On Monday night May 2, 2017's Late Show, Stephen Colbert’s monologue was a tirade of insults directed as President Trump. He set up the monologue by showing excerpts from an interview from John Dickerson on Face the Nation - another show on the CBS television network.
Trump was evasive in the Dickerson interview and when the questions pushed Trump’s buttons, he abruptly cut off the interview mid-sentence, sat down at his desk, and dismissed Dickerson like he was hired help. Stephen Colbert used these excerpts from the interview as justification for attacking President Trump, saying that if you insult one of the CBS staff, you insult everyone at CBS. Then Colbert said that John Dickerson was too gracious to exchange insults with the President and therefore exercised restraint; however, Colbert said that he doesn’t have the same constraints.
Since that time, Refinery 29 reports fans on both sides of the political spectrum have criticized one particular joke - one that used a vulgar sexual phrase to insinuate a relationship between Vladimir Putin and the President. Critics started tweeting #firecolbert and complaining to CBS - some felt the joke was homophobic, others didn't like seeing Colbert criticize the President.
Check out the clip for yourself below:
It's not the first time Colbert has been in trouble with the LGBT community. In 2011, Think Progress reported that Colbert apologized for making a joke after a major hurricane hit the east coast, where he said (in character) his preacher told him all natural disasters were caused by gays and “how gay did the gays gay it this time?”
CNN reports that when Colbert was asked if he regretted what he said on Monday's show, the answer was "no." Colbert said, “I don't regret that. He, I believe, can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it's a fair fight.” Meanwhile, Fox chimed in with criticism of Colbert saying the joke was offensive and “dumb.”
Did Colbert overstep? Occasionally, jokes are supposed to be offensive and that is what makes them insulting to some and hilarious to others. The late great comedian Lenny Bruce and Don Rickles were masters of insult comedy - setting the precedent for Colbert's now signature style. After all, isn’t President Trump’s style to ignore political correctness? Does that mean the President can dish it out, but comedians can't dish it back?
To comedians like Stephen Colbert, the Trump presidency is comedy gold. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, Trump’s comments, interviews, and tweets provide plenty of fodder for late night television shows.