Late-Night Hosts Poke Fun at Hawaii's False Ballistic Missile Attack Alarm


Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel all scrutinized the embarassing gaffe on Saturday (Jan. 13).

After Hawaiians faced a false cell-phone alert of a ballistic missile attack on Saturday, late-night hosts cracked jokes about how islanders and tourists reacted to the news.

The Daily Show's Trevor Noah highlighted a man interviewed by the Hawaii News Now program who strategized after the "incoming ballistic missile" alert went out, taking an Uber to the airport to try and catch a flight out of Hawaii.

"That dude was not messing around. I like that in his mind he was going to sidestep a nuclear holocaust. Everyone's like 'I'm going to die!' and he was like, 'No, y'all going to die. I've got work on Monday,'" Noah said.

He also pointed out that one hotel employee stayed at the front desk to answer questions from distressed guests during the confusion, according to the newscast. "Give that man a raise. He's at the desk answering questions when they said a bomb was coming. Only a true professional keeps working during a nuclear strike."

The Late Show opened Monday’s show with a “15th anniversary re-airing of the 20th re-airing of Don Ho’s classic 1967 concert at the Hollywood palace” from CBS’ local Hawaii affiliate. The performance was interrupted by an alert system reading: 

“Ballistic missile inbound, seek shelter.” It was followed shortly thereafter by another warning clarifying, “By the way, when we say seek shelter we mean dig a grave because there’s no where to hide.”

More warnings followed, including “trust us this alert system is foolproof” and “your death is 100% guaranteed,” before a final alert told viewers, “Wait, hold on. Get ready to laugh. It turns out the wrong button was pushed.”

Jimmy Kimmel poked fun at Hawaii's stereotypically laid-back culture in his coverage of the alert gaffe on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.

Pointing out that it took 38 minutes for a correction to be issued to the initial alert, Kimmel said, "For 38 minutes people were seeking immediate shelter, which in Hawaii, what does that even mean? Everybody get under a mai tai umbrella?"

He says people were freaked out by the false alarm "but not as freaked out as they would be in any other state." He added, "The fact that it took 38 minutes for people to tell them there was no ballistic missile on the way, that's very Hawaii. That's about as Hawaii as it gets."

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