“Every day seems like we find out about another high-profile sexual harasser,” Stephen Colbert said at the top of Thursday’s Late Show. “And today is no exception.”
“Brace yourself,” he warned his Ed Sullivan Theater audience. “Because it’s Sen. Al Franken. He’s been accused of kissing and groping a woman without her consent.”
The theater crowd gasped, Franken being a Friend of Late Show.
“Come on, Franken!” Colbert ranted. “I guess there are no good people left. So, let’s just get it over with. Tell us whatever ever you did, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, Tom Hanks, Malala.”
As a fellow comedian, Colbert acknowledged he has long admired Franken.
“But, I’ve got to say, this does not bode well for Louis C.K.’s Senate hopes.”
“Here are the details,” Colbert said, telling viewers, “strap in.”
He then detailed how, while touring with the USO in 2006, Franken wrote a sketch in which he got to kiss the show co-host, now conservative radio host, Leanne Tweeden. She has claimed that, during rehearsal, he came at her, put his hand on the back of her head, mashed his lips against hers, and “aggressively stuck his tongue” in her mouth.
“For those of you not in show biz, actors call that technique sexual harassment,” Colbert said.
But Tweeden’s claims did not stop there. On the way home from the tour, she fell asleep on the plane and Franken decided to take a picture, Colbert added, as the photo was shown on screen.
“Oh, boy, that is admissible evidence,” Colbert said, adding, “So, this is bad.”
The late-night host noted Franken has responded, then read from the morning’s statement issued by Franken – rather than the later, far more extensive statement – in which he said he did not remember the rehearsal the same way she did, but sends his sincerest apology, adding that the photo “clearly intended to be funny, but it wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”
Colbert wasn’t buying it anymore than Tweeden had, scolding Franken. “No, your movie Stuart Saves His Family was intended to be funny, but wasn’t. That photo was intended to embarrass her. That’s why he took it while she was asleep. Nobody goes up to a buddy when they’re awake and says, ‘Hey, can I draw a penis on your head?’”