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Stephen Colbert Speaks Out on FCC Controversy — With More Trump Bashing

Variety logo Variety 5/17/2017 Elizabeth Wagmeister
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Stephen Colbert found himself in hot water two weeks ago when a joke in one of his late-night monologues about president Donald Trump was called “homophobic” by some viewers.

The FCC is now investigating the insult-laden rant in which Colbert said, “The only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c–-k holster” — but despite the controversy, the “Late Show” host isn’t holding anything back.

“There’s really only one word to describe this president, and the FCC has asked me not to use it anymore,” Colbert quipped on Wednesday at the CBS upfront at Carnegie Hall in New York City, where he held forth during a lengthy routine that skewered Trump.

“I understand if the president doesn’t particularly like my show,” Colbert said. “But thankfully, like his votes on election day, he is in the minority because right now the ‘Late Show’ in No. 1 in late night.”

Colbert thanked the audience of advertisers for their support of his show, which has seen a ratings surge since Trump went into office. He then also thanked the president.

“I could not have done it without a visionary leader, a legend of television who made the ‘Late Show’ what it is. Thank you, Donald Trump,” Colbert said. “It is an honor every night to be on stage and talk about that day’s Trump scandal…Unfortunately, the hour I’m spending on stage often means I’m missing the breaking news of tomorrow’s Trump scandal. So by the time my monologue airs, I can sound as out-of-touch of what’s going on at the White House as Sean Spicer does.”

Colbert compared addressing the crowd at the upfront to a White House press conference. “I’m out here, I’m just going to say whatever my boss told me to, and when it’s over I will leave without answering any of your questions,” he joked.

Colbert then took advantage of his moment to address the FCC controversy.

“I don’t know if you heard, but the president recently had some harsh things to say about me,” Colbert said. “He said my language is not appropriate for the ‘Late Show’ because kids are watching. Who says only old people watch CBS? Clearly, we’re No. 1 in the coveted demo of 6-12 year-old politically engaged insomniacs.”

Colbert continued with his Trump-centric standup routine with this zinger: “I will say, the president and I do have some things in common — we’re both TV hosts who spend most of our time talking about Donald Trump. Of course, unlike Mr. Trump, my guests know they’re being taped.”

CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves showed his support for Colbert, praising his ratings performance. “Who would have predicted Stephen Colbert would be No.1 in late night and Bill O’Reilly would be doing a podcast in his underwear?” said Moonves.

Before introducing CBS’s new fall schedule — which is the real reason for upfronts — Colbert added one last Trump jab: “Today, you will learn about our exciting new fall lineup, unless the president has already leaked it to Russia.”

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