Episode 4152 (11/20/2008)

It’s my last show before Thanksgiving, so I’m going to pardon my turkey. I’m putting part in my stomach, and part in some sandwiches. This is The Colbert Report!”

Black & White & All Over: “Tonight, does the Obama presidency mean the end of racism? And if so, does that mean I can stop pretending to like Spike Lee movies?”

  • Racism is over

Desk Guest: Cory Booker

Now That’s What He Calls Music: “And I review the hottest new CDs. That’s right, they’re still making CDs.”

  • MeTunes – Chinese Democracy

Meltin’ Friedman: “And my guest, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman says we need a green revolution. Why doesn’t he save a tree and stop writing?”

  • Thomas Friedman
  • – New York Times columnist; Author (“Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew America”)


Thomas FriedmanHot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew America

In closing: “Nation, my special, A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All, premieres this Sunday, November 23rd, at 10 PM and a DVD of the special hits stores November 25th. It is yuletide fun for the whole family once you get past the 4 minutes and 17 seconds of uncensored network promos that precede it. Just how uncensored are they? Well, the words “goat sodomy” get thrown around all too casually in this business, but in this case there’s really no other way to describe it. So, to protect your family, here’s how to bypass the promos: Step 1: Insert the DVD into the player, easy to forget. Then, press your remote control’s ‘next’ or ‘chapter’ button three times. It’s the button with this symbol. Don’t use fast-forward, that will just put you on a fast track to goat sodomy. Then, you when you see this blue warning screen, just head into the kitchen for a snack. All you’ll miss is the somewhat tardy parental warning that follows the goat sodomy. Usually it goes before. Finally, at my menu, press play and drink a deep cup of my Christmas cheer. I hope you like my special so much you’ll want to make skipping past goat sodomy a holiday tradition. Goodnight everybody and we’ll see you in a week!”

Video Highlight:

MeTunes – Chinese Democracy
Axl Rose tries to steal Stephen’s thunder by releasing “Chinese Democracy” on the same day as his Christmas special.

R.A.P.S. – Click here to talk about the episode!

NOTABLE MOMENTS — Video links and more after the fold!

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

  • Intro – 11/20/08: Does the Obama presidency mean the end of racism? And if so, can Stephen stop pretending to like Spike Lee movies?
  • Racism Is Over – Cory Booker: Cory Booker says we make a mistake if we ignore the wonderful differences that embody America.
  • Thomas Friedman: Thomas Friedman wants the government to launch a green revolution with the same persistence China does through authoritarian means.
  • Christmas Special DVD Warning: “A Colbert Christmas” DVD is fun for the whole family once you get past the goat sodomy.


  • This is my last show before Thanksgiving. I’ve got a week to celebrate the holiday in the traditional Colbert style. I gather my kids around the barbecue, and we hold a mock trial for the turkey. It’s crime? Succulence. Guilty! (We all know the punishment.)
  • One thing I’m not giving thanks for this year is the election of Barack Obama. People are saying this guy is the voice of a new generation. But how can that be true if every time he talks I go lalalalalalalalalala? You’re not the voice if I can’t hear you.
  • Obama’s election is just the latest of many victories for a new generation of African American leaders like Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Alabama Congressman Artur Davis, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and Justice League President Elect Black Lightning who beat Aqua Man after the failure of his slogan “Yes We Clam.”
  • Some say these victories shouldn’t be lumped together, that these men were elected on their own policies with widely varied constituencies. But I say they won because racism is over! We did it! *gray balloon drop* [Racism 1776-2008]
  • These here balloons are gray, because with racism over, this is the color we all are now. If you think these gray balloons are unattractive, they’re a lot better than the ones I plan to drop once sexism is over. Bring a poncho.
  • Now I am reminded of the words of Martin Luther King “We didn’t start the fire. It was always burning since the world’s been turning. Harry Truman, Doris Day, what else to I have to say?” [lyrics to We Didn’t Start The Fire by Billy Joel]
  • We have entered a post-racial age, although some former black men reject it, like Cory Booker. “I reject the term post-racial. Dear God, we’re not a homogeneous country like Norway or Holland, nor do I want us to be.” Hey, no one is saying we should become like Holland or Norway. I don’t want us to start smoking hash out of a herring bong.
  • But Mayor Booker has far more troubling ideas: “I want celebrate all of America, its richness, its diversity, its deliciousness.” “I want to luxuriate in the racial deliciousness of our country.” “Let’s not sanitize, homogenize, deodorize our country.” “The great delicious opportunities that exist in America”
  • Whispers: He wants to eat us! Evidently, Mayor Booker thinks our delicious differences makes us strong. Well, here to explain himself and perhaps roll me in bread crumbs is Newark Mayor Cory Booker!
  • From the Cory Booker interview:
    • Stephen: What do you mean by “luxuriate in racial deliciousness”? It sounds like you’re inviting me into the hot tub of unity.
    • Mayor Booker: I think we make a mistake if we ignore the wonderful differences that’s America. We’re like a concert, it shouldn’t be just one instrument. It should be a number of different instruments playing to one powerful song, and that’s America. We’re a country, the first one in the history of the globe, founded not because every prays the same like theocracy, not because everybody looks the same or speaks the same language. We were founded around a common set of ideals, and fundamental to those ideals is liberty and justice, but also this understanding that to embolden a democracy means the inclusion of everyone. Everyone plays a roll and plays a part. We’re not trying to make everyone the same. We’re trying to benefit from our differences.
    • Stephen: [begins to speak, interrupted] I know you like the sound of my voice, but let me get more words out than that. But the original idea was that it was white, landholding men who got to enjoy that ideal. We’ve come a long way here. Why can’t we just say “racism: over” and move on? I don’t see you as black. I hope you don’t see me as white.
    • Mayor Booker: Well, I know for a fact that you see color.
    • Stephen: I do not see color.
    • Mayor Booker: You see the red, white, and blue.
    • Stephen: But I’m seeing that in the ultraviolet spectrum.
    • Mayor Booker: The beautifulness of our flag is that is has distinct colors separated from each other, and I know that you are probably like an Orthodox Jew and an Orthodox Islam, that you say your pledge of allegiance at least five times a day, in those words. You say that we are “one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all” Those values, which we haven’t fully achieved yet, have been fought for by our nation through generations. First person to take a bullet for this country was Crispus Attucks, an African-American man. And all through our nation, every race, every creed, every background has contributed to the greatness of America.
    • Stephen: Why must we separate ourselves anymore? It sounds like you’re the person who wants segregation, and I’m the one who wants to bring us together.
    • Booker: No, I want to bring us together in a chorus of our differences.
    • Stephen: It was delicious, it was a chorus, it was a symphony …
    • Booker: A rainbow is beautiful because it has all the colors together, and the reality is that you and I both enjoy Irish bagpipes or the songs of Nina Simone.
    • Stephen: A rainbow is beautiful because there is a pot-o-gold at the end of it, sir.
    • Booker: Well this is exactly what I believe. In Newark, New Jersey…
    • Stephen: Which you have done grate things for. You’ve reduced murder and shooting by 40% there.
    • Booker: Right, and we’re doing it because black, white, Latino, Portuguese, in Newark, we’re bringing us all together with our different contributions and making a difference. We right now have launched about 10 new businesses we’re working on in our loan fund, in this economy, and business that range from soul food restaurants to health food programs because people in Newark have come together each contribution their uniqueness to the common pot, and enriching our city. We doubled the production of affordable housing in our city, cooperating with local grassroots activists and people like Bon Jovi, who’ve all come together to construct a better America.
    • Stephen: You have constructed somewhat of a better America right away through your actions. Immediately upon taking office, on your inauguration day, you stumbled upon a bank robbery whereupon you and your security detail chased the robbers down. Mayor Booker, are you the Batman? Mayor Cory Booker of Newark!
  • The holiday season is already upon us, and there are so many new albums hitting the shelves. What with all the new jams drizzopping, you will need some guidance about which one to buy. Well, never fear, I am here to spread some DJ-nase. This is Stephen Colbert’s Me-Tunes!
  • First up, the new release from R&B crooner John Legend, Evolver. Now, when I first heard that title, I was worried that it would be an hour-long pro-Darwin lecture so sexy that no one could resist it argument, but it turns out this album is fantastic. It’s got songs featuring Andre 3000, Kanye West, Brandy, and someone named Estelle, who I believe played Sophia in the Golden Girls. And check out this video for Green Light. I love that John Legend isn’t afraid to embrace product placement. I’m not taking about the beauty shots of Snow Queen Vodka, I am talking about the song’s chorus: I’m ready to go right now. Of course, “ready to go right now” is the new slogan for Flomax. I am giving Evolver my highest rating, Five Mes! Never happened before. A tremendous performance by John Legend, matched only by his performance in my Christmas Special, A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All, airing this Sunday at 10 PM.
  • Next, from country legend Toby Keith, That Don’t Make Me A Bad Guy. Now one video I particularly enjoyed in this album is a spiritual called God Love Her. It tells the story of a preacher’s daughter who runs off with a rebellious young man only later to teach him about God. She is simply doing missionary work, although apparently not always in that position. In the liner notes, Toby thanks both Jesus and Ford trucks. They’re both tough, but only one can haul 20 tons of loose gravel in a reinforced steel bed. I’m sorry Jesus, you just don’t have the torque. Anyway, I am giving That Don’t Make Me A Bad Guy five Mes. Another triumph. Coming hot on the heals of Toby’s appearance in A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All, premiering this Sunday at 10 PM.
  • The album Chinese Democracy, a long-awaited album from Guns N’ Roses, which hits the stores November 23rd, the same day as my Christmas special . I am onto your little game, Axl Rose: you are trying to steal my thunder, and you had better not OD on that day. You have been tinkling on this album for 14 years. You couldn’t wait another week? Are you sure the 50th backing track on the title song couldn’t use a little more reverb? Maybe you should get Brian Wilson into the studio to help you polish it for a few decades. I’m sorry, Axl, Chinese Democracy gets no Mes, for both stomping on my special and ignoring my suggestion that you call the album Chinese Dentistry, and making all the song clock in at “tooth-hurty.” Yes. That was my character Ching-Chong Ding-Dong, not me.
  • Well, as always, I am ending MeTunes with an original song of my own: [to the tune of Ode To Joy] “Watch Stephen Colbert’s A Colbert Christmas, the Greatest Gift of All, premiering November 23rd at 10 PM on Comedy Central.” Feel free to make that your ringtone!
  • My guest tonight is a New York Times columnist who says environmentalism is the key to our furture. He could be right. If the economy gets any worse, we could all be living in trees. Please welcome Thomas Friedman!
  • From the Thomas Friedman interview:
    • Stephen: Your last book was called The World is Flat. Your new book is called Hot, Flat, and Crowded. How did we go from flat to hot, flat, and crowded?
    • Thomas Friedman: The first book was born in India as I tried to understand this whole phenomenon of outsourcing, how it was that when I called for my lost luggage someone in India answered the phone. What this book is really looking at is the implications of that world, the economic implications, the population implications, the environmental implications, when so many people out there can compete on this global platform.
    • Stephen: I’ll tell you one of the implications: everything on this show tonight was written by a guy in Bangalore.
    • Friedman: Very green. He emailed it probably.
    • Stephen: What do you mean by hot and crowded? I understand flat, like the global economy is becoming to be on par in terms of resources and availability and opportunities around the world. What’s hot and crowded?
    • Friedman: Well hot refers to the fact that global average temperatures have risen nearly one degree Centigrade, three and a half degrees Fahrenheit since the Industrial Revolution…
    • Stephen: Thank you for going to Fahrenheit, because I do not recognize Centigrade. No metric measurements are recognized on this. I don’t want to hear about centimeters, centiliters, or anything like that, OK?
    • Friedman: Now Stephen, that might not sound like much, you know, two degrees Fahrenheit?
    • Stephen: It does not sound like much. I run a fever like that most of the time, yeah.
    • Friedman: The global climate system is actually a lot like your body. If you body temperatures goes from 98.6 to 100.6, you don’t feel so good. If it goes from 100.6 to 102.6, you to go the hospital. So does Mother Nature.
    • Stephen: Well, sir, first thing I do is pray that I will be healed by God. We haven’t tried that yet.
    • Friedman: Now the thing that hot also refers to obviously is global warming and the many sources of it. It comes from homes and emitting from their heating and cooling…
    • Stephen: So we shouldn’t live in homes anymore.
    • Friedman: No, I’m not going there. It comes from cars, it comes from deforestation…
    • Stephen: well we soon won’t have cars anymore, go ahead…
    • Friedman: 20% of global warming is actually from the burning and clearing of forests, and about 8% actually comes from cattle belching.
    • Stephen: Cattle belching? Is that a polite term?
    • Friedman: 1.3 million cattle in the world issue enormous amounts of methane.
    • Stephen: So the more hamburgers I eat, the more I solve the problem. At this point, it’s us or the cows. It’s kill or be killed. The interesting thing about global warming is that I accept that it’s happening because Al Gore’s movie made money. the market has spoken: it’s happening. But can we, even if we could do something about it, can we do anything about it, because, you know, isn’t there a conservation of energy? We’ve released this heat, we’ve trapped this heat. How do we cool this down? Do we build a giant air conditioner on the moon and blow this at it? That energy, that heat stays here, doesn’t it?
    • Friedman: It’s trapped here actually for roughly as long as human history, about 3000 years.
    • Stephen: Sir, are we doomed? Are we doomed?
    • Friedman: Whenever people ask that question, I like to refer to a quote by Dana Meadows, the great environmentalist teacher: “We have exactly enough time starting now.” That is if we do everything we need to do, starting now, there is a chance we can limit this…
    • Stephen: So this second we need to start? [TF: This second]  Hold on, hold on, hold on! [a few seconds’ silence] OK, now we’re doomed, because we didn’t start. You’re welcome. Now your next book can be Hot, Flat, Crowded, and Doomed.
    • Friedman: No no, oh no I’ve got that, it’s Hot, Flat, Crowded, and Busted, because if seem to me, this economy, the chances, this is what I’m worried about Stephen, is how will we get the investment today, in all these green technologies, to make this happen, at a time when our economy is flat on its back.
    • Stephen: Now you have a concept, you talk about “China for a day.” What is “China for a day?”
    • Friedman: China for a day is a fantasy, basically, what if we had a government here that could actually make decisions? That could actually come together, Democrats and Republicans, and make a long-term plan and pursue it.
    • Stephen: Are you saying the Chinese do that?
    • Friedman: Yeah, sometimes they do.
    • Stephen: But that’s a totalitarian regime.
    • Friedman: And it is a measure, Stephen, of the frustration of a lot of people in the green movement have, who, certainly me…
    • Stephen: So you’re saying that for one day, we should have a totalitarian government where some benign person at the top says “This is what we do.”
    • Friedman: It’s, basically what I’m say is, if only our government could get its act together and launch a green revolution with the same persistence, focus, stick-to-itiveness, and direction that China does through authoritarian means, if we could only do that through democratic means…
    • Stephen: I think we already have a Green revolution, because I separate my plastics and I eat Kashi cereal
    • Friedman: What more is there?
    • Stephen: The book is Hot, Flat, and Crowded, the man is Tom Friedman.

Fangirl Suit Report: Navy suit, Light blue shirt with French cuffs, Black tie with small white pattern in a diamond shape.

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