Show caption Trevor Noah: ‘When you see stories about what America’s capable of, this is where you realize there’s really no excuse for the amount of domestic terrorism in America.’ Photograph: YouTube Late-night TV roundup Trevor Noah on drone strike: ‘America never forgets … unless it’s slavery’ Late-night hosts discuss the killing of al-Qaida’s Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan and Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan Guardian staff Wed 3 Aug 2022 16.18 BST Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share via Email
Trevor Noah recapped a major announcement from the White House: that 20 years after 9/11, the US military killed the al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri by drone as he stood on his balcony at a safe house in Kabul.
“Goddamn, America clipped the world’s most wanted terrorist off of his safe house balcony?” the Daily Show host said on Tuesday evening. “I mean also, at this point, maybe we should stop calling them safe houses. Every terrorist gets killed in a safe house. They should call it ‘a house that you think you’re safe in, but you never know.’
Al Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri was killed using a razor blade missile, a weapon that sounds like something kids made up on a playground. pic.twitter.com/RtkomEn9LD — The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) August 3, 2022
“What’s crazy is that America didn’t just kill him. They killed him with a razor blade missile, which I didn’t even know was a thing,” Noah continued, explaining the mechanics of the Hellfire missile, a non-explosive, unmanned weapon which deploys razorblades in flight.
“The weapons America has sound like things kids just make up on the playground,” Noah added, imitating a child: ‘I’m shooting you with a laser-guided missile with razor blades and a shark’s body.’ Meanwhile the CIA is up in a tree being like ‘with a shark’s body, you get that, boys? We gotta go make one of those.’
“When you see stories like this, when you see stories about what America’s capable of, this is where you realize there’s really no excuse for the amount of domestic terrorism in America,” Noah continued. Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s deputy and successor, lived in a safe house in Kabul and yet “America knew what time of day he liked to go out on to his balcony”, he said. “But when a white supremacist posts on Facebook that he’s gonna murder everyone, and then buys an AR-15, everyone is like ‘Oh, there was no way to stop this!’”
The point of the assassination, Noah joked, was that “America never forgets … unless it’s slavery. But everything else, America never forgets.”
On the Late Show, Stephen Colbert opened with Nancy Pelosi’s controversial trip to Taiwan, which has drawn intense ire from the Chinese government. Chinese officials warned the House speaker, unsubtly, that “those who play with fire will perish by it.”
“Have you seen California? That’s not the threat it once was, China,” Colbert joked.
China warned its military “won’t sit by idly” if Pelosi visited Taiwan, and warned “no matter for what reason Pelosi goes to Taiwan, it will be a stupid, dangerous and unnecessary gamble.”
“That’s ominous,” said Colbert. “Also a perfect slogan for White Castle.”
Furthermore, the Chinese military conducted live-fire drills in the South China Sea and scrambled jets as Pelosi’s plane landed in Taiwan. “All of this for an 82-year-old woman with bones made of peanut brittle,” Colbert mused. “Tensions are so bad the defense department has upgraded its readiness to Defcon Mee-maw.”
Pelosi arrived in Taiwan safely, as the Chinese government reiterated that US politicians who “play with fire” on Taiwanese independence will “come to no good end”.
“That threat started out very scary and ended up being very vague,” said Colbert. “We’ll have more on this story if humanity continues to exist.”
Colbert also touched on the US drone strike in Kabul that killed Zawahiri. “We haven’t had a win like this since we got Bin Laden 11 years ago,” Colbert exclaimed. “So play some LMFAO on my slightly different iPhone and throw Girl With the Dragon Tattoo on the Blu-ray, because I’m partying like it’s 2011! Hashtag winning, Beyoncé’s pregnant, I hope I get to host the Late Show one day.”
In a press conference from Washington, Biden assured that the mission to kill Zawahiri was “carefully planned to rigorously minimize the harm to other civilians. None of his family members were hurt, and there were no civilian casualties.”
“OK, that’s cool, but shouldn’t that be the goal of all military operations?” Colbert responded. “That’s like a doctor saying ‘the surgery was a total success, Mr Johnson. We removed your appendix without stabbing any of the nearby nurses.’”