Deft Wonk

Stephen Colbert at his desk on set

John Oliver wasn’t the sole member of Comedy Central’s late-night team giving
us process junkies a peek behind the curtain in the past couple of weeks. Stephen Colbert was interviewed by Paul Mercurio, who does warm-up for The Colbert Report, over nearly an hour on a variety of topics — but mostly about the Daft Punk fiasco. You can listen to the podcast free.

Daft Punk, scheduled to be on Colbert’s show earlier this month, bowed out and/or
was yanked over misunderstandings and Viacom internal politics due to the mysterious French faux-robots’ upcoming special appearance at last weekend’s MTV Video Music Awards telecast.

Colbert devoted the episode on which they would have appeared to an only slightly fictional account of what happened along with a truly bizarre all-star video set to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” (featuring Bryan Cranston, Jeff Bridges, the Rockettes, Stephen’s animated alter ego Tek Jansen, Henry f---ing Kissinger...) and a performance by Robin Thicke doing his unfortunate song of the summer “Blurred Lines”. Some have charged that the whole thing must have been a publicity stunt within the Viacom family, which is why Colbert had time to put together the outrageous clip. Per the interview, which launches into the topic at 24:10 and stays there until the sign-off at 51:15, it was becoming clear that the duo might not perform (to preserve their VMAs exclusivity) and might not even talk (to preserve their own cultivated anonymity), but for Colbert that was simply a challenge. At no point until the bitter end did he think they wouldn’t be in the studio at all.

Earlier in the podcast — in which Colbert speaks as his actual self rather than his puffed-up, blissfully naive Colbert Report character — he and Mercurio speak about their time together on The Dana Carvey Show, Stephen’s Catholic faith, the tragedy that shaped his life, Strangers with Candy, and his breakout from The Daily Show.

I was alerted to this insightful piece of audio by Mark Evanier’s News from ME, a blog mentioned here frequently and whose proprietor was chosen as one of Time’s 25 Best Bloggers this year.

Related: Mind the Bollocks Week Links Not Necessarily Not the News

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