Stephen Colbert, much like most of the hosts of late night television shows, has become a non-stop lampoon machine of President Donald Trump. During an appearance in New York at a “State Of The Union” event, Colbert opened up on what he now sees as his mission — making the world laugh at a presidency that fueled by fear. Why? Because fear and laughter, the comedian says, can’t exist together, and laughter frees up the fear-frozen mind to think.
The host of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert took the stage with Frank Rich, executive producer of the award-winning, critically acclaimed Veep, and spoke about the importance of comedy in the face of a Donald Trump administration. And it came in the first few minutes of the realization that Trump would be inaugurated as president on January 20, not former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
He told the New York audience that he gave his crew 30 minutes to assimilate the election results and get back to work. “We don’t do this job because we had happy childhoods,” Colbert explained, according to the Daily Beast. “And we click back into our old survival mechanism, which is to make jokes about terrible things.”
“Well if you’ve ever wondered if your work has purpose, don’t worry anymore. It does. Because this is terrible, and your job is to make people feel better about it every day. We’re an emotional release valve.” These days, Colbert has a new metric for success, one that combines humor and emotional honesty: “The question that we ask ourselves now when we go to rewrite the monolog every night is, ‘Am I expressing how I feel?'”
The former Colbert Report host admitted that the Trump administration was a challenge in that there appears to be a never-ending parade of breaking stories out of the White House that prompts last-minute rewrites and/or additional material to a show. He noted that “boring is stability. We don’t know what’s going on with Donald Trump, that’s the scariest thing. It’s not that I disagree with him, it’s that I don’t know what the fuck he thinks. If you can put aside your concern for the country, as a performer it’s great.”
When asked by Rich if he were grateful for the comedy Trump has inspired, Colbert grew serious. “The emotional state is an honest one, which is ‘I wish this wasn’t happening, now let’s make a joke about the thing that’s on fire.’ Because that’s what it feels like. It feels like things are on fire…and I’m not a fireman. I’m a guy who dances next to the fire and says, ‘Let’s all admit this is on fire—do you think that should be on fire? Is that really something that we want to burn for fuel today?’…the hard thing is to dance close to the fire and not get burned by the fire.”
Rich quickly interjected, “What would constitute getting into the fire?”
Colbert replied, “I’d say, calling the President a c**k holster.”
That late night incident occurred when Colbert defended President Trump’s abrupt dismissal of CBS reporter John Dickerson during an interview in the Oval Office. Not only did Colbert loose a series of denigrating one-liners, he took the liberty of being crude with a couple jokes, including referring to Trump’s mouth being good only for Putin’s “c**k holster.” That joke not only prompted Trump supporters to ridicule the comedian but to also call on CBS to fire him. As was reported by The Inquisitr, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said Colbert’s Trump joke was indicative of Hollywood’s hatred of the president.
Instead of being fired over the crude line, though, Colbert refused to apologize for his remarks and the Late Show host’s ratings soared.
Colbert said that joking about the constant unfolding of seemingly madness-inspired events emanating from the Trump White House sometimes seemed like an exercise in futility. He told Rich he is comforted that Trump is getting “absolutely sack-punched every day by information—by firm investigative journalism.”
Colbert said he also believes that the past couple of weeks have brought a lot of evidence that is continuing to pile up against the president.
“You know, our politics have become these pure acts of vindictiveness… People who felt like they were being treated cruelly decided to respond with an act of cruelty themselves. Donald Trump is an act of cruelty. But there needs to be a reckoning.”
But until that reckoning can take place at the election polls, Stephen Colbert has not had a problem meting out his own brand of reckoning on the Late Show stage. And he will continue to do so, because he sees it as a “privilege… to do a show like this, especially right now.”
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