Stephen Colbert addressed the arrests of members of his production crew at the US Capitol late last week during the opening monologue of Monday’s episode of the Late Show.
Seven members of the production crew were charged with unlawful entry after taping a sketch involving Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Among those arrested was Triumph creator and voice actor Robert Smigel.
“Triumph offered to go down to D.C. to interview some Congress people to highlight some January 6 hearings,” Colbert said of the sketch. “I said, ‘Sure, if you can get anyone to agree to talk to you. Because, and please don’t take this as an insult, you’re a puppet.”
“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 continued. “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.”
Colbert proceeded to take issue with FOX News — and, more specifically, its primetime anchor Tucker Carlson — for equating his crew members’ arrests to the January 6th insurrection. “I’m shocked I have to explain the difference, but an insurrection involves disrupting the lawful actions of Congress and howling for the blood of elected leaders — all to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. This was first degree puppetry, this was hijinks with the intent to goof, misappropriation of an old Conan bit.”
“Drawing any equivalence between rioters storming our 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,” Colbert added.
“In this case, our puppet was just a puppet doing puppet stuff. And sad to say, so much has changed in Washington that the Capitol police do have to stay at high alert at all times, because of the attack on January 6th,” Colbert noted, before closing his remarks by taking a swipe at another puppet: “And as the hearings prove more clearly everyday, the blame for that actual insurrection all lies with Putin’s puppet.”
In their initial statement addressing last week’s arrests, the US Capitol Police said that at the time “the building was closed to visitors, and these individuals were determined to be a part of a group that had been directed by the USCP to leave the building earlier in the day.”
“This is an active criminal investigation, and may result in additional criminal charges after consultation with the U.S. Attorney,” the USCP added.