Last Thursday, Robert Smigel (and his puppet alter-ego Triumph) as well as staff members from The Late Show were arrested as they were covering the January 6th hearings. Despite getting clearances to be in the building and conducting interviews, they were detained while filming some comedy hits in the hallway afterwards.
Well, Colbert took to the show last night and addressed what he called the charges against “first degree puppetry.”
“After they finished their interviews, they were doing some last-minute puppetry and jokey make-em-ups in a hallway, when Triumph and my folks were approached and detained by the Capitol police — which actually isn’t that surprising,” Colbert stated in his monologue. “The Capitol police are much more cautious than they were, say, 18 months ago, and for a very good reason. If you don’t know what that reason is, I know what news network you watch.”
He continued, “The Capitol police were just doing their job, my staff was just doing their job, everyone was very professional, everyone was very calm. My staffers were detained, processed and released. A very unpleasant experience for my staff.”
Naturally there were some news organizations and others on the internet that tried to draw comparison between his staff and the rioters from January 6th. Colbert quickly dismissed those claims.
“I’m shocked I have to explain the difference, but an insurrection involves interrupting the lawful action of Congress and howling for the blood of elected leaders, all to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. This was first-degree puppetry.”
He added, “drawing any equivalency between a rioter storming the Capitol to prevent the counting of electoral ballots and a cigar chomping toy dog is a shameful and grotesque insult to the memory of everyone who died and obscenely trivializes the service and the courage the Capitol police showed on that terrible day. But who knows? Maybe there was a vast conspiracy to overthrow the government of the U.S. with a rubber rottweiler.”