The actresses are among 50 wealthy parents targeted by federal officials who allegedly paid a collective total of $25 million to ensure their kids got into elite schools.
The latest story to blow up and dominate the news cycle wasn't a sex scandal of any kind, but rather the largest scandal to hit higher education in history.
The charges brought against Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin and two dozen others of the rich and famous for allegedly cheating their kids' ways into elite colleges caught the entire nation by surprise. At the same time, probably a lot of people weren't all that surprised at all.
The wealthy using their privilege and influence to get a leg up on everyone else, even if it bends or breaks the law and negatively impacts the other social classes? That's what most Americans believe happens every day in this country, as pointed out by several of the late-night hosts.
But it was shocking to see two well-liked actresses become the public face of this scandal. And yet, most of late night went with Aunt Becky jokes, referring to Loughlin's famous "Full House" role, rather than leaning into what a "Desperate Housewife" you would have to be to pay thousands of dollars to bribe your kids into college.
"The Daily Show with Trevor Noah"
Right away, Trevor Noah knew that any good scandal needs a name of its own, and so he leaned hard on the torpe we've been using since Watergate, dubbing this whole sordid mess "Bribegate Scandalgate."
"Felicity Huffman allegedly paid $15,000 to help her daughter get into top schools and Aunt Becky allegedly paid $500,000 to get her daughter into USC," Noah explained to his audience. "My only question is, When does the bribing stop?
"If you bribe to get good test grades, then surely you have to bribe the administrators. But at some point, people are going to figure out that your kid is stupid."
It's a story that resonates particularly hard with the middle and lower classes, because it feeds into their belief that America has become a system rigged against them. "The story is so infuriating because rich kids should have to get into college the old-fashioned way, by their parents donating a library," Noah said.
He went on to add with sincerity, "This is a huge story right now, and not just because of the possible crimes committed, but also because of everything it says about how privileged people get ahead in a country that's supposed to be about merit and hard work."
"The Late Late Show with James Corden"
It's no surprise that the scandal led several in late night to think of the current Commander in Chief. James Corden broke down the whole thing for his audience, adding, "As someone who didn't grow up here, I can now say I now understand how Donald Trump got into college. I get it. Always a mystery."
As an outsider looking in how America does things, Corden has long marveled at the costs of America's healthcare and higher education systems. "Paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes so your kids can get a diploma from an elite college," he said. "Sorry, I thought that was called tuition?"
He also made the lamest joke that the worst "dad" on social media made the second this story broke. You're supposed to be better at this than us, Mr. Corden.
"Looks like Aunt Becky could be going from 'Full House' to the big house," he said. He didn't even ask for a rimshot afer that one, and it was such a groaner it absolutely deserved one.
"The Late Show with Stephen Colbert"
Over on "Late Show," Stephen Colbert also couldn't resist connecting this story to Trump. "It has to do with higher education, so Donald Trump is not involved," he joked. "Sort of refreshing in a horrible way."
And, of course, he couldn't help but see the story in the most obvious way. "You know how conspiracy theorists say everything is rigged for the wealthy and famous?" he asked his audience. "Well, as a wealthy, famous person, let me just respond by saying, you're absolutely right."
Now the pervading question will be how many more schemes are out there disenfranchising the middle and lower classes from all that the United States has to offer. This is just one small ring that got exposed. Imagine how many more are sweating it out a little today.
Colbert also poked fun at the sting operation's name, "Operation: Varsity Blues." He joked that t was "named, of course, for the scandal where a 22-year-old James Van Der Beek tried to scam us into believing he was in high school. Back to the creek, Dawson!"
"Jimmy Kimmel Live"
"This is a major deal, because until this it was nearly impossible for wealthy parents to get their kids into college," Jimmy Kimmel said. After all, there are only so many libraries and football stadiums that can be donated.
To his credit, Kimmel found a detail in this story that allowed him to continue an ongoing joke that's carried through all the years of his show.
"According to prosecutors, it was a nationwide scam with connections to the Boston area," he said seriously. "And I have to say I knew-- I knew there was a reason Matt Damon got into Harvard. It didn't add up."
Loughlin's "Fuller House" costar Bob Saget appeared as a guest later in the show, but she was not mentioned during the interview.
"Late Night with Seth Meyers"
On "Late Night," Seth Meyers only talked about it briefly, and it was mainly to show off the skills of his graphics department.
First, he threw up a picture of Loughlin and Huffman in jumpsuits as part of the cast of "Orange Is the New Black," saying, "It looks like Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are heading back to TV."
And then, he had to take a dig at Loughlin's most famous role. "It's the worst thing Felicity Huffman has ever done, and the second worst thing Lori Loughlin has." At this, he simply threw up a promotional image from "Fuller House."
Can't be the worst thing she's ever done, though, considering she had half-a-million dollars to throw around for her kid's education. It's either all that "Full House" money, or all those Lifetime and made-for-television movies padding her bank account.
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