Stephen Colbert and the rest of the late night show hosts were handed a gag on a silver platter this week when South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said he would “go to war” for fast food restaurant Chick-fil-A. And in Colbert’s case, he mocked that comment with some classic movie references.
Before we get to the gag, first some context. Sen. Graham’s comments were in response to an open letter from about 200 students and faculty at Indiana’s University of Notre Dame asking the school to avoid allowing a Chick-fil-A on campus.
The opponents argued that the company’s values — and founding family’s history of donating to anti-LGBTQ politicians — make it obvious the school should choose another eatery.
Ultimately, the students lost and “chikin” is coming to the campus. Notre Dame said Thursday evening it will go ahead with plans to construct the Chick-fil-A anyway. “Our students have overwhelmingly expressed a desire to have a Chick-fil-A restaurant on campus, and we look forward to opening one early next year,” the university said in a statement.
Of course Graham rejoiced at this news, calling it a “big win.” See his tweets below:
Anyway, Colbert couldn’t resist dubbing over some classic films imagining if their conflicts were about fast food instead. “Lindsey Graham isn’t the first person willing to go to war over fast food,” his narrator said.
Up first was “Independence Day,” with Colbert’s voice over guy giving president Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman)’s iconic speech before battle with the aliens.
“We will not choose salads into the night. We will not taste fruit when we bite. We’re going to eat Whoppers with a side of chicken fries,” the voiceover said.
“Braveheart” appeared too. Mel Gibson’s William Wallace was dubbed over to say, “they make take our lives, but they’ll never take our Filet-o-Fish!”
“300” also made an appearance. Instead of the classic “this is Sparta” line, Colbert’s narrator said “this is Subway.”
In case you need a little background on how a chicken chain became synonymous with homophobia: The founder S. Truett Cathy opened the first Chick-fil-A in Atlanta, Ga. in 1967, and it was run from the get-go in accordance with Cathy’s strict Baptist values. This included encouraging prayer to Jesus and being closed on Sundays, a practice the restaurant chain still observes today.
Cathy has openly opposed gay marriage and through the family’s charitable giving firm WinShape Foundation, it donated over $1.9 million to anti-LGBTQ groups in 2010 alone, according to tax records. Organizations the Cathy’s foundation has supported include the Marriage & Family Foundation, which opposes queer marriage and divorce; the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which argues LGBTQ athletes live “impure lifestyles” and shouldn’t compete; and anti-gay conversion therapy group Exodus International.
As of 2018, Chick-fil-A was the third-biggest fast food chain in the country.
Check out the full Colbert gag below.