While Trump recently dismissed current Late Night hosts, tweeting that they lacked talent, Stephen Colbert says the President has actually borrowed some of his lines from The Colbert Report.
“He could have stolen a lot of my lines,” Colbert said during CBS’ An Evening with Stephen Colbert at PaleyFest in Los Angeles on Saturday. “He stole a thing the other day. We actually ran a clip of me saying it on the old show.”
“He (Trump) said, ‘I don’t use my brain, I use my gut,’ and that’s literally the opening of The Colbert Report,” Colbert said. “I said, ‘Did you know there are more nerve endings in your gut than in your brain?’ He just said that. He is a delicious idiot.”
Colbert also recalled when he first wanted to call the President an idiot on his current program, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Showrunner Chris Licht had asked him, “Are you sure you want to call the President of the United States an idiot?” Colbert’s response? “I’m pretty sure.”
The Colbert Report (2005-2014) featured him playing a caricature of himself, which he said would no longer work comedically, since parodying “the American neutral” as a “white, straight, male, Christian” was “an actual political position now”.
Receiving a standing ovation as he arrived on the PaleyFest stage, Colbert was thanked by moderator Pete Holmes (HBO’s Crashing) for supporting those who find today’s politics both troubling and indigestible.
Then, when Holmes asked Colbert his thoughts on recent comments made by Jay Leno, the audience seemed a little surprised by his response.
During an interview with Al Roker on The Tonight Show earlier this week, Leno had said, “…everything now is, if people don’t like your politics, they — everyone has to know your politics.” He added, “when people see you as one-sided, it just makes it tough.” Trump then tweeted his support of Leno, saying he found late night “very boring” and “totally one-sided.”
Addressing Leno’s comments at PaleyFest, Colbert said, “I agree with what he said. He said it was a different time….now there’s one subject, so people see your politics more when you do it now, but I’m fine with that. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying this person is damaging the nation.”
Colbert also defended his position, saying he doesn’t see himself as a political player. “I don’t think I should be taken seriously,” he said, “but I feel seriously about what’s going on in the country….I’m there to make everybody feel better and know they’re not alone in that.”
There were also some good-natured jokes at the expense of CBS, despite network president Kelly Kahl’s presence in the audience.
“You can’t even show a pencil drawing of two frogs having sex” Colbert said of the network, to loud laughter from the PaleyFest crowd. “We had a non-political story of these two frogs, and over my shoulder we had a pencil drawing from a scientific journal….and we got a notice from the network saying, ‘You can’t show that.'”
But Colbert cleverly got his revenge. The very next day, he said they decided to do a “completely made-up” story involving tandem skydiving frogs. “We used the exact same picture. They did not blur it.” He also recalled being told he couldn’t even say “s**t happens” in Latin.
Joking aside however, Colbert made it clear he embraced and even enjoyed those network rules. “I love constraints,” he said, “‘Do anything’ is a terrible note.”