Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert remember Rep. John Lewis, including his fun side

Late-night TV hosts Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah both dedicated segments of their shows Monday to civil rights hero and Congressman John Lewis, who died Friday at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

“This weekend, we lost a giant — a friend of the show and friend of the America we all aspire to,” Colbert said on “The Late Show.” “To say that he was a civil rights icon feels like an understatement.”

Colbert proceeded to list some of Lewis’ accomplishments, including his groundbreaking work as one of the 13 original Freedom Riders, a leader of the 1965 march for Black voting rights across Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., and “the angel on Congress’ shoulder.”

He also celebrated a few of the congressman’s “fun” moments, including the time he marched around 2015 Comic-Con while cosplaying as his 25-year-old self or crowd-surfed during a visit to “The Late Show” at age 76.

“John Lewis was a hero. That’s a given. Everybody knows that. But we tend to carve our heroes in marble and forget the other sides of them, like the fact that John Lewis was fun,” Colbert continued. “What I love is how positive he stayed while fighting injustice. Sometimes he was just joyful.”


On “The Daily Show,” Noah saluted Lewis as a “civil rights icon” and highlighted some of the many tributes that poured in over the weekend to honor his “extraordinary” life.

“You know you have lived quite a life when you get heartfelt tributes like that from all across the globe,” Noah said.

He also criticized some of Lewis’ Republican colleagues, such as Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who penned “a long statement praising Lewis’ sacrifices” but has “also been blocking the effort Lewis led to fully restore the Voting Rights Act.”

“It’s a lot like if the Joker wrote a eulogy for Batman,” Noah quipped. “To be fair though, Mitch McConnell always sends a sweet message when a Black colleague dies because it’s one less person he has to keep from voting.”

John Lewis, an icon of the civil rights era and a longtime member of Congress from Georgia, has died.

And both Colbert and Noah made sure to skewer Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who “tweeted a tribute to John Lewis, but with a photo of himself standing next to a different deceased Black Congressman, Elijah Cummings.” (Rubio later replaced the “incorrect photo” with an actual photo of him and Lewis in a follow-up tweet.)

“Still better than Rubio’s first draft,” Colbert joked, reading out a fake tribute mistaking Lewis for basketball superstar Michael Jordan.

“‘It was an honor to know John Lewis,’” began the mock salute. “‘Not only was he a civil rights icon, but he led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships.”

“I’m sorry, man, but that’s just so embarrassing,” Noah said, noting that another Republican senator, Daniel Sullivan of Alaska, made the same mistake. “This is the racial version of calling out your ex’s name in bed.”