservice to both the black and LGBTQ+ communities.
"Smollett cast himself as a fake national symbol for our real social and political divide," Colbert lamented. "It's a horrible affront to actual victims of hate crimes."
"The Daily Show with Trevor Noah"
Trevor Noah was really struggling to even make sense of Smollett's motivation, if it really was just about getting a pay raise at work. "What's the logic there?" he asked. "You get your ass beat and then you go to your boss and be like, 'Hey, can I get another million dollars? I need to buy some Band-Aids.'"
He went on to add, "That's not a good way to get a raise, people. Call me old-fashioned, but whatever happened to just going into your boss' office and blackmailing him with nudes?"
Both Colbert and Noah couldn't help but crack jokes about Smollett allegedly paying his accomplices in this fake crime by check. "Did he also write 'fake hate crime' in the memo?" Noah asked. "Even amateurs know, if you commit a crime you go all cash, people. No paper trail."
But again, it's really about the disservice this whole thing would do to the black and LGBTQ+ communities if the worst is proven true. "In his wake, he has screwed over everyone," Noah said. "Nobody won in this thing. I mean, the only winner in this whole thing is Subway, because before this whole story, I didn't know that they were open at 2am."
But there was a silver lining in the whole story that Noah noticed and no one has talked about (because it's not really much of one at all).
"When this started out, it was a story it was a story about people who hated Jussie Smollett because he was black and gay. But now people hate him because he's an asshole," he said. "In other words, they're judging him on the content of his character and not the color of his skin, and that my friends is progress."
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