Episode 4044 (04/07/2008)

“Remember the ’80s? Then you’re not part of my demographic. This is The Colbert Report!

Ops Ed: “Tonight, I’ll explore the government’s ‘Top Secret’ black ops program. Tomorrow, I’ll be broadcasting from a Syrian prison.”

  • Charlton Heston
  • First guest: Trevor Paglen (Author, I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon’s Black World)

Donkey Business: “Then, the Democratic Party’s still in turmoil. No one can agree on the best way to lose the election.”

  • Democralypse Now: The Delightful Dismemberment of the Democratic Hopescape

Body” Slam: “And, I sit down with former Governor MN Jesse Ventura. If he’s here, who’s protecting us from the Iron Sheik?”

  • Jesse Ventura (Author, Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me!

Guest Plug:

In closing: Well, that’s it for the Report tonight, everybody. Tune in tomorrow, when my guest host — will be me. I’m so grateful I could fill in on such short notice! I *really* needed to take some time off after that interview with Jesse Ventura. Good night, everybody.

NOTABLE MOMENTS, Video links, and more after the fold!


  • Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the show. Slightly sad, over the wekeend, America lost one of its greatest heroes: Charlton Heston.
  • Charlton — or “Chuckles”, as he specifically asked me not to call him — was one of the last great Hollywood stars. He had it all: perfect teeth, manly jaw, epic thighs. He was like Ronald Reagan, if Reagan had been an actor. And Heston knew that great acting meant one thing: volume! [Montage of clips from Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments, Planet of the Apes] They did not even need a camera to make those movies! They would just hold up a film cannister and his performance would stick to it.
  • In one of his most famous roles, Heston played a food critic from a dystopian future. [Clip from Soylent Green] Charlton Heston: great man, fussy eater.
  • Speaking of feasting on manflesh, last week on Charlie Rose, Ted Turner made a disturbing prediction about global warming. [Clip of Turner, “We’ll be eight degrees hotter in ten — not ten, but in thirty or forty years, and basically none of the crops will grow, most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals …”]
  • That’s right, Ted Turner thinks we will soon become cannibals. You know what? I should have known when his ex-wife started nibbling on my ear.
  • In a completely unrelated note, I would like to extend an invitation to the following people to come over to my house for dinner in, let’s say, 2038: Tim Russert — mmmm! Oh, your head is so plump with questions. Delicious questions. Karl Rove — I understand President Bush’s early nickname for you was “Butterball”. I would love to ‘chew the fat’ with you, perhaps over a nice glass of Chianti. Anyway, gentlemen, check your mailboxes; I’m sending out the invitations today. And remember, we will soon be in the grip of global warming, so you’ll want to protect yourself from those UV rays. You know what makes a nice sunscreen? A-1 sauce.
  • Chewing on … I am a big fan of cloak-and-dagger spy stuff. That’s why I write all my memos in invisible ink. Or my pen ran out of ink. I’ll never know.
  • And I’m a particular fan of something called the “black budget”; the secret portion of the federal budget that funds covert operations — “Black ops”. It’s what Dick Cheney was talking about when he said this after 9/11: [Clip of Cheney, “We also have to work those sort of, the ‘dark side’, if you will …”] And when Dick Cheney says, “If you will …”? Oh, you *will*.
  • These black ops have always been kept secret, but now it looks like the cat’s out of the bag. If there is a bag. I don’t want to speculate on our secret ‘cat bag’ technology.
  • There’s a new book out written by someone who claims to be named “Trevor Paglen”. Clearly an anagram for “Agent Plorver”.
  • He’s a photographer and he’s uncovered and documented a fascinating collection of shoulder patches designed for the Pentagon’s black ops programs. Now, I’m torn, because these patches are really cool designs. But now, our enemies know about our secret army of topless women riding killer whales, shooting lightning from their hands [shows corresponding patch]. What kind of American would reveal that kind of information? Well, here to tell us what kind of American would reveal that kind of information, is the American who revealed that information.
  • Now, the book — it’s a fascinating book; it’s called I Could Tell You but Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me. Okay, is that an actual patch that’s on the cover of that? Is that an actual patch?
    • Paglen: Yes.
    • Stephen: This is on someone’s shoulder right now, somewhere in the world.
    • Paglen: Oh no, no, no. It was a patch that was designed for the cover of the book.
    • Stephen: [laughing] So you’re f**king with me? Now, these are patches for military services that we’re not supposed to know about, correct?
    • Paglen: Yeah, these are patches that are worn by people who work on ‘Top Secret’ programs, ‘Classified’ programs.
    • Stephen: Here’s one right here; it’s called “A Lifetime of Silence — Behind the Green Door.” What is that patch right there?
    • Paglen: The “green door” is a symbol — in a lot of these patches there are symbols that refer to the nature of some of this work, and the “green door”, you know, is a long cultural symbol. It represents a place that you can’t go into, an inaccessible place —
    • Stephen: Like the porn movie, Beyond the Green Door [sic].
    • Paglen: Exactly. Exactly. So that patch is worn by military intelligence officers that have something to do with reconnaissance satellites.
    • Stephen: Mm-hmm. And … broadcast porn through them, evidently.
  • Here’s another patch that you showed me backstage. This is “To Serve Man — Gustatus Similis Pullus.” What does that mean?
    • Paglen: “Tastes like chicken.”
    • Stephen: This is an actual patch, created for the military?
    • Paglen: That’s an actual patch, yeah. That is from the guys who fly Stealth Bombers.
  • But if all this is secret, will anybody confirm that these are the actual patches?
    • Paglen: Well, not exactly on the record
    • Stephen: So you could be making all of this up in order to sell a book, true? It’s possible.
    • Paglen: [laughing] I’m not that creative.
    • Stephen: Maybe these are actually made by the government, but maybe these are just put out as false leads to put you off the scent of what the real patches are. Like the Masons. The Masons are just a false lead the Illuminati, who actually control the world.
    • Paglen: Well, if you start thinking that way, that’s where you go …
  • Is there a “holy grail” for you? Is there a patch that you’d like to get your hands on that you’ve never been able to find?
    • Paglen: There is. There is something called the “Alien Technology Exploitation Center”; it has an image of an alien on it with a chain around its neck, and it has a phrase that’s written in Klingon, and it’s a patch I want to get my hands on.
    • Stephen: [Editor’s note: Yeah, I’m not going to pretend I caught Stephen’s — presumably — Klingon interjection.]
  • It’s time to take a Peabody Award-winning look at the Presidential election in our ongoing coverage of the Democratic primaries: Democralypse Now!
  • A quick reminder, next week, we’ll be broadcasting from Philadelphia. Tickets are still available … if you have a time machine.
  • Now, the upcoming primary is going to be a dogfight to determine who is the underdog. And in true underdog-gy style, both candidates claim they are coming from behind.
  • The Clinton campaign suffered a blow yesterday; senior strategist Mark Penn resigned when it was revealed that people at his public relations firm are actively working to secure a trade agreement with Columbia that Senator Clinton opposes.
  • Now, I think it’s a mistake for him to resign; there’s no reason to. I mean, who doesn’t have connections to South American strongmen? I mean, right, Homero?
  • Editor’s note: Hi, Frank Lesser!
  • But the Democrats aren’t just feasting on each others’ blood; they’re also feasting on McCain’s. Which is full of iron supplements. As you recall, recently, Hillary Clinton ran an ad implying that Barack Obama doesn’t know how to answer the telephone. And now, she’s launched a new commercial against John McCain. [Clip, “ … He’d let the phone keep ringing.”] That’s not fair. The man is 71; if the phone rings at 3 a.m., he can grab it on the way back from the bathroom.
  • And now, in a rare moment of solidarity, the McCain and Obama teams have responded to Clinton’s attack with a joint commercial.
  • [Spoof ad, voiceover says, “It’s three in the afternoon. Markets are open. Courts are in session. And Congress is at work. In the White House, a phone is ringing, but Hillary Clinton is asleep, because she was up at three in the morning. Barack Obama & John McCain. Well-rested. Normal office hours.”]
  • We’ll be right back. [The pan away from Stephen reveals “Homero”, still glowering menacingly from the wings. Hee!]
  • My guest tonight is a former professional wrestler, and I might just pick up my chair and hit him over the head with it. Please welcome Jesse Ventura!
  • Ventura: … Remember the Second Amendment, with the right to bear arms?
    • Stephen: Mm-hmm.
    • Ventura: Well, that’s not done for hunting or fishing; our forefathers put that right in there so that we have the ability to rise up if our country becomes oppressive.
    • Stephen: Uh-huh … But that only applies in the United States, and you’ve already bugged out of the United States, and you’re livin’ in Mexico, Jesse! You’ve given up on the United States!
    • Ventura: Now, I’m not. That’s where you go to learn about revolution, so that you can bring it back home … You know, everyone thinks Che Guevara is dead. I know better.
  • … I’m not exactly sure whether we should take advice from you, because you had, for years, what many people consider kind of a ‘fake’ job, where people cheer and everything, but it’s not real: you were Governor of Minnesota.
    • Ventura: Yeah. I also, Stephen, had a fake job called a US Navy SEAL.
    • Stephen: Mm-hmm?
    • Ventura: Yeah. And that can get fatal, quick.
    • Stephen: [raises a hand up level, holds it steady] You see me shake? You could cut a diamond on that thing, my friend; it’ll take more than a Navy SEAL to make me poop my pants!
    • Ventura: That’s right, Stephen. But always remember, you’ve gotta sleep sometime.
    • Stephen: [stares back at Ventura, winks] Mm-hmm.
  • You think the government lies to us all the time. Okay?
    • Ventura: Well, I think that they — not all the time, but they certainly do lie to us.
    • Stephen: Name one lie. One lie.
    • Ventura: Uh, the Gulf of Tonkin incident —
    • Stephen: ‘Kay, name two. Name two lies.
    • Ventura: Uh, weapons of mass destruction —
    • Stephen: Okay, name three lies, three lies — total, three lies.
    • Ventura: Ties to al Qaeda!
    • Stephen: Okay. I bet you couldn’t name four.
    • Ventura: Uh … you got me there.
    • Editor’s note: Really? That’s it? [shaking head] If only …
    • Stephen: Okay, see? I’ve torn your argument apart completely.
    • Ventura: Three is all I can get, but you know what? Three strikes and you’re out.
    • Stephen: What — what do they play in Mexico?
    • Ventura: Béisbol, like we do here.
    • Stephen: Baseball? What do they call it there?
    • Ventura: Béisbol.
    • Stephen: So, I guess I do speak Spanish.

Fangirl Suit Report: Grey striped suit, pearl-colored shirt with two-button barrel cuffs. Black tie, multicolored pattern. WristSTRONG bracelet.

Trevor Paglen: Trevor Paglen compiled a book of military patches worn by classified or top secret officers.

More Video Highlights, courtesy of Comedy Central’s shiny new Colbert Report website

  • Intro – 4/07/08: Stephen explores the government’s black ops program – tomorrow he’ll be broadcasting from a Syrian prison.
  • RIP Charlton Heston: Stephen remembers Charlton Heston — one of the last great Hollywood stars.
  • Democralypse Now – 3 am: In a rare moment of solidarity, Obama and McCain have responded to Hillary’s ad campaign.
  • Interview – Jesse Ventura: Jesse Ventura has been surfing in Mexico, learning about revolution.


  1. love the ventura interview! he’s almost as over the top as stephen is.

  2. A. Owens says:

    Please post this video; it was hilarious!:

    [Spoof ad, voiceover says, “It’s three in the afternoon. Markets are open. Courts are in session. And Congress is at work. In the White House, a phone is ringing, but Hillary Clinton is asleep, because she was up at three in the morning. Barack Obama & John McCain. Well-rested. Normal office hours.”]

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