UPDATED with video, more details: After #FireColbert trended on social media for the better part of Tuesday, and continued attacks from various media outlets and politicians the next day, Stephen Colbert opened Wednesday’s Late Show acknowledging that some of the language in Monday’s monologue was maybe rougher than ideal. Plus, he said, “For the record, life is short, and anyone who expresses their love for another person, in their own way, is to me, an American hero.”
For two days now, the CBS late-night host had been taking incoming, from both the left and the right, over Monday’s fiery monologue. It got plastered by some as inappropriately vulgar, by others as homophobic. The monologue had been Colbert’s on-air response to Trump having insulted CBS newsman John Dickerson during an interview broadcast that morning .
Among the president’s on-air remarks, he accused the Face the Nation host of disseminating fake news, calling the program Deface the Nation.
“Let me introduce you to something we call The Tiffany Way,” Colbert told Trump, in absentia, that night. “When you insult one member of the CBS family you insult us all.”
Colbert then returned the favor:
“Mr. Trump, I love your presidency. I call it Disgrace the Nation.”
“Sir, you attract more skinheads than free Rogaine.”
“You have more people marching against you than cancer.”
“You talk like a sign-language gorilla that got hit in the head. In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c*ck holster.”
Two days later, Colbert opened the show telling viewers, “if you saw my monologue on Monday, you know that I was a little upset at Donald Trump for insulting a friend of mine. So at the end of that monologue I had a few choice insults for the president in return.
“I don’t regret that,” Colbert grinned. His studio audience erupted in wild applause and cheers.
“He, I believe, can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it’s a fair fight.
“So while I would do it again, I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be. Now, I’m not going to repeat the phrase. I just want to say, for the record: life is short, and anyone who expresses their love for another person, in their own way, is, to me, an American hero. And I think we can all agree on that. I hope even the president and I can agree on that. Nothing else – but, that.”
After that, Colbert’s Wednesday guests helped him through the rest of the show.
“So you weren’t fired?” Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons joked.
“No, I wasn’t. Unless you know something I don’t,” the late-night host responded, saying he’d cut his phone cords.
“Are you feeling homophobic?” Parsons asked, which seemed to stop Colbert for a sec.
“No, actually, I’m feeling homophilic,” he responded.
“I thought that was a very strange tag to put on the whole monologue. I thought, ‘That’s not homophobic!’ You taught me new terms,” Parsons marveled. “As a gay man, I didn’t know certain things… it was titillating, not homophobic.”
“You’re welcome. Big Bang Theory, 10 years,” Colbert moved on.
The Goldberg’s star Jeff Garlin, meanwhile, borrowed someone’s camera, so as to take a photo of Colbert behind his desk before he got the hook.