Stephen Colbert is speaking out after staff members of his ‘Late Show’ were arrested by US Capitol police last Thursday after conducting interviews on a day when January 6 committee hearings were taking place.
Colbert said on his Monday night show that Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, a popular puppet voiced by comedian Robert Smigel, traveled to Washington to speak with members of Congress. He said Triumph and his team “shot for two days in the congressional offices across from the Capitol building” after clearing security and being asked to speak with lawmakers.
Colbert said Capitol police “approached and detained” his team after interviews ended Thursday.
Capitol police and their staff were “all doing their jobs,” he said.
“Everyone was very professional, everyone was very calm,” Colbert said. “My collaborators were detained, treated and released. A very unpleasant experience for my staff, a lot of paperwork for the Capitol police, but a pretty simple story,” he said before noting the following night “a few people on TV started claiming that my team of puppets had “committed an insurrection” at the United States Capitol,” a reference to a comment made by Tucker Carlson on Fox News.
“I am shocked to have to explain the difference, but an insurrection involves disrupting the lawful actions of Congress and screaming for the blood of elected leaders, all to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. It was puppetry in the first degree,” he said. “It was jinks bred with goof intent.”
Colbert went on to explain why he thinks it’s easier to focus on his team than on the ongoing hearings.
“They want to talk about something other than the January 6 hearings on the real seditionist insurgency that resulted in the deaths of several people and the injury of more than 140 police officers, but equating the rioters storming our Capitol. to prevent the counting of electoral ballots and a stuffed dog biting a cigar is a shameful and preposterous insult to the memory of all who died and it obscenely trivializes the service and courage that the Capitol Police have demonstrated on this terrible day,” he said.
“But who knows? There may have been a vast conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States with a rubber Rottweiler,” he joked.
Renata Luczak, vice president of entertainment communications for CBS, said last week that the production team was at the Capitol on Wednesday and Thursday.
“Their interviews on Capitol Hill were cleared and pre-arranged by Congressional aides to the members interviewed,” Luczak said in an email. “After leaving the members’ office during their final interview of the day, the production crew stayed to film stand-ups and other final comedy elements in the hallways when detained by police. of the Capitol.”
Colbert also mocked examples of other so-called “puppet anarchies”, citing “The Great Muppet Caper”, “the Fraggle riots of the 1980s”, and King Friday’s rise to power in the land of Make-Believe.
He also criticized former President Donald Trump for his role in the riots, while saying Capitol police should be on “high alert” due to the Jan. 6 insurrection.
“As the hearings prove more clearly every day, the responsibility for this real insurrection lies entirely with the puppet of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin,” he said.