After making distasteful remarks about President Trump, Stephen Colbert restrains himself so his FCC investigation does not get worse.
Colbert's scripted line appears to stray far outside the realms of acceptable network late night comedic content and TV pundits were quick to respond to Colbert's anti-gay, anti-Trump joke that went just too far for Network TV. It appears that Colbert might have been confused and he may have thought that he was at a Comedy Central Celebrity Roast, where one could expect this kind of roast humor. He tried to insult Trump, but ended up making a grossly homophobic, anti presidential comment. As well as now labeling himself as being anti-gay, Colbert may also be suffering from the left-coast, right-coast disease (LCRCD) that seems to infect elitist celebrities who are quick to forget that the rest of the country voted for Trump. In a single stroke, Colbert may also have just destroyed his previous character from The Colbert Report, that the left and right coasters thought was a hilarious send-up of a right wing pundit and mid-westerners thought was a real person. Colbert may have lost the center of his following, now opening himself up to vitriol, and even violence, from political extremists who view the President as off-limits for this level of vulgar attack humor. It is going to take more than a puff piece by CNN darling, Marisa Guthrie at The Hollywood Reporter, to get Colbert out of this jam.
Given the hour of the show, Colbert may be able to avoid repercussions, although the CBS broadcast channel is still viewed as public airwaves and it has a much higher bar for content than he was afforded on his previous cable channel, Comedy Central. Colbert delivered his non-apology on the show, that bore no remorse, it was as if his lawyers had written it for him some five minutes earlier. Still downplaying it, Colbert described his original monologue as a "few choice insults for the President".
Colberts Late Show is a taped show, so CBS executives were well aware of the content of the show that night and even though they had a full six hour window to edit the taped show before it was broadcast, they allowed it to air in its full form, underlining the network's apparent hands-off approach to Colberts new direction for the Late Show coupled with a somewhat petty vengeance for the failed John Dickerson Presidential interview. The problem CBS executives now face is that if it turns out that Trump was being wiretapped after all, then they may have backed themselves into a corner where someone at CBS will be fired. Our guess is that it will be Chris Licht, the new exec producer for The Late Show, who came from The CBS Morning Show , as he is the new guy on the block and clearly an easy patsy for this debacle.
CBS seems to have forgotten that The Late Show is a actually supposed to be a comedy show and any short-term ratings gain from angry politic-speak will not win the long game in ratings, when audiences start getting bored with Colberts political attack strategy and his lack of respect for the office of the President of the United States, regardless of which idiot it is.