Stephen Colbert Slams ‘First-Degree Puppetry’ After Staffers Were Arrested by Capitol Police
Several individuals associated with The Late Show With Stephen Colbert were detained by Capitol Police on 16 June. The group in question was reportedly conducting interviews with members of the January 6 Committee.
Stephen Colbert offered a recap of the incident
that recently involved members of his production team, as he opened CBS’s The Late Show on Monday.
“How was your weekend? I certainly had an interesting one, because some of my staff had a memorable one,” quipped the American late night talk-show host.
On 16 June, a group of Colbert staffers, including Robert Smigel, who voices the Triumph the Insult Comic Dog puppet, had set out to interview members of Congress amid the public hearings held by the House select committee investigating the January 6 US Capitol breach.
“Democrati and Republican congresspeople agreed to talk to Triumph. He’s a bipartisan puppy. He’s so neutral, he’s neutered,” Colbert said on the show.
According to the host, his team “shot for two days in congressional offices across the street from the Capitol building”, and having managed to pass security clearance were, “invited into the offices of the congresspeople they were interviewing”.
On Thursday, 16 June, the group was doing some “last-minute puppetry” in a hallway of the Longworth House Office Building, Colbert said, when they were approached and detained by Capitol Police.
Previously, The Washington Post cited Capitol Police as saying the building had been closed to visitors at the time.
“On 16 June 2022, at approximately 8:30pm, US Capitol Police (USCP) received a call for a disturbance in the Longworth House Office Building. Responding officers observed seven individuals, unescorted and without Congressional ID, in a sixth-floor hallway. The building was closed to visitors, and these individuals were determined to be a part of a group that had been directed by the USCP to leave the building earlier in the day," the USCP said in a statement, adding the staffers were charged with Unlawful Entry.
Weighing in on the incident, Colbert said on Monday:
“The Capitol Police are much more cautious than they were, say, 18 months ago - and for a very good reason. If you don’t know what that reason is, I know what news network you watch.” After appearing to make a dig at Fox News, he added that everyone was “very professional” and “very calm”. “My staffers were detained, processed, and released. A very unpleasant experience for my staff, a lot of paperwork for the Capitol Police. But a fairly simple story,” he said.
At this point Stephen Colbert took aim at Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who on Friday said the group’s “unauthorized entry” was "exactly like what happened" during the events at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.
Colbert lashed out at what he stated were “a couple of the TV people” who claimed his “puppet squad had ‘committed insurrection’ at the US Capitol building.”
“First of all, what? Second of all, huh? Third of all, they weren’t in the Capitol building. Fourth of all - and I’m shocked I have to explain the difference - but an insurrection involves disrupting the lawful actions of Congress,” the TV host added.
In response to this, Colbert slammed what he described as “first-degree puppetry”.
The verbal spat between Colbert and Carlson over the incident comes as the House select committee investigating the 6 January 2021 unrest at the Capitol held its first public hearing on Thursday.
The primetime hearing was little more than a “deranged” spectacle
and “show trial”, Fox News pundit Carlson suggested. Donald Trump and his Republican allies have dubbed the probe a “witch hunt”.