In the past, Comedy Central's live election night coverage has been a juicy antidote to the comparatively dry fare served up by news networks. This time, they missed the boat.
Jon Stewart kicked off the hourlong block with "The Daily Show," touting special guests like Patrick Stewart, former Nick News frontwoman Linda Ellerbee, and ABC's own George Stephanopoulos. Correspondent John Oliver commanded a corner of the set, armed with tablets and screens - literally, they were attached to his arms - and talked about social media's influence on the election.
Stewart threw to correspondents at faux campaign headquarters: Jessica Williams joked that the Obama contingent was still pushing for fundraising, Aasif Mandvi said Romney HQ would be a "drunken bacchanal" whether or not the Republican candidate won. More "Daily Show" personalities speculated on statistician Nate Silver's predictions for the 2016 race - Hillary Clinton triumphing over Jeb Bush - and berated undecided voters on still being, well, undecided.
At the same time, many news outlets were calling the race for Barack Obama. After a commercial break, Stewart shared the news, but then jumped to a pre-planned segment featuring a foul-mouthed hologram of George Washington that didn't seize on the story of the moment: The presidential election was over.
Stephen Colbert's more satirical take fared better. He opened the show by wishing his mother a happy 92nd birthday - you can't go wrong by saying "happy birthday" to mom - and announced Obama's victory only after sniffing a napkin soaked with "liberal tears." He vowed to hole up on an island where only rich people can live ("Manhattan"), promised a future full of "lesbian food co-ops," and warned Obama supporters that come morning, they'd have to do a "walk of shame wearing nothing but your Obama t-shirt and your 'enfranchise-me' pumps."
After a chat with political commentator Andrew Sullivan and a riff on marijuana legalization, it was all over. Colbert urged viewers who won to "rip a few doughnuts in the parking lot" Wednesday morning. His parting words: "See you in 2016, beeotch." Indeed.