Stephen Colbert: Trump stole my gig
February 10, 2017
BOB SCHIEFFER: I’m Bob Schieffer.
H. ANDREW SCHWARTZ: And I’m Andrew Schwartz.
MR. SCHIEFFER: And these are conversations about the news. We are in the midst of a communications revolution. We have access to more information than any people in history. But are we more informed, or just overwhelmed by so much information we can’t process it?
MR. SCHWARTZ: These conversations are a year-long collaboration of the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at Texas Christian University and the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
BOB SCHIEFFER: With us today is Stephen Colbert. If you don’t know who Stephen Colbert is, I doubt you are listening to this podcast. But to make it all official, he joined CBS as host of “The Late Show” in September of 2015. Started out thinking about an acting career, but got interested in improv comedy while a student at Northwestern. Got on with Second City in Chicago, where he was a backup to Steve Carell. He went from there to “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” That led to “The Colbert Report” and then “The Late Show” and now, I’m sure he feels the highlight of his career, our podcast.
We’ve had many pleasant crossings over the years. Stephen, welcome. We really appreciate you doing this.
STEPHEN COLBERT: Thank you, Bob. I think I had you on the old show, right? You came on “The Colbert Report” once, right?
MR. SCHIEFFER: Yeah, yeah, we did. And I remember it very well.
MR. COLBERT: Was I mean to you?
MR. SCHIEFFER: We actually got a couple of laughs.
MR. COLBERT: (Laughs.) I think you got more laughs than I did in that interview. I think that’s why I never – didn’t have you back. (Laughter.)
MR. SCHIEFFER: I always try to be careful of that and remember who’s the straight man on those shows.
Stephen, I was thinking about this. You’ve been peddling fake news and alternative facts for years. Do you feel this new administration is infringing on your territory?
MR. COLBERT: I do. Well, there are two – there are – there are two sides to that question for me. One is when I hear people talk about fake news, it actually upsets me because Jon Stewart and I worked very hard to create shows that were transparently trucking in manipulation of journalistic tenets or video tricks or juxtapositional editing for comedic purposes, and people called us fake news, meaning we were parroting a news style. I used to always tell everybody that I’m glad you watch the show, but I hope you don’t get our news from us, because if you get our news from us – or from me, at least – you’re missing half the joke because half of the joke is us making fun of the way the news is giving it to you, not just jokes on what’s happening. And so, while we were called fake news, I think real fake news is being transparent that you’re being fake.
What people are describing as fake news now is just plain lying, you know. You create a complete fraudulent story without ever telling your audience that it is a fraudulent story. There is nothing artful or beneficial about that, it’s just lying. It’s just – it’s just one of the vices. And so I don’t – it really upsets me when people say, oh, you were fake news and this is fake news. There’s no relationship between the two of them. And I’m not – I’m not mad at you; I know you’re just using – you’re using that sort of term of art. But it really upsets me when I hear people saying this is fake news and you used to do fake news.
MR. SCHIEFFER: (Laughs.) Kind of an update here.
MR. COLBERT: This is beyond fake news. Like, the Trump administration really has been stealing my thing. I mean, I actually said this on the show just last night, that I invented the over-the-top television personality who desperately wants to be loved, is willing to accept emotion over fact and has a pet eagle. And I – Donald Trump put Iran “on notice” this week. (Laughter.) I used to have an “on notice” board where I would put things on notice, like the black hole at the center of the universe or Iran or anybody who upset me. He really is sort of a collection of emotions in search of a purpose, and that’s what my whole character was. And I do really feel like he’s stolen my gig a little bit. I ran for president, too, and I knew I was a joke.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Well, you know – (chuckles) – I don’t want to overstate this, but we do know he watches a lot of television. You think maybe this is where he got these ideas? Maybe this had some sort of a subliminal impact on his personality – he saw you and thought, I can do that better.
MR. COLBERT: Well, I was on – I was on the air for a little over eight years, and it was like, OK, that’s two terms, I’ll try that. I mean, it might have been – I might have been an inspiration, and if so I apologize.
MR. SCHIEFFER: (Laughs.) Let’s talk about – I mean, we are all in a new universe here. The whole communications business, the journalism business has been turned upside down. What do you make of this? We had a campaign unlike anything – and I’ve been doing this for a long, long time, as you know. We’ve never had a campaign like this. What do you make of it?
MR. COLBERT: Well, the first thing that occurs to me – and again, I’m not – I’m not an actual journalist – but the speed at which the story would change was one of the most startling aspects of it, to me. It used to be you wanted to do a show every night so you wouldn’t leave any of the berries on the bush, if you know what I mean. You could sort of talk about everything that happened today, and then tomorrow you’d have a fresh batch of berries to talk about. But then the pace of the campaign made it you – well, you wanted a morning batch of scripts and an afternoon batch of scripts to see what – how the story had changed in the last few hours. By the end of this presidential campaign and right now, the pace has somehow accelerated even more, I suppose through the power of executive orders. We have to have somebody in our writers’ room looking at the news every minute before the show goes up to make sure that the big story hasn’t completely changed moments before I go to record my show. And because I’m not really news, I’ve never had to work at this pace. I can’t imagine what the pace is for actual news people, who have to break the story or have to explain the story in some sort of in depth, because we’ve gone from, like, go kart to NASCAR in how fast the big story is changing because the president – who is in his person, no matter who is in the Oval Office, THE story of the day – is so mercurial and is so directly expressing what the policy is of the United States government through tweeting that it’s – what is it?
Like, it’s like the super-positioning of a quantum particle; you don’t know where the news is at any given moment. There’s just such an enormous amount of uncertainty about what the story is or what the story means. There’s so much chaos surrounding the news cycle, which I think is probably only to the benefit of the person who is generating the chaos, which is the president and his team, so that they can be the ultimate arbiters of the truth because only they will know what is real or not. They will only know whether the chaos is planned or whether it is an art form being used to destabilize our view of reality, so they can establish their own reality with their own will toward power.
MR. SCHIEFFER: You know, it’s interesting to hear you talking about how you have to have somebody right up until the last minute to make sure you don’t get surprised by a story before you record.
MR. COLBERT: Or left behind. Or, like, left in the dust of the news cycle. Not even like surprised. Like, it’s that we might have a particular news story like absolutely comedically dead to rights – like we’ve got to deconstruct it and reconstruct it and all the jokes. And this has happened to us many times since the president has taken the oath of office, is that we’ll get to the moment to do the show and I’ll look at it and go, we can’t do this now – we can’t do this just because of what happened in the last few hours, and everything has to be thrown away. Which I know in actual journalism is probably very common, but for what I do it’s new. You can usually ride the momentum of a particular news cycle enough to get you to the next crop the next day. It’s just happening too fast now.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Well, here’s what The New York Times is doing. We had Elisabeth Bumiller, the Washington Bureau chief for the Times, on the podcast the other day. And being a morning newspaper – and I used to work at one – generally you kind of start work around noon. At the Times Washington Bureau they’d start rolling in around 10:00 in the morning, Elisabeth says. Now she is going to have a New York Times report on tweet patrol with an editor starting at 6:00 in the morning. And they’re going to have six White House correspondents now; they used to have four. In the old days they had two. And they’ll have one correspondent covering just the White House who will be around until midnight every day. So what you’re experiencing they’re experiencing, and so are all the other journalistic stops, at least here in Washington.
Let me ask you this: When did politicians start showing up on shows like yours? I mean, the Colbert show, “The Late Show,” was obligatory for anybody that wanted to be taken seriously in politics, as were the other late-night shows. I can remember a long time ago when Richard Nixon showed up on “Laugh-In” and said “sock it to me” – (laughter) – and it was – it was a huge deal.
MR. COLBERT: Sure.
MR. SCHIEFFER: But he’s one of the few that I can remember stopping by a comedy show in those days.
MR. COLBERT: Yeah. I mean, though sometimes politicians would stop by if the show was willing to put aside its comedic intent. I mean, Bobby Kennedy came by Jack Paar after the assassination of his brother. That’s one time I can remember. Those are worth going back to watch.
The shows, I suppose at their best, are – should be about what people are talking about that day. And, because of the 24-hour news cycle, I think that our national attention is consumed more and more about what’s happening in politics, so it’s a natural addition or a natural – we elide the difference between politics and entertainment now because so much of television is news as entertainment. And so that naturally liaisons that crop of guests into what used to be a purely entertainment show because if the national conversation is always about politics, then politicians are the entertainment.
MR. SCHIEFFER: You had some wonderful interviews this year with a variety of politicians. I remember Michelle Obama, for one. How do you prepare for a show like that?
MR. COLBERT: Well, it depends on how tightly, A, managed the schedule or the agenda of a politician is. Some will just come in and talk about whatever you want to talk about. John McCain, without, you know, calling him like the cliché of a maverick, he’ll come in and he’ll talk about anything. He doesn’t have to say, we have to talk about the following things. The president actually was fairly loose. The first lady’s – whenever we’d talk to her, it was usually in relationship to one of the initiatives that she had to talk about, so we would have agreement that I could basically – I could talk to her about what I wanted to talk about as long as we just mentioned “get up and move” or something like that. But because you know you aren’t going to get this person again anytime soon, those are probably the ones that I prepare closest like a journalist for, with a – with a great deal of research and you might say dry runs with a staff member as if they were the guest.
Sometimes I like to game it out with anticipation of what the guest is going to say, but that’s quite rare. The high – the more sort of high-profile or more, oh, I want to say rehearsed the guest might be, the more likely I might want to be – to prepare to try to get a fresh answer from them.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this: Do you consider in those kinds of interviews anything off-limits that you might not consider off-limits with another guest? For example, I remember one of your late-night competitors had Donald Trump on and reached over and grabbed him by the hair and mussed up his hair.
MR. COLBERT: Yeah.
MR. SCHIEFFER: And some people said, well, maybe that’s a bit much. Would you have done that?
MR. COLBERT: Well, I mean, I know what you’re talking about, I mean, and Jimmy and I are different – are different kind of hosts. It all reflects sort of the nature – and he’s a very playful guy, and that’s what you expect from him. So while I wouldn’t have done it, I don’t think it’s an out-of-bounds thing to do as long as your guest is OK with it. It is an entertainment show, and if a politician wants to come on and be a source of entertainment – I can’t imagine that that happened without approval from Mr. Trump. I don’t – I can’t imagine he would have allowed that without some sort of heads up. So, yeah, it’s not something I would do, but it doesn’t mean it’s an out-of-bounds thing, in my opinion.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Let me bring in Andrew Schwartz here. Andrew?
H. ANDREW SCHWARTZ: Well, thank you, Bob. It’s an honor to be your Ed McMahon.
And, Stephen, it’s a real pleasure to have you on our podcast. I wanted to ask you about Jon Stewart’s appearance on “The Late Show” the other night. It was the night that Donald Trump nominated Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Jon Stewart and you changed the way many people consume news with your programs on Comedy Central. How do you think about “The Late Show” and its relationship to the way people now get and process news?
MR. COLBERT: This is going to be a little bit of a long answer, if you’ll just indulge me for a second, is that I have to kind of go back to how I think the style of both “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” came about in order to get to what the relationship is to – late-night’s audience is to the show and how that presents or processes news for them, or how they receive that, is that originally “The Daily Show” was a pure parody of a news show and more of a local news show. When Jon came in, he broadened its mission by wanting to be about the bigger stories of the day, and take it from sort of a magazine format show or a local news show to like a national news desk sort of show, to give it that – the greater opportunity for comedy if you give it that status, but also he wanted to talk about what was really going on. And he invited the rest of us who were working for him to talk about things we really cared about because the volume of the show is so great that you have to approach it with a fair amount of passion in order to keep yourself informed and to write at that volume. You can’t write about stuff you don’t care about at that – at that pace or do it consistently well, I think.
And if there’s a – if there was or is an earnestness underneath that work, it’s because if you can you want to talk about something you care about, and so the audience sees behind the joke that you’re talking about something you care about. Now, that’s not the same thing as saying that you’re presenting news to the audience. The news of the day is the raw material with which you’re making jokes. You care about the news and you care about comedy, but you never lose sight of the fact that it is comedy or else you’re – you know, people should just watch the news.
For my show, there was an added layer of false construction of personality – that we would deconstruct the news like “The Daily Show” did in order to find the opportunities for the jokes, or the places to sort of make fun or mock hypocritical behavior. For my show, we would sort of do half as much deconstruction and then falsely reconstruct the behavior of a pundit on top of it. So there were slightly different games.
Across all of these shows, since the very beginning of these shows, they’ve been about what’s happening on a daily basis in America. It’s about – the shows always reflect sort of the country itself. And I think as we’ve developed the new “Late Show” the DNA of doing stories about things you care about on a daily basis has come over because I don’t know what else I could possibly do the show about. If I have one thing to fault about the launch of our show last year – or, two years ago now, in 2015 – was that I thought, oh, I can – to get away from old character, I should get away from that as our raw material. And I wasn’t talking about the big stories every day.
But I actually think that’s a mistake, not just for some – for me, but for any of these shows, because I think audiences have some to expect, as the volume of information increases on legitimate news sources – as it’s turned into a firehouse, they want someone to curate the day for them. And because there’s no way – you used to be able to read the morning paper and the afternoon paper and you knew the same as everybody else. But now as the volume of it increases, it’s important that somebody curate it for you. Or, rather, it’s enjoyable – maybe not even important – but it’s enjoyable for someone to curate the day and say, hey, I read the news so you don’t have to.
And I suppose, since comedy always has to have a point of view – I mean, I don’t think any joke can be considered neutral, no matter how, you know, basic of prurient it is – like, even slipping on a banana peel doesn’t have a neutrality to it because it’s only funny if a rich man slips on the banana peel – that as we’re an increasingly divided country I think people look for our news – even like someone doing jokes like me – for the fact that I have a point of view about the news merely is in keeping with the fact that increasingly our news sources are punditry and not fact, and the 24-hour news cycle itself actually has led to less information and more opinion because there’s only so much news to go around, but you can say what it means or your opinion about it without adding one dollar to the bottom line of a news channel.
That made our work closer to what you see on the news, and the news closer to what we do, because what are jokes about – what are jokes but your opinion about something that just happened. And that’s what cable news almost is entirely now. So that’s a really long way of saying that Americans digest their news through late-night comedy now – not just me, but everybody pretty much – because cable news specifically has become closer to entertainment. And the line was not blurred by us. It was blurred by cable news telling us the same amount, but spreading it out over 24 hours in opinion and graphics.
MR. SCHWARTZ: That’s really interesting that you say that. Late-night television once, you know, aspired to make fun of everyone. And to an extent, it went out of its way to be nonpartisan. Do you see a shift in late-night television towards partisanship now?
MR. COLBERT: I don’t know. I don’t watch a lot of late-night television.
MR. SCHWARTZ: (Laughs.) Right, you’re busy.
MR. COLBERT: I don’t. And I’m not trying to – I’m not trying to evade the question. I actually don’t watch a lot of these shows. I’ll go back to saying that I think that the shows are reflection of what the country’s like. And as the partisan divide in the country has become deeper, it is natural for the shows to fall on either side of a fence, or else I think – unless you truly are a neutral person, and I’ve never met one – then –
MR. SCHWARTZ: Those neutral people are not fun.
MR. COLBERT: Well, yeah, or they’re not paying attention.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Or they’re on life support. (Laughs.)
MR. COLBERT: It doesn’t mean – it doesn’t mean you can’t make fun of both sides of any political divide. But I think probably on any given story, you’re going to have an opinion about it, that’s it’s hard to stay neutral on any daily topical show, and honestly reflect the country that you’re talking to. I mean, you may not agree with my political point of view, but that’s not as important to me as long as you get my joke. I mean, hopefully my joke is more important than my political point of view.
Right now, all topicality is political because the biggest story possible is Donald Trump. These shows aren’t always political, so they’re not always partisan, but they’re always topical. The more the big story is not politics, the less partisan any show may seem. But if the top story – and right now, it’s an inescapable black hole which is actually orange – you – it ends up seeming partisan when in fact it’s merely opinion on a topical story. Partisan only comes in if a topical story is a pure political story.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Stephen, let me just ask you a fan’s question. What’s your favorite interview so far?
MR. COLBERT: Of all over the years?
MR. SCHIEFFER: Mmm hmm.
MR. COLBERT: On the old show my favorite interview was with Ambassador Andrew Young, which came during the writers’ strike of 2007 and 2008, because I was at a loss of, you know, what to do. We weren’t writing anything. I was sort of improvising the show every night. And my brother, Ed, reminded me that in in 1969 my father, who was the head of a hospital in South Carolina, faced a hospital workers’ strike. And he negotiated it with a young man named Andrew Young, who was working with Ralph Abernathy. This was the year after Martin Luther King had been assassinated.
And Ralph Abernathy and Coretta Scott King came to Charleston with this young man named Andrew Young. And my father ended up being on the other side of the negotiating table from these hospital workers. And so I had him on the show to talk about my father, who I lost when I was quite young. And he told me stories that I did not know. And he gave me advice about how to stay in communication with the people that I loved working with, but because of the unions and the economic goals that were perfectly legitimate for them to fight for, we were on opposite sides. That was one of the most meaningful interviews that I ever did, but that was very personally meaningful to me.
On the new show, I was very honored to speak with Joe Biden about the loss of his son and his thoughts about running for president of the United States. I really enjoyed talking to Robert De Niro, who is sort of famously a difficult interview. And I loved the challenge of that, and we had a wonderful time with him. We started off with some sake martinis. That probably helped. Sometimes they just surprise me. Amanda Peet came on my show and she was sick. And she was so funny to me, what a good sport she was being while she was so desperately sick on my show, that I think I probably had more fun with her in an interview than I’ve ever had with a guest because I just loved what a – what a – like, a showbiz trooper she was being.
So it’s hard to predict for me what I’m going to enjoy about it. I love it when they absolutely catch me flat-footed. I had a woman on the old show – I actually invited her to be on my old show. Her name was Naquasia LeGrand. And she was one of the – she was a fast food worker. I don’t know where she worked at – like Wendy’s or a Burger King or what. But she was one of the leaders of the fast food workers’ strikes of 2014 over the $15 an hour minimum wage they were looking for. And she’s no one anyone would ever look for on one of these late-night shows, but she was an absolute sparkplug and a joy to talk to. And we invited her on the very last show. And she was the one person that nobody in the media, when they tried to identify all my last guests, they could not figure out who she was. And I loved that they couldn’t.
MR. SCHIEFFER: What do you see yourself as now? Are you –
MR. COLBERT: I’m a comedian.
MR. SCHIEFFER: A comedian?
MR. COLBERT: You could – you could ask – you could list them. Maybe I’m wrong. What were the options?
MR. SCHIEFFER: Well, I would say critic, social observer, you know, someone who is trying to communicate truth – any number of things. But –
MR. COLBERT: All of those things fall under comedian. Those are all motivating forces and skills that you need to do comedy, you know? They manifest themselves in different ways, but those things you said are all in the toolkit, I would say.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Let me ask about – and we’ve talked about this a little bit – about the polarization in the country right now. Do you foresee that that’s going to continue? Do you think it’s gotten any better? There’s a new poll out as we speak that shows that it’s actually gotten worse since the inauguration.
MR. COLBERT: I don’t – I don’t know what’s – I don’t know what will make it better. I’m not entirely positive about it. I mean, in other words, I’m not – I’m not hopeful that there’s going to be rapprochement between certainly the political sides. Now, the issue is then – I don’t think our politics is going to get less divisive. And I have, in moments of – (laughs) – some desperation though, maybe we think about politics too much, you know? Maybe that leads to side picking. Maybe we’re being manipulated by media into rooting for a team that we don’t believe in. It’s hard not to look at the divisions in our country like I’m for the Falcons or I’m for the Patriots. There’s a – certainly a lot of political writing is like sports writing. It assumes that we’re both – we’re going to be on teams and which team is winning. I would say a lot of political punditry leads to divisiveness.
And if I add to that, well, that’s a regret that I have, but I don’t know, Bob, what’s going to make it better because we’re increasingly having trouble agreeing on what is real. And unless you can have agreed upon reality, which is the playing field of communication or debate, then how can you ever come to agreement. I suppose something tragic could make us come together, or some great success – a Moon landing, going to Mars, discovering there’s life on another planet – or something tragic like a war or a natural disaster or something might bring us together. But it’s as if there’s a fever, and I’m not sure what’ll make it break.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Just to underline how wide this divide is, in the latest CBS News poll, where the president’s approval rating is at an all-time low of about 40 percent – and I mean an all-time low for presidents coming into office at this time – and I think his disapproval rating is about 48 percent. But then you look deeper and you discover how wide the partisan divide there is in that 85 percent of Republicans like him and 85 percent of Democrats don’t. I can’t recall when we’ve ever had that kind of a – that kind of a divide that goes that wide. We’ve had presidents with high approval ratings and low, but never had the contrast of who is for him and who is against him been quite – been quite as wide as it is.
MR. COLBERT: Well, if you can’t remember, then I certainly can’t. What about Nixon?
MR. SCHIEFFER: Well, I guess at the very end, when he lost total support.
MR. COLBERT: Yeah, because he’s a week in or two weeks in or something like that.
MR. SCHIEFFER: But I’m not sure it was that low even – certainly now – well, he was reelected after Watergate had happened. We never want to – we never want to forget that. So I think even he had higher approval ratings. Right now this is the lowest approval rating of any president coming into office has had since they started asking the question.
What do you see ahead?
MR. COLBERT: Oh, I don’t know. And for my work, it’s important that I not know. I was actually talking to this young upstart named John Dickerson the other day. And he – and he asked me –
MR. SCHIEFFER: He’s my son, you know.
MR. COLBERT: (Laughter.) Oh, is he really? Is he really? One of you – I don’t believe it for a moment, Bob. Older brother – you’re his older brother.
MR. SCHIEFFER: He’s actually a very good friend of mine. And the truth of the matter is, I did know his mom. I mean, I go back that far.
MR. COLBERT: Oh, Nancy Dickerson? And Nancy Hanschman before that.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Yes. Yes. She was the –
MR. COLBERT: I’m a fan of hers. But I said to him – he said, is there any – he says, is there any story you don’t want to do about Donald Trump or about anything? And I said – I said, the only pitch I don’t want to swing at is one that’s not being thrown. And what partisanship or divisiveness can lead you to – especially as a comedian, because there’s a temptation, especially with the drive of the schedule, the urgency of doing a show every day – you end up being flip. You end up making a joke about something that isn’t really a joke at all, because you’ve set up a strawman for yourself to make the joke about.
And so when you say “what do I see coming ahead,” I try not to think about what’s coming ahead. I try to only swing at the pitches that are coming across the plate today. And I encourage my writing staff the same. Like, don’t try to write jokes about the next four years. The next four years will take care of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof, you know. Save tomorrow for tomorrow. And so I have no idea what’s coming. I really don’t. It is – it is within the realm of possibility that Mr. Trump will be a fine president who I will come to admire and apologize for any criticizing, even with my jokes. I doubt it, but it’s entirely possible and you have to keep open to that possibility.
In terms of the divisiveness of our country, as I said, I don’t know – I don’t foresee anything that is necessarily early on the – close on the horizon that would make us heal the divide. But I try not to anticipate what’s going to happen, because I got to keep my eyes open to what just happened today.
MR. SCHWARTZ: Stephen, you know, I think there’s one thing we can all agree on, is that you have some of the best musicians on your show.
MR. COLBERT: Yeah.
MR. SCHWARTZ: So I have a – I have a fanboy question for you actually. Our friend, Aaron Neville, has lent us his new record to play on our podcast. And I know you had Aaron come on your show. He’s got to be one of the best musical guests you ever had. Who are some of your other favorites?
MR. COLBERT: Oh, I loved having – my first musical guest I ever had on was Randy Newman, who I’m an enormous fan of. I actually keep taped up on the mirror –
MR. SCHWARTZ: Another great New Orleans artist.
MR. COLBERT: I actually – I keep taped on my mirror before I go on the show – I have “God’s Song”. Do you know that song by Randy Newman?
MR. SCHWARTZ: Sure.
MR. COLBERT: Cain slew Abel, Seth knew not why. If the children of Israel are supposed to multiply, then why must any of the children die?
MR. SCHWARTZ: Right.
MR. COLBERT: I love that song. And he was my first and last musical guest on “The Colbert Report.” I loved having on – I like opera, so I loved having on Placido Domingo. I loved having on REM, Coldplay, Radiohead. Paul McCartney, probably. I actually interviewed him twice and had him on the show back in 2012, I think. That was probably one of my – we did an entire hour with him. He did three songs for the audience and another three or four for the web. And that was – I got to – I sang – I sang “Dancing Cheek to Cheek” with him. That was a lot of fun. (Laughter.) I was singing – I sang “Jamaican Farewell,” harmonized with Harry Bellefonte. That was a real honor.
The funny thing about musicians, there are some lesser-known bands that I really love. I’m a huge fan of this band called Lake Street Dive. I think they’re all really brilliant artists and they write their own music too. And their singer, Rachel Price, I think, has a once in a generation voice. And people often say to me – or, you know, friends of mine, like especially people I grew up with – like, don’t you ever get nervous talking to the president or a famous actor or something like that. And I don’t. I don’t know why, but I do get nervous when I talk to musicians because to me what they do is kind of magical. I don’t understand. I’m not a musician myself. And what they do really does seem like magic to me. And I’m awe of them. So I have a little trouble. I get a little tongue-tied with a musician I really love.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Well, Stephen, I want to tell you how much we really enjoyed having you today.
MR. COLBERT: Well, that’s so much for having me. I really enjoyed it.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Well, thank you Stephen.
MR. COLBERT: I hope I didn’t ramble too much for your guys.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Not at all. For Andrew Schwartz, this is Bob Schieffer. Thanks for listening.