Yesterday I went into New York City to see The Colbert Report, my second time attending a live taping of the show (I’ve also seen The Daily Show twice). While it wasn’t as bitterly cold as it was when I went last January, it still wasn’t particularly pleasant to wait outside in line for almost an hour and a half. But the cold and the lines and the crowded waiting room are totally worth it once you get inside the studio.
The highlight of going to a taping is what comes before the actual show—after a stand-up comedian warms the crowd up, Stephen Colbert comes out to do an (out of character!) Q&A session. A lot of the questions are stupid, as they were last night (someone asked if there would ever be a Strangers with Candy film, to which Colbert joked “We clearly have a super fan up front here,” and someone else went on a long ramble about his mother once appearing in a segment on The Daily Show), but when they’re good, they’re great.
When one fan asked Colbert about which Lord of the Rings character he would want to be, he replied “Faramir is boss” and then went off on a spiel about how great Faramir is (and how he felt that the second movie didn’t do right by him—made all the more entertaining by the fact that he directed his ire to Sebastian, one of Peter Jackson’s personal assistants, who was in the audience of the show). Colbert’s love of The Lord of the Rings is well known, but it is nothing short of adorable to hear him say, in a breathy, excited voice, “I saw the trailer, it was awesome.” He later talked about having Elijah Wood on the show and being able to talk to him about what he saw when he visited The Hobbit set (“We cradled each other and wept”) and then told Sebastian that when his family was counting its blessings that Christmas, getting to visit the set was the top of their list.
It was just another moment that showed how, despite his overblown, ridiculous character, Colbert is a really genuine and enthusiastic guy. And a lot of fun too: he danced at his desk between segments, sang a bit of his “Another Christmas Song,” and laughed constantly, which brings me to the actual taping of the episode.
One of the things that separates Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report and Jon Stewart on The Daily Show is that, of course, Colbert is playing a character. What that means is that if Colbert starts cracking up, they have to film the segment again. That happened frequently last night during a segment about Pat Robertson. After filming and refilming several pieces of the bit, he finally gave up and decided to start over. “Nobody will know we made a mistake as long as none of you blog,” Colbert joked to the audience. We didn’t mind; although Colbert asked us to pretend that we found the jokes funny a second time, there was no fakeness in our laughter. Colbert’s energy is infectious, and made the whole episode an awesome, hilarious time.
- When asked who he wants to win in 2012, he answered, “America.”
- He, of course, said that Jon Stewart is a great guy that he’s happy to know and work with, although he also joked that he denies ever having been on The Daily Show.
- He said that his southern accent only comes out when he’s really mad or really drunk. When he’s drunk, his friends will be like, “What did you just say?” but when he deliberately tries to speak with an accent he just sounds like he’s imitating a character from John Jakes’ North and South.
- The other date I was considering when I got tickets for the show was Wednesday, which would’ve been funny because guest John Heilemann was the same guest I saw last time I went. Last night, it was AOL founder Steve Case.
- This is a really amazing profile of Colbert in New York Magazine. Must read.