As you may have heard, some of Stephen Colbert’s staff members had a memorable weekend while filming some jokey material on Capitol Hill. Capitol police briefly detained a few members of the Colbert team including Robert Smigel, voice of the infamous Triumph the Insult Comedy Dog puppet. All told, it seemed like a tempest in a teapot as far as Capitol Police encounters go, but various media voices seized on the moment as a sort of liberal parallel to the attempted insurrection on Jan. 6 — the very hearings of which Colbert’s team had been on Capitol Hill to cover.
On Monday, Colbert spent most of his Late Show opening monologue giving his take on what had happened and condemning attempts to compare it to the infamous 2021 riots.
“They want to talk about something other than the January 6 hearings on the actual seditionist insurrection that led to the deaths of multiple people, and the injury of over 140 police officers,” Colbert said. “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 trivializes the service and the courage the Capitol Police showed on that terrible day.”
Reports from Thursday evening say that after interviewing multiple members of Congress, Colbert’s staff was filming some extra material in a hallway that was closed to guests. “The Capitol Police are much more cautious than they were, say, 18 months ago — and for a very good reason,” Colbert said. “If you don’t know what that reason is, I know what news network you watch.”
Colbert said both the police and his staff were “very professional” and “very calm.”
“My staffers were detained, processed and released,” he continued. “A very unpleasant experience for my staff, a lot of paperwork for the Capitol Police. But a fairly simple story.”
Colbert didn’t name any names about how the story started to get inflated, but Tucker Carlson did say Colbert’s staff had “committed insurrection” on Fox News. Throughout the Jan. 6 hearings, Carlson and some of his ilk have downplayed the severity of the riots when they have bothered to cover it at all.