Stephen Colbert is a satirist, so if he’s any at all good at his trade – everything he says should be taken with a grain of salt – especially an apology to Donald Trump.
Stephen Colbert Stephen Colbert is not a fan of President Trump and has been known to throw some pretty tough punches at him in his nightly monologues and headline skits. In fact, his attacks on Trump are down right slanderous. But the the “Late Show” host just did something he hasn’t done before just recently: apologize.
Whether the apology was mostly tongue-in-cheek or at least partially sincere is hard to tell. While discussing the popular “Roseanne” revival, which returned this week after a 20-year hiatus, Colbert stopped to admire the sitcom’s stellar reviews. Over 18.2 million Americans tuned into the show and it has already been renewed for a second season. It was a massive blowout in the ratings and shocked Hollywood.
President Trump called Roseanne personally to congratulate her on the show and its ratings. “The reason why Trump crowed about the ratings is because on the show the character Roseanne agrees with Donald Trump, and a lot of people have called that refreshing,” Colbert says of the show’s political approach. “Well, I would like 18 million people to watch my show.” I’m sure he would. At that point, Colbert said he “sincerely” apologizes to Trump, admitting that there is something the pair can agree on: “CNN lies.” The comedian was referring to Trump’s repeated accusation that the cable TV network disseminates “fake news.”
Colbert continued, “Hear me out. Last night, we had my old friend Dana Carvey on the show, and he did a fantastic impression of the new national security adviser, John Bolton.” Dana Carvey is a very funny comedian who was taking a friendly jab at Bolton with different mustaches. Colbert said he noticed CNN posted an article about the short skit with the headline, “Look who’s playing John Bolton on SNL.” Colbert then pointed to a screenshot of the headline which was highlighted in bold letters. It apparently irritated Colbert.
CNN did issue a correction later and changed the headline on the website to, “Iconic ‘SNL’ star spoofs Trump staffing pick.” “A headline on our mobile homepage mistakenly identified this skit as taking place on ‘SNL.’ The skit took place on ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,’ the network explained in an online correction. “Comedian Dana Carvey shows off his impression of President Trump’s newly appointed national security adviser John Bolton.”
“Fake news,” he wryly commented on the network’s alleged mix-up. “I take everything back. I apologize. Donald Trump is a great President, come on.” It is more than likely this was just sarcasm, but a number of outlets took it at face value. Colbert then gave the network a friendly reminder that he is not, in fact, the host of “SNL.” “Come on, CNN — this isn’t SNL,” he continued, as the audience applauded and roared with laughter. “Unless you think S-N-L stands for Stephen’s Nightly Laughs.”
Colbert then proceeded to instruct CNN on how to tell whether they’re watching “SNL” or “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” “Here’s how you can tell that clip wasn’t on Saturday Night Live: It was a Wednesday, we tape during the daytime and we’re not live,” he said. “You got three things wrong in three letters. Still, it’s nice just to be recognized. So, thank you, MSNBC.” In other words, CNN had plenty of time to get it right and they were sloppy. It doesn’t sound as though Colbert accepted their apology and correction.
While Colbert insinuated he wanted to draw more conservative viewers (like those who watch “Roseanne”), he still continued to take jabs at the President. That will never change. He pointed to Trump’s speech on infrastructure in Ohio earlier in the show, replaying an old clip of Trump saying he was always the “best” at building — even better than being President. “Don’t sell yourself short, sir: You suck at both,” Colbert said. There is no love lost there and although Colbert may sound conciliatory, it is a convenience and meant to help ratings.
I wouldn’t look for Colbert to become a raving Trump fan anytime soon, but the view is surely different when someone reports something falsely about you and does not give you credit. Perhaps Stephen Colbert is beginning to realize that fact.