The terrible atrocities that occurred in Paris on Friday night have weighed heavy on everyone’s hearts. There is nothing that can be said or done to make any sense of it.
The Late Show is filmed mid afternoon. Slight edits are made before it goes to air at 11.35pm. On Friday, when The Late Show was being taped, the attacks hadn’t happened yet. After news broke later in the evening, Stephen and The Late Show crew fired up the equipment so that Stephen could film this tag for the end of Friday’s episode:
Broken up and speechless on Friday, Stephen found the words to say for Monday. The show opened on a redecorated Ed Sullivan Theater: the sequence of colours of the French flag and Parisian imagery replaced the American-themed auditorium for the episode. In solidarity and as a symbol of love and peace over hate and violence, Stay Human performed La Marseillaise, the French national anthem, in lieu of an opening monologue, as the studio audience stood at attention.
Stephen Colbert is a sincere man. He offers hope to Parisians, but he also offers his thanks to France as an American (and some of what he is thankful for the rest of the world can get behind, too). He doesn’t pander. He’s not the type. He is just putting out what good he can, and reminding everyone of the things to be grateful for when facing tragedies like this.
There are no words or actions to fix what happened. But Stephen does recognize the weight words and actions do have: the blue, white and red lights on symbols such as the CN Tower in Toronto and the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, the dimming of the replica Eiffel Tower at the Paris hotel-casino in Las Vegas, and the massive amounts of support published on Twitter users is not wasted effort. Nothing that brings people together in unity and support is wasted effort.
Stephen questioned the sincerity of continuing as a comedy show, and in particular, having a segment like the Amazing Acro-Cats (that’s acrobatic cats, for the uninformed) on the first show after the attacks, having booked them weeks ago. After considering cancelling the flying felines out of respect, Stephen decided that ISIS would not like Acro-Cats, concluding, “the only thing [the Acro-Cats] have in common with ISIS is that they’re a bunch of p———-.”
Tune in tonight at 11.35 et/pt to see guests Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, Public Image Ltd., and CeeLo Green, on Global.