Stephen Colbert’s constant drumbeat of lefty comedy has another goal according to the Late Night host. The same guy who has repeatedly compared Donald Trump to the Nazis appeared on Friday’s CBS This Morning and lectured, “But as my mom used to say, ‘You can't laugh and be afraid at the same time.’”
He pontificated, “So, if you can laugh, then you can think. And we've got to think our way out of this because we felt our way into this problem with fear and anger.” With a really high view of himself, Colbert added of his show: “But if we can laugh... I think we can think our way into being an American community again.”
It should be pointed out that, in the middle of all the self-aggrandizing, lofty rhetoric, Colbert was on This Morning to tout his new Trump-bashing cartoon for Showtime. Even liberal co-host Gayle King wasn’t buying the new tone. Referencing Our Cartoon President, she noted, “Half the country is going to think it’s great. Another half is going to be very angry and upset.”
Following up on how anti-Trump the cartoon is, she pressed, “I’m wondering are you concerned about how this is going to open the door against you by so many different people?”
A partial transcript of the February 9 segment is below. Click "expand" to read more.
CBS This Morning
GAYLE KING: Welcome back to CBS This Morning. Stephen Colbert puts his satirical spin on headlines everyday, every night as the host of the Late Show. You know that. One of his main targets for humor is President Trump and his administration. Now Colbert is taking viewers inside an animated administration for a satirical look at the White House in a new series. It’s called Our Cartoon President.
JOHN DICKERSON: So, every night you get to talk about the President, what’s happening in the news and all that. So why do a cartoon series?
STEPHEN COLBERT: Well, because there's still more to say. There's all the things that happen when the camera isn't pointed at him. There's everything we hear about happening at the White House, but we never get to see. And we're so honored here as the team at Our Cartoon President that they allowed in our cartoon cameras. It’s the first cartoon documentary of the White House ever. It’s groundbreaking.
KING: How did the idea come for you?
KING: Half the country is going to think it’s great. Another half is going to be very angry and upset.
COLBERT: I don’t know if that’s true. Some may think we're being too nice to the president, some may say we're being too hard on the president. But I think there is A big chunk of the middle of the country that is going to enjoy seeing the curtain pulled back. It's not jokes what he said or did today because I pick that bush every day. There's not a berry left on that bush by the time I’m done with my monologue every day. This is relationship comedy.
KING: I’m wondering are you concerned about how this is going to open the door against you by so many different people?
KING: It’s so pointed. It’s so —
COLBERT: You think this cartoon is going to say something I haven’t said on my show?
What is it I have not said yet?
KING: Oh, there’s a couple of things.
COLBERT: Tell that to the FCC.
DICKERSON: You had worked in cartoons before.
COLBERT: The Ambiguously Gay Duo with Robert Smigel of Saturday Night Live. I’m Ace of The Ambiguously Gay Duo. “Hold onto my belt buckle, friend of friends!”
NORAH O’DONNELL: The crew liked that.
COLBERT: They remember. They had the comic books.
DICKERSON: And also cartoons were a big part of it — presidents have been lampooned by cartoonists too.
COLBERT: I think of myself as a modern Thomas Nast. Exactly. Tammany Tiger!
KING: Exactly. Stephen, you said something really interesting, all kidding aside, with Oprah recently. You two did an interview. I was struck by how you did your show. You said, “Listen, by the time viewers come, they know what happened during the day and I just put it in perspective and want to give them something to laugh at because when you laugh, you can think.”
COLBERT: That’s right.
KING: Because you said when you are afraid, you can't think. I thought you put it in a poignant way you put it about what you do.
COLBERT: I'm kind of stealing that from frank Herbert. In Dune, one of the lessons of Dune is, and John I’m sure knows, he’s a science fiction fan, is that fear is the mind-killer. But as my mom used to say, “You can't laugh and be afraid at the same time.” So, if you can laugh, then you can think. And we've got to think our way out of this because we felt our way into this problem with fear and anger. But if we can laugh, we can think our way into — I think we can think our way into being an American community again, which is what laughter allows us to do. That’s what we want to do every night on the show. It's a group of people who had this experience watching or paying attention to the news that day and then we come together and we laugh about it and that gives you a sense that you're not crazy, that other people might be seeing the world the same way you do.