Esteban Colberto tiene cojones grandes

Esteban Colberto

I was terribly amused at the Esteban Colberto interview, from the breaking-through-the-fence callback from the January 2007 interview with Lou Dobbs (and, um, the Lou Dobbs footage from the last interview as well), to the amazingly purple jacket he was wearing, to the fact that the editing showed both men playing the whole experience relatively straight. It was one of the most unique things I’ve seen on the show, ever (and I’ve seen a *lot* of shows). Seriously, the purple blazer was just mesmerizing.

As to why the laughter seemed to be “off”: I remembered that in one of the recent Taping Reports, someone said they recorded some background noise for an upcoming piece with Lou Dobbs. I’m guessing that was the piece mentioned, and why it sounded so “off.”
I knew it was bound to attract the attention of the blogosphere, and sure enough, it did. So here’s some feedback as to what others think about the in-character bilingual interview from the blogosphere:

Huffington Post:

    Gimmicks are doing a good job of replacing writers on The Colbert Report, if last night’s interview with Lou Dobbs is any indication. Colbert turned the interview on its head with a hilarious conceit of interviewing Dobbs as his Spanish-language counterpart, “Esteban Colberto.” Did hilarity ensue? Oh yes — including an in-studio barbed-wire fence, which Dobbs viewed with approval: “It’s very impressive, and better than some of the fence along our border now!”

The Washington Times

    “Stephen Colbert’s interview with CNN honcho Lou Dobbs last night — done en Espanol with Steve dressed and acting like a host of a Latin television variety show — es muy bueno. His command of the language must’ve scared Lou, who probably has border patrol on speed dial. “

    “Lou Dobbs appeared on The Colbert Report last night for what had to be the most unique interview he’s ever been a part of.”

(h/t to MsI for pointing out the obvious to me. Thanks, buddy.)

Have they been reading our comments? Or HuffPo maybe?

Baltimore Sun:

    “‘Colberto is clearly playing off an old interview with Dobbs. The men weren’t in the same studio at the same time. Three giveaways: You never see the two men in the same shot.

    Then there’s a continuity problem. Hint: Look at “Colberto’s” left hand when the camera is on him, then look at it when he’s shown from behind in one of the first cutaway shots.

    Also, Dobb’s book: “War on the Middle Class” was published in 2006, not exactly a book that would be promoted.

    Still, the “interview” is worth watching, especially because it Colbert’s funny and it demonstrates that fake news has had to become even faker because of the writers’ strike. ”


  1. That whole interview seemed fake. Esteban and Lou Dobbs were never on camera at the same time. It’s almost as if it was filmed twice, once with each person, a la Formidable Opponent.

  2. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Lou Dobbs footage was entirely from the first interview, only Stephen’s part was redone in Spanish. Therefore, the laughter when Lou Dobbs was on was from the first interview. The laughter in the background for Esteban’s footage could have been recorded during that taping you refer too. This would explain the strange “canned” quality of it. That’s my guess on the matter.

  3. I bet Lou Dobbs is going to be surprised to read that he was interviewed on the ‘Report’ last night!

    Yes, all of Lou Dobbs shots were from the January 24, 2007 episode and Colberto’s questions and comments in Spanish were translated from the original interview (except for a few comments about las chicas). So this was Dobbs from a year ago and a recent Colberto edited together. As DB noted in the post, the fence was also in the original episode.

    And, as Stephen said when introducing the piece, this was a tape of the interview – it was not presented as a live segment.

    @Josh – Formidable opponent is filmed continuously, with Stephen alternating between characters. They are not filmed separately and edited together. The change of tie, change of position, and change of background are done digitally (green screen technology!) – that’s one of the very amazing things about those segments. (If you need proof – check out how his part changes from left to right side as they flip the image from one Stephen to the next.)

  4. You know, if Viacom didn’t have their HEAD SO FAR UP THEIR @#$!ES, we could post both the Esteban bit and the old interview bit. Now *that* would be some interesting footage!

    But, we’ve put a ban on Motherload on this site until the strike is over. (sigh) DAMN YOU SUMNER REDSTONE! Not really, please don’t sue me.

  5. Ms Interpreted says:

    @ DB,


  6. Reading some of the comments on HuffPo, it seems the graphics people were able to fool some people by adding bits of Esteban’s purple suit to the Lou Dobbs’ footage. However, I noticed that they forgot to remove the pen from Stephen’s hand in one or two shots of Lou, Esteban is not holding one.

  7. Wait, so is what Colberto says identical to what Colbert said last year? Is it the exact same interview, only in Spanish?

  8. OH, you all noticed the purple suit too! I have been trying to figure out what ‘season’ I am for the purposes of buying the appropriate color clothes — Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter — and that *really* caught my eye and I wonder what season Stephen is!

    Here’s the bit about the advance recording of the ambient sound, from a 1/10 taping report by maestro416 on the Colboards:

    “After the [warmup] comedian was done they did something I had never seen before. They explained they needed to record some audio for a future Lou Dobbs segment and they wanted us to applaud for 30 seconds straight. The weird parts were next when they asked us to sit completely silent for another 30 seconds because as they explained even that has its own “unique sound”. Next they wanted to record 30 seconds of people not talking or clapping but rustling in the audience and getting up and down out of their chairs. During that recording we did an impromptu silent wave from one end of the audience to the other, it was a pretty funny sight.”

  9. @Shruti –
    Basically, yes. There are a few edits and the lines about the ‘chicas’ are ad libbed (note that they weren’t subtitled). Even Esteban’s intro (except for the name of the show) was the same. And a year ago Stephen ran over to the fence, cut it and crawled in so they had Lou Dobbs reaction shot.

  10. looped linear says:

    That was a *really* purple jacket alright…I like purple. And the gum….lol

    Re the rest of the show:

    I don’t think the concept of forcing really applies to robots, since they have no ‘druthers’ that run contrary to their programming. Make and force aren’t synonyms here.

    I can make a cake, but it makes no sense (ha!) to say I forced a cake to come into existence….except as a joke.

    Good-night Mr Snuffleupagus= Colbert has an imaginary fwend? :D

  11. @looped linear:

    MsI did us the great favor of explaining the Snuffleupagus reference on another board — I’ll quote her here:

    “I have it from an audience member that the “Good night, Mr. Snuffleupagus” line at the end of the show was in response to an audience member’s challenge to Stephen (during the Q&A) that he say “Snuffleupagus” in the course of the night’s show.

    During the final commercial break (post-interview), Stephen laughingly stated that he’d actually been about to ask David Levy a question about “f*#king Mr. Snuffleupagus,” but that he backed down at the last second because he was afraid it would be inappropriate; hence the shout-out during the closing.


  12. @ WWG – was that on another board? She said the same thing here in a comment on the episode guide for last night.

  13. @Jennie – Yes, she shared that on another board as well, and I happened to read it there first. Busted.

  14. LOL, WWG. Wasn’t trying to bust ya… I thought maybe I was going gaa-gaa for a minute.

  15. I wonder if Lou Dobbs knew he would be on ‘The Report’ lastnight…

  16. looped linear says:

    @ WordsWithGrace

    lol I actually though he might have been saying ‘hi’ to one of his kids. Thanks for clearing that up.

  17. looped linear says:

    uh, d’oh….sorry, but …… suddenly strikes me that his saying hi to his kid last night, would be highly unlikely after that robot sex interview……geez…I hate it when my brain nips out for a smoke without telling me…

  18. Ms Interpreted says:

    If any of you are wondering whether Lou Dobbs knew he’d be, erm, participating in last night’s show, this is from the updated mediabistro post:

    The question is, did Dobbs know his year-old interview was going to be chopped up for the sake of comedy (and a lack of writers)? A CNN spokesperson tells TVNewser: “Yes, he knew about it — and according to Lou, ‘he loved it.'”

  19. As brilliant as this show was before the strike, in many ways its better without the writers. To be sure, it’s not as polished, and must rely heavily on pre-recorded pieces. But we’re seeing the true Steven Colbert genius. Esteban Colberto? Why doesn’t anyone comment on the brilliance of this character? And the flawless execution — Steven’s perfect, yet oh so anglicanized Spanish is mesmerizing. And this is to say nothing of the concept. Colbert needed something to put on his show, and came up with that? Definitely among the best television you’ll see this year.

    Steven Colbert was born to do this show. It remains the best show on television.

  20. I actually had to watch this twice because I was too busy laughing at his mannerisms, the VERY purple suit, the gum chewing, and everything else “Esteban” to actually follow the interview. LOL!! This was such a great bit.

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