Right off the bat in his monologue Monday, Stephen Colbert addressed the weird news from last week about several people working for his show who were for some reason arrested while filming a comedy bit in Washington, D.C. last Thursday.
Of course, Colbert picked apart bad faith attempts to paint the thing as somehow analogous to the Jan. 6 riot. But taking his mockery of those critics further, Colbert also ran down a list of horrific crimes he joked have been committed by puppets over the years. Pretty fun stuff, and you can watch it above now.
Surely you of course know what we’re talking about, but just in case, on Friday it came out that seven people associated with “The Late Show” were arrested and briefly detained last week in Washington, D.C> by capitol police. That story, reported by Fox News first (of course), made the whole thing sound weird and possibly criminal, and also made it sound as if they’d been arrested in the Capitol building. But of course, the real story is the opposite of that.
As CBS explained in a statement, those “The Late Show” staffers were actually filming a Triumph the Insult Comic dog sketch across the street in congressional offices, and they “were authorized and pre-arranged through Congressional aides of the members interviewed.” They ended up staying in the building after it was technically closed, and were picked up while filming some comedy filler material.
Colbert re-explained all of that in his monologue, and noted that his team had actually made arrangements with both Republicans and Democrats. That’s because, he joked, that Triumph the Insult Comic Dog is “a bipartisan puppy. He’s so neutral, he’s neutered.”
Colbert then went on to mock the breathless coverage of the matter, which as we said initially made it sound like serious stuff had happened. Instead, Colbert joked, it was “first degree puppetry. Hijinks with intent to goof. Misappropriation of an old Conan bit.”
Colbert attributed the skewed coverage of his people’s attempt to film a comedy bit to the desire of conservatives to change the subject. “They want to talk about something other than the Jan. 6 hearings on the actual seditionist insurrection that led to the deaths of multiple people, and the injury of over 140 police officers,” Colbert said.
“But drawing any equivalences between riots storming our capitol to prevent the counting of electoral ballots, and a cigar smoking talking dog, is a shameful and grotesque insult to the memory of everyone who died. And it obscenely the service and commitment capitol police showed on that terrible day,” he continued.
“But who knows. Maybe there was a vast conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States with a rubber Rottweiler. After all, Thursday night, the night they were detained, was the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in. Are we supposed to believe that was a coincidence?” Colbert asked
Yes,” Colbert said after looking directly at the camera and taking his glasses off. Then he got into the crimes puppets have done.
“And we all know the long history of puppet lawlessness. ‘The Great Muppet Caper.’ The Fraggle riots of the 1980s. Who could forget when Kukla, Fran and Ollie were hauled in front of the Charlie McCarthy hearings?” he joked. “And how do you think King Friday came to power in the neighborhood of make believe? With the backing of the head of his secret police, Henrietta Pussycat.”
“‘Meow meow, attach jumper cables to your nipples meow.’” Colbert added, imitating Henrietta’s voice.
“In this case, our puppet was just a puppet, doing puppet stuff. Sad to say so much has changed in Washington, that the capitol police do have to stay at high alert at all times. Because of the attack on Jan. 6. And as the hearings prove more and more every day, the blame for that actual insurrection all lies with Putin’s puppet,” Colbert said, referring of course to Donald Trump.