Stephen Colbert

'Hijinks with intent to goof': Stephen Colbert addresses his staff's detention by Capitol Police

"You have to invite Triumph in. He works on Dracula rules."
By Amanda Yeo  on 
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
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Late Show host Stephen Colbert has addressed the Capitol Police's detention of his staff last week, explaining how a normal and innocuous interaction has been wildly mischaracterised by some commentators as "[committing] insurrection."

"First of all: what?" quipped an incredulous Colbert. "Second of all: huh? Third of all: They weren't in the Capitol Building!"

Colbert explained that Late Show staff took puppet Triumph the Insult Comic Dog to interview both Republican and Democrat members of Congress about the January 6 hearings — interviews which had already been agreed to and arranged. Having been invited in and being cleared by security, the crew filmed said interviews over two days in the congressional offices across the street from the Capitol Building. Then, when filming pickups in the hallways on Thursday night, they were reportedly approached, detained, processed, and released by Capitol Police.

"The Capitol Police are much more cautious than they were, say, 18 months ago, and for a very good reason," said Colbert. "If you don't know what that reason is, I know what news network you watch. The Capitol police were just doing their job. My staff was just doing their job. Everyone was very professional. Everyone was very calm."

Of course, that didn't stop some commentators from claiming the staff of long-running CBS show The Late Show with Stephen Colbert were trying to do an insurrection.

"I am shocked I have to explain the difference, but an insurrection involves disrupting the lawful actions of Congress and howling for the blood of elected leaders all to prevent the peaceful transfer of power," Colbert said. "This was first degree puppetry. This was hijinks with intent to goof. Misappropriation of an old Conan bit."

Colbert didn't comment on reports that seven staffers were reportedly charged with unlawful entry. However, it isn't unlikely this incident will turn out to simply be a very unpleasant misunderstanding.

"Now it's predictable why these TV talkers are talking like this on the TV," said the Late Show host. "They want to talk about something other than the January 6 hearings on the actual seditious insurrection that led to the deaths of multiple people, and the injury of over 140 police officers. But drawing any equivalence between rioters storming our Capitol to prevent the counting of electoral ballots and a cigar-chomping toy dog is a shameful and grotesque insult to the memory of everyone who died. And it obscenely trivialises the service and the courage the Capitol Police showed on that terrible day.

"But who knows? Maybe there was a vast conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States with a rubber Rottweiler."

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