After a Tuesday election night hiatus, the late night hosts returned Wednesday combining punchlines and audience group counseling after Donald Trump's defeat of Hillary Clinton.
Conan O’Brien on TBS opened the show with a serious tone, addressing the feelings and history of elections the country has faced.
“Today is a really strange day," he said. "Half the country is really happy, half the country is somewhere between despondent and furious….We have been here before. We have had bitter, angry elections for 200 years…the optimist in me chooses to be happy that we have fair and free elections at all.”
And that’s when the jokes began.
“The first thing I did this morning was call my old high school bully and congratulate him," O’Brien said adding, "Donald Trump got elected president and my job just got easier for the next four years."
He also found humor in Clinton's loss.
"For the millions who are disappointed for Hillary, remember, America has a special place for people who lose. And ironically, it’s the cast of ‘Celebrity Apprentice.’”
Seth Myers opened his show referencing the leaked 2005 Access Hollywood tapes where Trump was heard making lewd comments about women.
"Well, that was a real grab in the p---y,” he said. “I’m sorry to use foul language like that but last time I checked the electoral college seems to be fine with it.”
Later in his monologue, he choked up and shared an emotional speech.
"I do really feel for the parents who had to explain this to their kids this morning, especially parents with daughters,” he said. “Because a lot of them, like me, probably thought Hillary would be our first woman president, but she won’t be. But that does mean that someone’s daughter is out there, right now, who will one day have that title. Whoever you are, I hope I live to see your inauguration."
On ABC, Jimmy Kimmel told viewers he was up all night watching the election coverage.
"It was a big surprise. I think it was even a big surprise to Donald Trump," he said. "Did you see his victory speech? He didn’t want this. He wanted to win — but he doesn’t actually want to be President... His plan was to go home to Mar-a-Lago, play 5,000 rounds of golf, phone in to Trump TV every morning for 10 years and then die on the toilet!”
He also jokingly addressed what he said was the real problem in Clinton's campaign.
"In hindsight, I think the problem for Hillary was... she didn’t have enough celebrities supporting her.”
Samantha Bee, on “Full Frontal,” showed a slightly angrier side than the rest of the late night hosts before offering a positive message.
"How did everyone get this so spectacularly wrong?" she asked announcing it was "white people" who "ruined America."
She tried for a positive message, but it was not without sarcasm.
"America is still a great country and it is still worth fighting for," she said. "It has Shonda Rhimes shows, peanut butter, and Beyonce, and Lin-Manuel Miranda rap-weeping at awards shows, and it has the beautiful U.S. constitution... We still have millions of nasty women who aren't going away, and as along as women over 25 are still allowed on television, I'll be here cheering them on."
NBC's "Tonight" host Jimmy Fallon focused on serving up jokes rather than angst.
"Republicans hope he'll keep his promise to build the wall, and Democrats hope he'll keep his promise not to accept the election results," he said. "And after the results came in, Donald Trump gave a big victory speech. Yep, he said he couldn't have done it without the love of his life, his rock, his better half: FBI Director James Comey."
CBS' "Late Late Show" host James Corden, recalling the excitement of moving from England to America with his wife and son two years ago, said after the "nastiest" of campaigns it was critical to remember the nation's values.
"This country isn't about one election result. This country is about the people who live here. It's you. It's how you treat one another, it's the tone you set that will define who we are" and reaffirm that America is great, he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.