Episode 4145 (11/06/2008)

“Hey, did you guys see tonight’s episode of The Colbert Report? This is The Colbert Report!

International Man of History: “Tonight: Obama’s victory. The international community weighs in, but it’s in metric, so who cares?”

  • Stephen joins Sarah Palin in wishing Obama luck … in his battle against the giant spider!
  • “Un-American News” — the world responds to Obama’s election

Rachel Getting Harried: “Plus, my guest is MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. I’ll ask her who defroths Keith Olbermann’s mouth during commercials.”

  • Stephen Colbert’s Fallback Position: Spy — Part 1

The Spy Who Loved Himself: “Then, I find out what it takes to be a spy. Or do I? [beat] I do.”

  • Main guest: Rachel Maddow — host, The Rachel Maddow Show on Air America and MSNBC

In closing: “Folks, today my mother turned 88 years young. Happy birthday, Mom Colbert. I still don’t know her first name. She’s very private. And the woman is a saint. As if raising eleven children wasn’t hard enough, the eleventh was me. Point is, my mom is wonderful, and America owes her a lot. Well, looks like your birthday cake is almost done, Mom. I’ve been baking it here in the fire, uh … let me just pull that thing out and cut you off a slice. Mmmm. Mm-mmm-mmm. That looks moist. Okay. So, Nation, please join me in wishing my mother a very happy 88th birthday. Of course, she raised me a good Catholic, so let’s sing it to her in Latin. One, two, three:

    Felicem Natalem Diem,
    Felicem Natalem Diem,
    O Cara Ephen-Stay’s Other-May,
    Felicem Natalem Diem (et plurimas!)

Happy birthday, Mom! I love you. Good night!”

Video Highlight: Happy 88th Birthday, Mom Colbert — Being a good Catholic, Stephen wishes his mom a happy birthday in Latin.

R.A.P.S. – Vote on your favorite segment of the show here!

NOTABLE MOMENTS — Video links and more after the fold!

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


  • Nation, welcome to the show; you look great. Now, it’s no secret that I have been upset since the election. I’ve tried taking my aggression out on a punching bag, but all the stuffing fell out after the first shotgun blast.
  • But I recently saw something that inspired me to rethink my outlook. Jim? [clip of Palin: “Now is the time to move forward … and, you know, we wish Barack Obama well and say God bless him …”] I know. At first, I was disappointed. Those damn Democrats have spayed our pit bull.
  • But you know, if Governor Palin can be gracious, so can I. So, President-elect Obama, I wish you well, especially in your upcoming battle against the giant spider that lives underneath the Capitol Building.
  • Now, sir, I’m sure you remember it from Civics class; it is the last challenge on the road to the White House. The President-elect must descend into the spider’s lair, armed only with a sword and his wits. If you emerge holding the spider’s prized amulet, which contains the veto pen, you then will truly be President of the United States. If not, spider s#!t.
  • In fact, not to burst your bubble, sir, but you are not the first African-American to win a presidential election. That honor falls to Calvin Watts, Jr., who was elected in 1976. Unfortunately, Mr. Watts was devoured by the giant spider shortly before his inauguration. Runner-up Jimmy Carter then tricked the spider into attacking its own reflection in the cave pond, where it drowned. Carter was then named our 39th, and worst President.
  • Now, I know what you’re thinking but, every four years, they replace the spider.
  • Now personally, I believe Obama is up to the challenge. And apparently, so does the entire world. This is “Un-American News” — Obama Edition!
  • Like humanity itself, let’s start in Africa. Reaction to Obama’s victory jubliant in Kenya, the birthplace of the President-elect’s father. President Mwai Kibaki even declared today a national holiday. Hey, Mwai! American Presidents already have a day! It’s called Presidents’ Day. And it honors our leaders the way the Founding Fathers intended: with a half-off sale at JC Penny.
  • Now, over there in France, Nicolas Sarkozy wrote this “Dear Obama” letter. “Your election raises hope of an open America that will once again lead the way.” Folks, I think he’s saying President Bush has not been leading the way for the last eight years.
  • You know what, Nikki? Mon français est très mal, mais je voudrais parler meilleur. Alors, comment vous dites en français, “F*!k you with a frog leg!” [Editor’s note: Much as I love it when Stephen goes all multilingual on us, I do not speak French and am doing this more or less phonetically. Anyone wishing to help out on the transcription/translation of this one, chime in in the comments. Thanks!]
  • Meanwhile, Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukrainian Prime Minister and cocoa magnate, told Barack Obama, “Your victory is an inspiration for us. That which appeared impossible has become possible.” Truly, change has arrived in the world, when a statement by the Ukrainian Prime Minister ends in something other than, “Help me, I’m being poisoned.”
  • Now, over in Turkey, political science professor Ersin Kalaycioglu said of Obama, “The U.S. needs a facelift, and he’s the one who can give it.” First of all, “Ersin Kalaycioglu”? That guy needs a name-tuck! Second of all, this is the only plastic surgery America needs. As you can see, the old girl’s grown saggy around the coasts, marked here in blue. All we need to do is grab those blue parts and stretch them under. There. Now the Electoral College looks twenty years younger.
  • Finally, this disturbing footage from Peru, where recently, shamans held a ceremony to influence our election. [Clip: shaman blowing incense over a “sacred llama fetus on a bed of coca leaves at the foot of images of the two presidential candidates”.] Now, you have to make sure that’s a sacred llama fetus. You use a regular llama fetus and the votes all go to Nader!
  • Now I’m not going to say magic is real, folks, but these shaman did accurately predict Sean Hannity’s reaction when McCain lost [clip of shaman screaming and holding a skull].
  • You know, folks, people are losing their jobs left and right. Even us pundits could get the axe and have to start telling people what to think on the subway for change.
  • But other countries are still out to get us, folks; that’s why there is one job that is recession proof: spy. So I recently sat down with Peter Earnest, retired CIA undercover agent and curator of the International Spy Museum as part of my ongoing, ass-covering series, “Stephen Colbert’s Fallback Position”.
  • *Hee! Stephen’s sideways scramble to get away from the car alarm was hilarious!*
  • [Tuxedo-clad Stephen, to Peter Earnest]: I see that you are not wearing a tuxedo.
    • Earnest: I don’t normally wear a tuxedo.
    • Stephen: Mm-hmm, because you’re no longer a spy.
    • Earnest: No, not because I’m no longer a spy, because I don’t wear a tuxedo if – if it’s not called for. I own a tuxedo, and I wear my tuxedo —
    • Stephen: No one’s saying you don’t.
    • Earnest: Yeah.
    • Stephen: No need to get defensive.
    • Earnest: All right.
    • Stephen: Are you going to yell through the entire interview?
    • Earnest: No, no, no.
    • Stephen: Okay.
  • You’re going to teach me how to be a spy. Why are you the man? Give me your bona fides.
    • Earnest: I was, for twenty-five years, in the clandestine service. All right? That’s Operations. Recruiting and running agents, covert action.
    • Stephen: How many people have you killed?
    • Earnest: None.
    • Stephen: Would you tell me if you had?
    • Earnest: I would — I would …
    • Stephen: Would you?
    • Earnest: … probably hedge on that.
    • Stephen: Okay, I’ll put you down for seven.
    • Earnest: That’s a high number.
    • Stephen: Is it?
    • Earnest: Yeah.
    • Stephen: Not as high as eight.
    • Earnest: [laughing] That’s true.
    • Stephen: Mm-hmm. Who’s the most exotic lady-spy you ever seduced on a mission?
    • Earnest: Well, first of all, I’ve never seduced a woman spy on a mission.
    • Stephen: They seduced you?
    • Earnest: No, no. In other words, I just – it just didn’t happen …
    • Stephen: So there was no seduction; it was just, just absolutely cold-blooded pumping.
    • Earnest: I probably would not characterize it that way.
    • Stephen: How would you characterize it? [licks pen] Let’s keep it kind of spicy.
    • Earnest: No, I think – but I think in the course of operations, you do run into, ah, interesting people, and you run into them in very interesting circumstances.
    • Stephen: While serving in the CIA, you got the Agency’s Intelligence Medal of Merit.
    • Earnest: Yes.
    • Stephen: For superior performance throughout your career.
    • Earnest: Yes.
    • Stephen: Doesn’t having a CIA Medal of Merit on your chest kind of blow your cover when you’re in the field?
  • That’s a good looking medal.
    • Earnest: Yeah.
    • Stephen: That’s really nice.
    • Earnest: Yes, that’s the Medal of Merit, and since I’m no longer under cover, I have my medal.
    • Stephen: Can I take a look at that?
    • Earnest: You certainly can. You’ll notice, by the way, that has my name on it.
    • Stephen: It sure does.
    • Earnest: Yes.
    • Stephen: [ruminating abstractedly] That could be buffed off … Umm, how much you want for this?
    • Earnest: No, it’s – it’s priceless.
    • Stephen: Come on.
    • Earnest: No, I wouldn’t – I wouldn’t put a price on it.
    • Stephen: Come on!
    • Earnest: I wouldn’t sell it my medal. Well, what’s it worth?
    • Stephen: Fifty bucks.
    • Earnest: That medal’s worth —
    • Stephen: Fifty bucks.
    • Earnest: I wouldn’t sell it.
    • Stephen: Hundred.
    • Earnest: No, I mean there’s no …
    • Stephen: I want it.
    • Earnest: Well, now …
    • Stephen: Where do you keep this?
    • Earnest: I just have it right here on the, ah … credenza.
    • Stephen: Right over there?
    • Earnest: Yeah, right over there.
    • Stephen: Okay. Thank you
  • When working under cover, I assume it’s best to have a whole new identity.
    • Earnest: Yes. I think, in a few words … yes.
    • Stephen: Let me try one on you right now.
    • Earnest: Sure.
    • Stephen: [bewigged and moustachioed Stephen] Hello, I’m Peter Earnest. And who are you?
    • Earnest: I’m Peter Earnest.
    • Stephen: That can’t be, because I’m Peter Earnest.
    • *Earnest attempts to speak, with Stephen repeating all of Earnest’s words a split second afterward.*
    • Earnest: Well let me ask you this: Do you know where Peter Earnest was born?
    • Stephen: [petting his moustache and muttering] America – Scotland!
    • Earnest: Yes, Edinborough.
    • Stephen: Scotland … [looking around] This is my office, and that’s my desk. And that’s my medal. That’s my medal over there.
    • Earnest: No, now —
    • Stephen: That is my medal over there.
    • Earnest: We talked about that … ruled that out.
    • Stephen: Excuse me?
    • Earnest: We’ve ruled that out. The medal stays here.
    • Stephen: Which one is it, America? Who’s the real Peter Earnest? I’ll say something only Peter Earnest would say. [beat] I’m Peter Earnest.
    • Earnest: [laughing] But I’m Peter Earnest.
    • Stephen: Prepare yourself for a shock. [pulls off moustache and wig] You’re you.
    • Earnest: Well, I — I feel reassured.
    • Stephen: So, you appear to be sufficiently badass to teach me how to be a spy.
    • Earnest: [laughing] Thank you.
    • Stephen: Okay, let’s learn what spies do.
  • Your cable box will self-destruct in ten seconds!
  • My guest tonight is the host of The Rachel Maddow Show. I wonder who it is. Please welcome – oh! – Rachel Maddow!
  • Rachel, thank you so much for coming on … Now, obviously, my audience is extremely excited to have you here, and I got to tell you, I generally … I generally like it for them to be excited to have ME here, so this is already not going well.
  • Now, how many — just for the record — how many Peabodys do you have?
    • Maddow: I don’t have any Peabodys.
    • Stephen: Oh that’s … I’ve got a couple, but let me, um, if I can give you a tip that O’Reilly gave me, just say you have some. Nobody checks.
    • Maddow: [laughing] That’s very nice.
    • Stephen: Your show is interesting to me, because you have said that you try to go beyond the surface of the big news stories. [Maddow: Right.] Why would you do that? The surface is the nice shiny part. So what’s the purpose of that for you?
    • Maddow: Well, I think there’s a lot of different ways to approach the big stories of the day, and sometimes the biggest stories of the day aren’t the most, the most interesting. I mean, I’m interested in Barack Obama being the President-elect, sure, but you know, there’s also a new King of Bhutan today, who’s really hunky. He’s, like, twenty-eight and he looks like Elvis.
    • Stephen: Don’t … tell me something I don’t know. [Maddow: laughing] Of course, we were talking about the King of Bhutan all day here. We just cut that story out for time.
    • Maddow: I like … I’m a little bit of a policy dork, so I like to talk about that stuff sometimes, but there’s also just —
    • Stephen: You can’t tell.
    • Maddow: [laughing, abashed] I think you’re kidding.
    • Stephen: No! … You, ah, you believe that government has a role in — in governing us.
    • Maddow: Yes.
    • Stephen: ‘Cause government’s been on the out for eight years, we have been told — and I believe — that government is not the answer, but you’re … you don’t have a problem with government.
    • Maddow: Well, I mean, we have a government; we only have one, and feel like it’s a good idea that we should try to make it a good government, because it does have stuff to do.
    • Stephen: But wait a second, “we only have one government” sounds like the Loyalists during the Revolutionary War. That’s Benedict Arnold talk!
    • Maddow: [laughing] Yeah, I don’t want there to be any “Confederate States”. I want the government to work well, and I think that when conservatives crusade against government while they are trying to be appointed to head the government, I think that’s weird. Why would you hire somebody who wants to abolish something to run that thing? I mean —
    • Stephen: But who better to destroy something than the guy at the wheel? Just drive [Maddow: That’s true] the bus off the cliff.
    • Maddow: That’s true.
    • Stephen: I mean, everybody thinks, everybody thinks that Katrina was a massive failure; I think that was a success for the Bush Administration. What they wanted was for the goverment to be able to do nothing, in moments like that.
    • Maddow: They wanted people to believe that the government can’t help you even at a time of disaster.
    • Stephen: Exactly, and they proved it.
    • Maddow: Yeah … I think the Bush Administration has essentially been like — I like vegans, but it’s like hiring a vegan to be your butcher. Like if you have somebody who is really against the idea of providing the service you have hired them for, they’re going to be bad at providing that service.
  • Maddow: Honestly, [Bush] has been a very soft target. And if you are in the business of making fun of people in the news, and I know this is not at all what you do here, but —
    • Stephen: That’s what you do, madam! You have your little quips and your little cuteness on your show, as my friend Dave Frum said about you, and I don’t believe that has any role in the news business.
    • Maddow: [laughing] He said he’s very much against the satirical tinge that news has taken …
    • Stephen: I’m with him.
    • Maddow: It is an outrage.
    • Stephen: Why do we need any relief from the day’s news? Just present the news in its bald form, and everyone will be happy.
    • Maddow: That’s right. The less funny, the better; that’s exactly right.
    • Stephen: Absolutely. Now, you also have a show on Air America?
    • Maddow: Yeah.
    • Stephen: Okay, do I need a hemp-powered radio to pick that up? How —
    • Maddow: [laughing]
    • Stephen: Tell me when I can get your show.
    • Maddow: You can get my show 6PM Eastern on Air America Radio, and if your radio doesn’t work, you can check us out on AirAmerica.com.
    • Stephen: Awesome. Now, you also know friend of the show Keith Olbermann.
    • Maddow: Yeah.
    • Stephen: Okay, and he’s obviously a great guy. Is — he’s crazy, right? He’s, like, honestly, like, dangerous, worried about him insane. He thinks he’s a chicken.
    • Maddow: I was — I was just before I came over here, I was hanging out with Keith. I think Keith is in great shape; I think that Keith is having the time of his life.
    • Stephen: Really? Mm-hmm.
    • Maddow: So, I think he’s doing very well.
    • Stephen: He doesn’t think he’s a chicken?
    • Maddow: [laughing] No.
    • Stephen: He doesn’t eat bits of gravel to help him digest food or anything like that?
    • Maddow: Not that I have ever seen. I think he’s pretty normal in that regard. He’s kind of the King of Cable right now —
    • Stephen: I beg your pardon, madam.
    • Maddow: Maybe a do-over is in order.
    • Stephen: Check your numbers. Rachel, thank you so much for joining us. Rachel Maddow, the Queen of Cable!

Fangirl Suit Report: Charcoal suit, ivory shirt with French cuffs. Red silk tie. WristSTRONG bracelet.


  1. The episode was uber-awesome! Upon watching it again though and the one from the day before, I just realized that it no longer says “multigrain” beside Stephen at the end of the opening credits, but “factose intolerant”. I laughed myself out of my chair needless to say!

    • Ms Interpreted says:

      Yeah, that’s a pretty great development, I have to say. We generally put those new phrases in the Episode Guide that accompanies the change, which is why I didn’t put it in this one, but I know I was entertained by it!

      • Kinaesthesia says:

        “Factose Intolerant” will be in Wednesday’s guide, once I finish it… nice work on this one, MsI! Rachel Maddow is indeed adorkable. What’s with the political pundits and dorky laughs? (See: Anderson Cooper)

  2. laughing at nothing says:

    Thank you for the Episode Guide, Ms Interpreted. I’m embarrassed at my easy confusion on Stephen’s mom’s birthday date (my query in R.A.P.S.).

    Sometime after the show I thought about my little sister and my DH’s mother sharing a Nov 5 birthday; then I wanted to be sure SC’s mom Mrs. Colbert’s was Nov 6.

    The Peter Earnest imitation stuff was hilarious. I laugh easily at bad wig sight gags. It seems that for Stephen, the importance of being Earnest is having that medal.

    • laughing at nothing says:

      (following up on my own comment)

      Stephen: Prepare yourself for a shock. [pulls off moustache and wig] You’re you.

      That moment reminded me a lot of Michael Scott (The Office). It seemed just the kind of thing he would do and say. ;D

  3. According to my French speaking friend, he says, ‘My French is very bad. I would like to speak it better. How do you say in French,’ – F*ck you with a frog leg!

    Also, that was my favorite part XD

    • Ms Interpreted says:

      Thanks for this, savoy! I had the gist of the translation in my own head (thank goodness Romance languages have so many similarities), but it’s great to get more definitive word on it. Stephen’s old “French Elections” piece (on TDS) was one of my faves, so I always get amused when he starts his “Un-American” coverage in other languages.

  4. Great show, but if I had to choose one segment, it would have to be the Spy Museum segment. And Stephen’s birthday wishes to his mom. Okay, that was two, but the birthday thing was just too adorable. I would love for Stephen to wish me a happy birthday like that, but I would prefer he buy the cake. :)

  5. Spoon at a Spork Fight says:

    I think the quote after Rachel Getting Harried should read “defroths” rather than “defrosts,” no?

    The Colbert/Maddow interview so rocked my world. Too. Much. Adorkableness.

    • Ms Interpreted says:

      Oops! Thanks – fixed it.

      Incidentally, have you seen that movie? Much sadder than I was expecting, although still very good. Bill Irwin’s performance really stayed with me.

    • ColbertGirl27 says:

      Nice screen name.

  6. As far as I can figure, here is the French Stephen was trying to say: “Mon français est très mal, mais je voudrais parler meilleur. Alors, comment vous dites en français…”

    now, I understand why you put mieux in your transcription because that’s the word that grammatically belongs there, but what he actually said was a mispronunciation of meilleur. unfortunately, using the word “meilleur” there is a mistake similar to the us saying “I sing good” rather than “I sing well.”

    also, grammatically, he should say “vous dites” (with a “t” sound at the end of the word) but he actually pronounced the word “dit” or “dis” instead. sooo I’d rather give him the benefit of the doubt and say they gave him the right word and he just said it wrong.

    and my final comment is that in the translation to English, the second sentence should be “I would like to speak better,” with no “it” just so we can be super-precise (and because facts matter…not!)

  7. Oh, I loved that episode.

    I studied Latin and I was confused by some of the lyrics in Felicem Natalem Diem, until I read the episode guide and saw that some were in PIG Latin. Hilarious.

  8. I loved the entire episode. The French speaking, the Spy museum, Rachel Maddow, and his Mom’s B-day in Latin! Wow! What a show.

    I do think this is maybe my favorite interview ever. Rachel is brilliant, and obviously an it-getter. It was fun to see them go back and forth. The King of Butan thing was funny, as was her goof about Keith being the King of Cable. Bwah! Then Stephen calling her the Queen of Cable. So cute.

  9. lulubelle says:

    To give the Greeks their say as well: “Chronia Polla Kyria Colbert!”

  10. ColbertGirl27 says:

    As a side note, may I just say how much I enjoy the fangirl suit report? If I really had time, I would go through the daily suit reports and find out how long it took Stephen to wear the same suit (if ever). According to one video on YouTube, I believe “Stephen” said he has 4500 suits;)

  11. “Factose Intolerant” is hilarious and inspired – a good harbinger on how Stephen will handle the Obama administration. Great episode,
    plus Stephen singing Happy Birthday in Latin was wonderful, esp since I get to play it again today on my birthday. :)

  12. Thanks everyone! Every day since last Wednesday has been a giant birthday present! I don’t have to wince when I read the news, what a gift! :)

    And a big shout out to NFZ, CU and all you lovely Zoners for brightening each and every day.

  13. Does anyone know what the theme to “Un-american news” is? I love that song, I must have it.

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