Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report last night spent the majority of his Comedy Central show addressing the #CancelColbert controversy that erupted on Twitter last week. The show opened with Colbert’s staff exiting their Comedy Central headquarters with boxes, the set of The Colbert Report shutting down its lights, and a Native American man’s lone tear protruding from his sad small pox-infested tear duct. If you don’t remember, Twitter went haywire on Thursday evening when the show’s then-official account tweeted a joke from Wednesday night’s episode. Colbert talked about Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder attempting to quell controversy over the team’s name by starting The Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation. “Inspired” by the charitable sensitivity, the late night satirist announced that to appease the Asian community, who have at one time expressed distaste for a charicature he performed back in 2005, he has created “The Ching Chong Ding Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” And, hence the #CancelColbert Twitter hashtag was born
Not a peep was heard from the Internet after the episode’s four replays and postings on Facebook. As soon as @ColbertReport tweeted only the punch line to the joke, however, with no set-up or video link for context, #CancelColbert became a top trending hashtag for 36 straight hours. The Twitter account was not run by Colbert nor any of his show’s staff, but rather by Comedy Central. The Peabody Award winner tweets from @StephenAtHome. Having already taped Thursday night’s episode when the controversy arose, last night was the first opportunity he had to address the issue on air.
The late night faux-pundit is not going anywhere, though. “The dark forces trying to silence my message of core conservative principles mixed with youth-friendly product placement have been thwarted!” he professed last night on The Colbert Report. Colbert clearly, and patiently, reminded us that he is a character and that characters do not always represent what the “real” Stephen believes personally. He also reminded viewers that Twitter is a means of communication that limits the possibility for a clear and complete message. To prevent future mishaps such as this, he invited Twitter founder Biz Stone on to the show to throw the “kill switch” on the @ColbertReport Twitter account, before sitting down to talk about Stone’s newest book, Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind. The Emmy Award-winning show will not be cancelled, obviously, but it appears that with the deactivation of @ColbertReport, Stephen Colbert may take a little more control over his show’s social media presence so that corporate employees cannot mess up his jokes again.
Check out the opening segment and his response to the #CancelColbert controversy below or click here to see the entire episode because, context.