Stephen Colbert addressed what he joked was an example of ‘first-degree puppetry’ on Monday Last show.
As noted earlier, several members of a Last show the production crew was arrested by United States Capitol police on Friday. During a monologue on Monday night’s show, Colbert addressed the non-incident itself, as well as the resulting (and in many cases, inaccurate) attention it received.
“I certainly had an interesting experience [weekend] because some of my collaborators had a memorable one,” Colbert said after asking his audience how their respective weekends were going. ” Here is what happened. Last week I heard about my former colleague Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Triumph offered to travel to DC and interview members of Congress to highlight the January 6 hearings. I said, ‘Sure, if you can get someone to agree to talk to you because – and please don’t take that as an insult – you’re a puppet.’ Well, he did.
As Colbert explained, Triumph — voiced by Robert Smigel — is a “bipartisan pup” because Republicans and Democrats agreed to talk to him during a two-day shoot. According to the host, Triumph and the team filmed for two days in the congressional offices across from the Capitol building, which meant they had passed security clearance.
While dealing with “last minute puppets and prank makeup” in a hallway Thursday night, Triumph and the team were “approached and detained” by Capitol Police. From Colbert’s point of view, everyone involved was simply doing their job, including the officers involved and the Last show crew.
“My collaborators have been detained, treated and released,” he said on Monday. “A very unpleasant experience for my staff, a lot of paperwork for the Capitol police. But a pretty simple story until the next night when a few people on TV started claiming that my puppet team had, in quotes, “committed an insurrection at the United States Capitol.”
This framing, Colbert succinctly explained, is wrong on several fronts. First, the individuals in question were not in the Capitol building. Moreover, what happened is indeed far from an “insurrection”, as the far right was pushing it this weekend.
“An insurrection involves disrupting the lawful actions of Congress and calling for the blood of elected leaders, all to prevent the peaceful transfer of power,” Colbert emphasized. “It was puppetry in the first degree, it was hijinks with goof intent, the hijacking of an old Conan tune.”
And while Colbert agreed it’s “predictable” that some reporting on the arrests will go in that direction, he still considers it a “shameful” lessening of what happened on January 6 of the year last.
“To equate rioters storming our Capitol to prevent the counting of ballots and a stuffed dog biting a cigar is a shameful and grotesque insult to the memory of all those who died,” Colbert said.