Episode 4060 (05/05/2008)

“Happy Cinco de Mayo! Remember, tomorrow is a great day to buy a used piñata. This is The Colbert Report!

Petroleum Sell-y: “Tonight: Two candidates propose a gas tax holiday. And it goes over like an unleaded balloon.”

The WØRD: Free Gas!

Best In Show: “Plus, I name an ‘Alpha Dog of the Week’ — in a dramatic twist, I hump his leg.”

  • Speed Racer premiere
  • Alpha Dog of the Week
    • Anonymous Tennessee 911 operator

Iron Man: “And my guest Carl Hiaasen has written a book about returning to golf. Please applaud appropriately [golf claps].”

In closing: Well, that’s it for the show. I’d like to thank my guest, author Carl Hiaasen, and I would especially like to not thank my non-guest, Rain, for our non-dance-off. Yeah! Hey, Rain, let me know when Korea lifts the embargo on balls. Good night, everybody! [fade to Stephen, in an empty and darkened studio, then … RAAAAAAAINNNNNN!!] *HE’S DANCIN’ IN KOREAN!!!*

Video Highlight — Rain Dance Off: Rain shows up after hours to settle the score with Stephen.

NOTABLE MOMENTS — Video links and more after the fold!


  • Welcome to the show, so happy to be here. But before we begin, there’s something I need to do with the latest issue of TIME magazine. [Holds up a copy of the TIME 100, then runs it through the shredder]
  • You see, TIME’s online poll of the most influential people in the world closed last week, and, contrary to logic and decency, I lost. [Stands up, pulls out a gun and shoots the now-shredded TIME magazine several times]
  • First place went to Shigeru Miyamoto, who invented the Wii game console and, before that, Donkey Kong. Donkey Kong?! Donkey Kong. Oh sure, it’s okay when a gorilla does it, but when *I* throw barrels at an Italian plumber, they call it a hate crime.
  • I came in third!! But the worst part is who came in second: My arch-nemesis Korean pop star Rain! RAAAAAAAAINNNNN!!
  • You’re telling me, that I am less influential than this clown? [clip of Rain singing “Beauty and the Beast”] He is adorable … fight it, Colbert, stay angry!
  • I challenged Rain to come on my show and settle our differences in the only universally accepted way: a dance-off. It is how all the big conflicts are settled. Very few people remember that the final Lincoln-Douglas debate was a disco throw down.
  • But of course, of course, Rain didn’t show. Shame on you, Rain! When I find you, it is going to be the most humiliating thing to happen to Korea since Japan forced the Joseon Dynasty to sign the Treaty of Ganghwa in 1876. And yeah, yeah I’ve been reading a biography of Empress Myeongseong. Moving “eong” …
  • Nation, gas prices are at an all time high. At least, if you don’t have a personal relationship with a Saudi oil sheikh. Hassan? Salaam alaikum, my brother; keep those tankers coming!
  • The high fuel cost is raising the price of everything; the situation demands a novel, yet practical solution. Which brings us to tonight’s WØRD: Free Gas!
  • Look, I know that Senators McCain and Clinton have proposed a summer gas tax holiday. And I applaud their courage in the face of so-called “experts” who have universally rejected the plan with delicate critiques like, “ … pointless and disappointing,” “ … bad policy …” and “ … so ridiculous, so unworthy of the people aspiring to lead our nation …” Fine. So the level of discourse has dropped. It can’t always be about flag pins.
  • But these proposals did get at least one glowing review: “I don’t know any prominent economist who favors this McCain-Clinton proposal.” That is why it is so good! Backing a policy experts think is a terrible idea just proves you are ready to be President. [Specifically, President Bush].
  • Just like a good President, Clinton put the blame for past failures where it belongs. [Clip of Hillary, talking to George Stephanopoulos about “elite opinions” hurting Americans.]
  • Sure. If you think about it, lifting the tax will increase demand and ultimately lead to higher gas prices, but doesn’t it feel like this is going to help somebody? [OPEC?]
  • Now, I do have some criticism of this summer gas tax holiday. For one thing, how do we know when it ends? It’s always summer somewhere. [Soon, Will Always Be Summer Everywhere].
  • But, folks, my biggest problem is that it doesn’t go far enough in making me feel like I’m saving money. Eighteen cents a gallon? To save any real cash, I’ll have to drive my Hummer 24-7 [Hell On Indoor Hummer Track].
  • That is why I am announcing a truly bold initiative, “Stephen Colbert’s Total Gas Holiday”. From here on out, free gas for everyone! Voila! Immediate relief from the gas prices. [Once We Use Up All The Gas].
  • And, folks, it could not come at a better time. High fuel costs are leading Americans to buy smaller cars. “Smaller cars”? This is America. If we go to smaller cars, before you know it, we’ll be just like Europe. [Strong Currency?] And folks, that means I’ll be wearing tight red jeans and eating snack crackers with strange brand names. [Kul Ranschn Döritos].
  • Now, I’m sure you’re asking, folks, how will we pay for unlimited free gas? [Take Out A Subprime Mortgage?] Well, the answer is simple: I don’t care.
  • Besides, have you forgotten about a little thing called “our grandkids”? Because they are very generous, even though they don’t know it yet. [No Child Left Unscrewed].
  • They can be the generation that walks to work or uses public transportation. They’ll have to, because without a gas tax to pay for infrastructure, there won’t be any roads. [Though Loads Of Now Shipping Lanes In The Arctic].
  • So, Nation, call your representatives and demand they make gas free. Then go out and burn it like it is going out of style [Because It Is]. And that’s The WØRD.
  • As a celebrity, I have access to things that aren’t available to Joe Public. Like, when I go to the mall, I always get the country’s best yogurt.
  • I’m what they call “hooked in”. That’s why this weekend, I was invited to an exclusive screening of the new movie, Speed Racer, which opens to you people this Friday, May 9th.
  • Now, if you want a feel for what this movie is like, here’s all you do, okay? Put eighty pounds of fireworks into an industrial dryer, crawl right in there with them, turn it on and then light the fuse. It’ll give you a good idea of the visual onslaught you’ll be enduring.
  • It is a good movie; I enjoyed myself. It’s the classic story of boy-meets-seizure-inducing-lights.
  • My one criticism of this movie: it stars Rain. RAAAAAAAIINNNNN!! So, Rain, now that you’re a big movie star, I just finished writing a screenplay of a movie I think you’d be perfect for. It’s called Speed Racer II: Under the Car. It’s two hours of a car repeatedly backing over Rain. Boffo box office!
  • There are those who let life pass them by, and then after it passes them by, they bite it in the ass. These are the Alpha Dogs of the Week!
  • This week’s “Alpha Dog” is an anonymous 911 operator who went above and beyond the call of duty.
  • [Clip of a news item, explaining how “Lisa” called 911 after being robbed when she later heard someone trying to get into her house … and heard the 911 operator snoring.]
  • That’s right! He had the stones to fall asleep during a 911 call! Jimmy, can we get a visual approximation of this guy? [This plays, while Stephen voiceovers, “Hello! Hello, 911, I have an emergency! Oh my goodness, it’s so adorable!”]
  • A 911 operator’s job is to help the caller relax, and this guy was just leading by example … by taking a nap.
  • And don’t get me wrong; there is a serious problem here: dull emergencies. That lady on the phone was so boring! She was robbed at gunpoint, and some guy was … I’m sorry, I blacked out. Where was I?
  • Listen, folks, 911 operators hear stories of peril all day long. If you want to keep them awake, you’ve gotta make it juicy. Instead of saying you were just robbed by a man, say you were robbed by a centaur.
  • So congratulations, anonymous Tennessee 911 operator, you are my Alpha Dog of the Week. I know, I know it’s probably getting near your bedtime, so let me give you something to help lull you to sleep: “HELLLPP!! I’m being attacked! HELLLLLPPPPPP!!”
  • My guest tonight has written a book about returning to golf. It is one of the most exciting things to happen to golf. Please welcome, Carl Hiaasen!
  • Now your book is called The Downhill Lie: A Hacker’s Return to a Ruinous Sport. What do you mean, you returned? How long were you away from the sport?
    • Hiaasen: Thirty-two years.
    • Stephen: Thirty-two years?
    • Hiaasen: And I was —
    • Stephen: What did she — what did she do to you? What did golf do to you, sir, that broke your heart so badly thirty-two years ago?
    • Hiaasen: It was a brutalizing sport, as you know —
    • Stephen: Oh, she’s a bitch! … She wants! She wants all your time, doesn’t she?
    • Hiaasen: I was perfectly happy not playing for thirty-two years.
    • Stephen: How’d she suck you back in?
    • Hiaasen: Some friends of mine — so-called “friends” of mine — asked me to play again …
    • Stephen: Yeah, I bet they paid for the first round, too.
    • Hiaasen: They did …
    • Stephen: First round is always free!
    • Hiaasen: … and it was all laughs at my expense, and then I got talked into keeping this journal of all the bad things that were happening to me, and there were many —
    • Stephen: Bad things in golf, or bad things in your life as a result of playing golf?
    • Hiaasen: The life got worse as the golf got worse, as it often does.
    • Stephen: I love golf. And one of the things I love about golf is that, you have to belong to a club, you have to be a member. It’s extremely expensive, and we can keep out the riff-raff … plus, the girl who drives around the little cart to serve you beer, in the middle of an athletic competition?
    • Hiaasen: You can’t beat that.
    • Stephen: I mean, I’d probably play, you know, team sports, if I could play football AND drink at the same time.
    • Hiaasen: [laughing]
    • Stephen: Tell me about your love of the sport … how do you feel about it now, and, if possible, tell me about your love of golf using a golf metaphor. “Golf is like …”?
    • Hiaasen: All my golf metaphors are surgical in nature.
    • Stephen: Really?
    • Hiaasen: Well, painful surgery, usually. Prostate surgery, would be a start.
    • Stephen: [cracking up]
    • Hiaasen: And if you watch the Golf Channel, you’ll see the ads.
    • Stephen: Absoutely!
    • Hiaasen: They know their demographic.
    • Stephen: You got something that’s too small, they can make it bigger; too big, they can make it smaller.
    • Hiaasen: They know their demographic …
    • Stephen: They sure do …
    • Hiaasen: … and it’s me and you.
    • Stephen: Size is really, size is what — “me and you,” wait! Physician, heal thyself.
  • You say that you think golf is different for men than it is for women. How is it different for the men?
    • Hiaasen: Well, I think for men, every round of golf is really a journey into the darkest part of your soul. And I think for women, it’s a sport, actually. That’s the main difference that I’ve been able to tell.
    • Stephen: Well men also, men also have the — the club is a metaphor for them.
    • Hiaasen: Well, as you know. We get a new driver every year, don’t we?
    • Stephen: Exactly! And we’re going for a bigger and bigger head on it.
    • Hiaasen: [laughing]
    • Stephen: Why don’t we just, like, kill the greens fees, and just, you know, put all that money into a really expensive ruler and just hit the locker room right away?
    • Hiaasen: That’s exactly what it becomes like! And I think the foolhardiness of going back in to try something in middle age that I wasn’t any good at when I was a kid is — certainly comes to fruition in the book … The only upside is that my own kids are playing and you almost have a fatherly experience on the golf course.
    • Stephen: Do you beat them? Or do they try to beat you? ‘Cause we always — I have eight brothers, and we always tried to beat my father, but he didn’t want to beat us, therefore, he always won.
    • Hiaasen: [laughing]
    • Stephen: ‘Cause we were always trying to kill the ball.
    • Hiaasen: Exactly. Well, when you’re a kid you’re always kill balls, so, consequently, I can sit back and say swing as hard as you can and as many times as you want to, and it doesn’t really count. And of course, in the end, Dad always wins that way.
    • Stephen: Right. ‘Cause Dad’s writing the score down.
    • Hiaasen: There’s gonna come a day, obviously, when they’re kicking my butt out there, and that’s fine, too. But it’s a hard, it’s a hard sport to extricate yourself from, as you know, there’s sort of an addictive quality to it —
    • Stephen: It’s intermittent reinforcement, like gambling: like occasionally, you win. Most of the time you lose.
    • Hiaasen: Every 100 shots, you hit that one shot that looks like something Tiger Woods might have hit on a so-so day, and you think you can go out there and do that all the time, and, of course, you can’t; it’s not possible. But then you’re back the next day, you’re out there at the driving range, with your broken wrist — but when it’s healed, and you’re out there …
    • Stephen: Oh, it’s WristSTRONG at this point.
    • Hiaasen: I see that.
    • Stephen: Would you like a WristSTRONG bracelet?
  • *Official WristStRONG pass-off!*

Fangirl Suit Report: Grey suit, white shirt with light windowpane check and French cuffs. Red tie with white square pattern. WristSTRONG bracelet. Later: black t-shirt, chain, red pants, oversized white sunglasses … I can’t describe it any better than that (even though what I’m describing sounds like old school Run DMC); just go watch the video, ASAP!!

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

  • Intro – 5/05/08: Two candidates propose a gas tax holiday — and it goes over like an unleaded balloon.
  • Time’s Top 100: Stephen is enraged that he lost Time’s Top 100 most influential people to Rain.
  • The WØRD – Free Gas!: Stephen announces a bold new initiative: Stephen Colbert’s Total Gas Holiday.
  • Speed Racer: Stephen got a sneak peek at Rain’s debut role in the new movie Speed Racer and decided to write a sequel.
  • Alpha Dog – 911 Operator: Congratulations to the anonymous Tennessee 911 operator who fell asleep during an emergency call.
  • Carl Hiaasen: Carl Hiaasen feels that every round of golf is a journey into the darkest part of his soul.


  1. prazzledazzle says:

    The passing of the WristSTRONG was the second best thing that happened tonight.
    The number one best thing? DANCIN’ IN KOREAN, OF COURSE!

  2. AmandaIvy says:

    And another bitingly hilarious and well done WORD.


    Ahem… sorry.

    • Fantastic Word tonight. I’m really enjoying that the writers seem to be making some of the bullets end in question marks. I dunno why, but the bullets are much funnier for some reason…then again, I have a thing for punctuation.

      ZZZZOOOOOOOMG DANCING IN KOREAN WAS FABU!!! I’m so watching this again on reruns tomorrow…

    • One of the Heroes says:

      I agree. The Word was fantastic once again.

      Another great episode!

  3. AmandaIvy says:

    Oh, (sorry for the double post… and sorry for being sorry…):

    Did anyone else catch the foreshadowing in one of the earlier segments of the show? I’m not sure when it happened, and I don’t know if it’s in the episode guide (I looked, but it’s late and I could just not be seeing it), but he mentioned tight red jeans at one point.

    I caught it the second time around. He certainly is a sneaky monkey.

    • prazzledazzle says:

      You’re very sharp! He mentioned wearing tight red jeans while he was doing The Word.
      “And folks, that means I’ll be wearing tight red jeans and eating snack crackers with strange brand names.”

      • AmandaIvy says:

        That’s right! And the bullet point was about the Doritos.

        …And yes it’s in the episode guide. Lol. I guess my eyes weren’t working properly.

        It was the awesome of the Dancing In Korean probably… it made my eyes malfunction… at least that’s the excuse I’m gonna go with.

  4. zonkbert says:

    Well, I didn’t know Stephen maintained his own cameras himself. Really handy and he truly is a “one-man show” ;)

    Do you think anyone from the Nation will also go to the studio to try to have Dance offs with Stephen at night? It could be something of an urban legend: If you challenge him, he will dance :)

  5. Daniel says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s his trusty teleprompter that he’s fixing. Just search google images for teleprompter and compare.

  6. Ann G. says:

    I know everyone’s still “ZOMG”-ing over the Dance-off, but according to CNN, Stephen’s been named Webby Person of the Year! Woo hoo, another award!

    • Ms Interpreted says:

      Thanks, Ann G.

      Kinaesthesia is on the ball this morning (that lucky lady probably got a lot more sleep than I did, but MAN it was fun recapping that show!), and she’s already been working on a post about this.

      • She is indeed on the ball! But I got so excited when I saw the headline that I had to post about it.

        I think I may be just a tad over-caffeinated this morning. :-D

      • Great recap, Ms. I! Props to everyone who stayed up so late to Blog about it.

    • We have to work in shifts some days. :) A couple of us had a very late night, and others had an extremely early morning making sure we had everything covered here.

      Tomorrow I hope to be an early person – I need SLEEP!

  7. Ms Interpreted says:

    Oooh, and if I have my dates right (always a dubious prospect), last night’s show will be the first episode of The Colbert Report to be broadcast in the UK. Talk about starting things off with a bang!

  8. The Rain segment went down well with this group of Hong Kong Clouds
    – just check out those emoticons!

    • Ms Interpreted says:

      Those are awesome, THANK YOU! :)

    • mrtigger001 says:

      i can kinda read what they’re saying. most of the posts are some variation of “cute” or “very funny.” and one refers directly to colbert as very funny.

      • Yep, and on page 6 “Uncle Stephen’s dancing was better than I expected.” !

    • One of the Heroes says:

      Thanks for the link Daniel. I enjoyed reading all of the comments and the emoticons were wonderful!

  9. mrtigger001 says:

    The Word was particularly spot on tonight. Tonight’s episode definitely had a lot of substance even without Rain at the end. stephen really walked the line well between political relevance and fooling around tonight.

    But I have to end on Rain. Awesome moments include Stephen pretending to fix a teleprompter with a wrench as an excuse to wear that ridiculously tight outfit, random jacket flip (LOL!), Juan’s sprinkler, and dramatic reverb at the end of the “Dancing/Singing in Korean” song

  10. The WORD was particularly brilliant tonight and Stpehen had a great rapport with C. Hiaason, they obviously have played a lot of gol, loved the analogies!

  11. Is it just me or did the dance-off remind anyone else of the rock opera Tommy? With Stephen as the Pinball Wizard and Rain as Tommy, especially the part with the dance overload sign.

  12. but shilling for speed racer… thats kind of a character break coz his character doesn’t watch movie… although it did make a nice segue for rain… RRAAAAIIIIIINNNN!!!!

    • rebnej says:

      True, he claims he only watches trailers, but character “Stephen” does like to take advantage of celebrity perks like premiers.

    • AmandaIvy says:

      “Stephen” and his backstory doesn’t always make sense. I think it just makes things funnier. There was one interview or episode or something in which he said he was from Pennsylvania, when he’s always said he’s from SC. The other person was just like “um… okay…”

  13. After the opening credits, what was Stephen pointing to? Was that a giant American flag in the audience, I saw him saluted to something.

    • One of the Heroes says:

      I was wondering if there was a military person in the audience who was in uniform. It would make sense for Stephen to salute him/her as a sign of respect. Was anyone in the audience last night? If so, can you tell us what Stephen was saluting?

  14. somuch2kno says:

    I just caught this after watching the Dance Off for the uh… O.K. let’s just say, more times than I should try to get away with while at work… and I noticed that there are sound effects for crickets during the first shot outside the studio at night. That made me laugh, ’cause I can pretty much guarantee there are no cricket anywhere near West 54th Street at night.

    • vigwig says:

      Actually there’s a small park just a block west (bet 52nd and 54th Street) from the studio and a garden space (mostly just dirt right now) next to the awning where ticket holders wait so there could be crickets, but not till the summer.

      • somuch2kno says:

        Yes, I’ve spent my share of time parked in that alley, hoping for a seat near greatness. However, even if there were crickets there, I doubt the sound on that street would be quite as bucolic as they were trying to make it. When I finally noticed, it made me imagine them in the editing room giggling and saying, “Hey, kill the live sound and just throw in some crickets!”

        • I loved the crickets too, it was like a bad “Lifetime” movie. It also brought to mind the joke about a bad comic getting no laughs but “crickets.” The whole thing was just inspired.

        • somuch2kno says:

          Wow, you’re right. I didn’t even think of the bombing comic connection. ANOTHER great layer!

  15. laughing at nothing says:

    I have to admit as a grown woman, that Rain was such a cutie. I think he may have made some U.S. female fans “Cumulus” Clouds (on their way to full “Cumulonimbus” status). It was a hilarious and well put-together piece. Even knowing what “would happen,” the segment still turned out to have a surprise story-line. Congrats all around, and thank you Rain.

    According to Stephen, I now know that I was an Alpha [female dog] of the Week once, too. As the incident meanders off from this episode thread, I’ll put it in FFA. ;)

    • laughing at nothing says:

      (me again)

      I forgot to add that Stephen’s white belt (white?!) worn with the red pants cracked me up.

    • I’m a Cloud from the Philippines and we, Rain-fans from Asia, are grateful for the exposure Stephen has given Rain on US TV… Yes, hopefully Rain has gained fans from among the US viewers… As Stephen has gained fans from among us in Asia (even though TCR is not actually available in most part of this continent)…
      Oh, and you should know that the demographics of Rain-fans are so varied – from kids to grandmas… I actually made a friend last year because of Rain – a white American from Utah, 76 years old grandma, who actually maintains a fan-blog for Rain… When you read his life-story and get to know his character, you’ll understand why many “grown-women” are so drawn to this kid…

  16. zonkbert says:

    Yes, I also noticed the music got more and more intense with reverb as the dance reached its climax. The longer the dance went on, the more epic it became. Awesome!

    Was the hairstyle Stephen had when he becomes a fixer upper also his “Korean” hair? He’s the only late night host I know who can change hairstyles and still look good!

    I’m glad the Clouds are able to get “it” now. :)

  17. zonkbert says:

    Wow, i totally forgot to mention how cool the show “ended” like it was feel-good Lifetime movie with the blurry and the slowmo. So that’s the view Stephen has every night.

    Really, what an epilogue to a Report!

  18. Mr. Joe says:

    Did anyone else notice that after Steven gives away his wriststrong bracelet its back on him in the next scene?

    • Ms Interpreted says:

      Hey, Mr. Joe,

      Yes, Stephen has a lot of them and gives them away regularly … also, the scene with Rain was taped a week before Stephen’s interview with Hiaasen. :)

      I love the way he continues to highlight the bracelets; on the one hand, they are a silly bit of parody, but on the other, they’re a really great charitable enterprise.

      P.S. Stephen spells his name with a “ph” … we try to be nice here at NFZ, but you’ll want to be careful about misspelling his name on other Stephen Colbert sites; the fans have been known to flame people for that!

  19. stefanie says:

    The Dance-off has to be one of my new favourites. Wasn’t anybody hoping for the infamous Colbert-spin. I know I was.

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