Last week, Ralph Northam, the Democratic governor of Virginia, encountered a wave of backlash last week when his medical school yearbook page, which features a picture of one person in blackface and another in a Klu Klux Klan outfit, resurfaced on social media. On Saturday, Northam defended himself in a press conference by clarifying that he had not dressed in blackface on that particular occasion after, one day earlier, issuing an apology suggesting he was in the photo. He said, however, that he had made “mistakes”like darkening his face with shoe polish to attend a dance competition as Michael Jackson.
On Late Night, Colbert pointed to Northam’s initial apology, where he said, “I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo” and did not specify which person he was. “Which bring up an interesting question: Which is worse?” Colbert said. ” ‘Uh, I was definitely in the hood, which is why you can’t see how mad I was at that other guy for wearing blackface’.”
Colbert then pantomimed Northam when he backtracked his assertion that he had appeared in the photograph on Saturday. ” ‘I am very sorry for what I did. Oh, you still want me to resign? I mean I did not do it,’ ” Colbert joked.
TONIGHT: Governor Northam had a terrible weekend. #LSSC pic.twitter.com/GtAV9eFrZS
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) February 5, 2019
Seth Meyers devoted his Late Night segment “A Closer Look” to the PR debacle. Also addressing news reports that Northam had not specified which person he was in the photo in his initial apology, Meyers joked, “Wow, that’s a real lose-lose. That’s like being asked whether you’re Erik or Lyle Menendez … Even the curtain in the back of that photo had to hold a press conference to apologize.”