Episode 5009 (1/19/2009)

“Just twelve more hours until all those Bush countdown clocks explode! You fools! This is The Colbert Report!”

King For A Day: “Tonight, I celebrate Martin Luther King the way I do every day: by refusing to ride the bus.”

  • President-elect Obama declared it a day of service
  • Stephen spent the day tending the grounds of the Stephen T Colbert Goose Sanctuary at LaGuardia Airport
  • King Day mascot Dreamy reads volunteer opportunities

The WØRD: Sacrifice

Bush To Judgment: “Then, Bush’s legacy. Will they put his face on money, or just unemployment checks?”

  • Frank Rich – New York TImes

Embarrassment of Riches: “And I talk to New York Times columnist Frank Rich, but only because I need the answers to the crossword.”

  • Bush retrospective montage – “What I Did For Love”


Frank RichOpinion Columns

Christine EbersolePerforming at the Cafe Carlyle until 1/31/09

In closing: “Well folks, that is our 500th show. Thank you very much. I would like to thank Christine Ebersole, who will be appearing at the Cafe Carlyle until the end of the month. But before we go, we haven’t reached just the end of a Presidency, we’ve also reached the end of a particular metaphor. Jimmy?

  • Mike Gravel: ‘You’ve got boiling water, you take a frog, you throw him in the water, the frog jumps out.’
    Al Gore: ‘But the very same frog, if it jumps into a pot of lukewarm water that is slowly brought to a boil, will just sit there.’
  • Hillary Clinton: ‘You put the frog in cold water, you just turn the heat up, you’re going to boil the frog. Well, we’ve been acting like frogs in cold water.’
  • Chris Matthews: ‘I feel like we’re the classic, sort of, what is it, the frog in the pot that keeps getting up to boiling level and it goes up a couple of degrees and you don’t even notice it and then all of a sudden you’re boiling?!’

Chris Matthews knows a lot about boiling frogs. He used to be one until someone kissed him and turned him into a boiling prince. Now the left uses this metaphor to describe the gradual erosion of civil liberties under the Bush administration. But remember, since Bush took office, we have not once been attacked by boiled frogs. So, to honor George Bush’s last day, I am placing on my bookshelf the frog that I have been slowly simmering since 2001. There you go. Mmhmm. There you go. This little guy is finally safe from terrorists. So, President-elect Obama, tomorrow, I hope you remember to thank President Bush for all the free frog broth. That’s it for the Report everybody. We’ll see you for the next 500. Goodnight!”

Video Highlight:

Tribute to the Bush Administration – Christine Ebersole
Christine Ebersole sings a tribute to all those who supported President Bush these last eight years.

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

  • Full Episode – 1/19/09
  • Intro – 01/19/09: Stephen celebrates Martin Luther King the way he does every day, by refusing to ride the bus.
  • MLK Day Mascot: In honor of the man who boldly said, “I have a dream,” Stephen proudly introduces the Martin Luther King Day mascot, Dreamy.
  • The Word – Sacrifice: Somehow President Bush manages to make something that was once evil into a virtue.
  • Frank Rich: Frank Rich says George W. Bush delivers a message of hope for mediocrity.
  • Boiling Frog Metaphor: To honor President Bush’s last day, Stephen places his slowly simmered frog on the bookshelf.


  • They said this day would never come, but here we are defying the odds and inspiring the world because today is my 500th show! Wooooo!
  • Usually I would have a balloon drop right now but evidently every balloon in the country is in Washington DC for Obama’s inauguration, so I took this one from a child. I feel terrible. [puts on hand sanitizer] They are germ factories. High as a kite.
  • It is also Martin Luther King Day, which President-elect Obama has declared a national day of service…I spent the day tending the grounds at the Stephen T Colbert Goose Sanctuary at LaGuardia Airport.
  • I am so worried about Honkers and Mrs. Snowdrop. No one has seen them since Thursday.
  • To really sell this holiday, make it mainstream, we need to market it. Martin Luther King Day needs a mascot, folks. I mean where’s the Christmas Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Veterans Day Godzilla. Of course, this mascot wouldn’t deliver toys or candy or destroy Tokyo. Instead, the King Day mascot would deliver a list of volunteer opportunities in your area.
  • I’m proud to introduce the Martin Luther King day mascot, Dreamy. Dreamy, come one out…So what should the good people be doing today?
    • The Levy Senior Center on Dempster St. needs sturdy volunteers to shovel walkways.
    • The Elmhurst JCC on Willow Creek Avenue wants people with handyman experience to water-seal their deck.
    • And if you’re interested in knitting blankets for the homeless, the Knights of Columbus say “come on down” to the Ramada Inn just off Route 30 at Exit 14
  • Now, show me those mountaintops. Dreamy flexes Oh wow, I have seen the Promised Land. Bye Dreamy! Oh, the things I have volunteered to do for that man.
  • It’s also the last day of George Bush’s presidency. clapping I know, I wish we could clap for him forever.
  • No President before Bush had to make tough decisions. Everyone else relied on Presidential-decision Plinko.
  • People used to say the President’s legacy would be the War in Iraq, but the last year of unqualified success has made the first four years of that war disappear. [Along With The Republican Party]
  • Others say it will be the financial meltdown, but the seeds of this crisis were clearly planted by President Clinton. [Not The Only Seeds He Planted]
  • I think that I caught a whiff of the President’s actual legacy last week, when Susan Crawford, a senior Bush Pentagon official, said we can’t prosecute terrorist Mohammed Al-Qahtani because we tortured Mohammed Al-Qahtani
  • I know torture gets some pretty bad press. [Yet “Benjamin Button” Gets 3 Stars?] That is just because until now, torture has been used irresponsibly. I mean, there’s no way that the Spanish Inquisition thought they were protecting Spain. Who knows why they boiled all those people? [Making World’s Largest Paella]
  • This administration condoned the use of torture because we are facing something unprecedented in the history of mankind. [Amazing Deals At Circuit City?] We are at war.
  • Plus, Dick Cheney knows it was legal. How does he know? [Cheney quote] He knows because he asked the lawyers he hired. [Firm Of Shockem, Drownstein, and Grointwist]
  • Folks, I know what you’re all thinking. “OK, Stephen, torture’s not illegal, but isn’t it wrong?” Well just ask these human rights experts: [clips of Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Jack Bauer] And you do not disagree with Jack Bauer.
  • So folks, let’s recap: it’s torture, it’s legal, and it’s right. [Like Listening To Hannity’s Radio Show]
  • Now consider what the President said in his farewell speech: “Good and evil are present in this world, and between the two there can be no compromise.”
  • No compromise. With this administration, there are no gray areas. Things are all good, or all evil. If torture is ever the right thing to do, then it is always the right thing to do. [Coming Soon: Saw XII!]
  • I think the President is leaving office with a truly historic legacy. [Most Brush Cleared?] Somehow, he has managed to make something that was once evil into a virtue.
  • To those of you who say the President never asked the public to sacrifice anything in a time of war, [*Offer Excludes Military Families] well, to you, I say you are just not paying attention, because clearly, he has asked us to sacrifice the difference between right and wrong.
  • My guest tonight is a columnist for the New York Times. I’ll ask him what he’s giving Obama for an inauguration gift besides a four year free ride. Please welcome Frank Rich!
  • Stephen: Why aren’t you at the inaugural? Aren’t you supposed to be cutting the ribbon on the tax and spend machine?
    • Frank Rich: I like being away from the party, trying to look at it objectively, as a journalist, see it the way the rest of Americans see it.
    • Stephen: I like to jump in feet first and get my elbows all dirty. That’s how I touch politicians by the way: with my elbows.
  • Stephen: You have been a relentless critic of George Bush in your writing. Today was his last day in office. You must be tickled pink. Happy finally?
  • Rich: Yes, I’m incredibly happy. I’m happy for the country.
  • Stephen: Why did you never give the guy a fair break though? The entire time you just hammered him, and you hammered him all the way to the end. Did you keep beating on him just hoping for a Pulitzer to drop out?
    • Rich: He just have us one reason after another. He ended up being Hoover, with an economy that’s the worst any of us have ever seen.
    • Stephen: So there’s going to be a giant dam built for him is what you’re saying. One of the modern marvels of the world.
    • Rich: Yes, we maybe can retire him to it if you can get him out of Dallas.
  • Rich: He did increase funding for AIDS in Africa, but that’s like getting the extra credit question right when you’ve flunked the rest of the exam.
  • Stephen: Is he the worst person ever in the history of mankind?
  • Rich: He is sort of an ordinary guy.
    • Stephen: He’s a Joe Six-pack.
    • Rich: He’s smaller than life, is my feeling. He’s like this guy who just sort of booted the whole thing along. New Orleans was drowning and he was giving awards and having a birthday party. It’s a very strange guy.
    • Stephen: But he gave hope to those of us who have just kind of, you know, phoned it in through life.
  • Rich: He showed you can get the most powerful job in the world and just sort of goof it up and get away with it from eight years
  • Stephen: How will you personally handle the transition from unflinching critic to unflinching yes-man. Cuz you guys have got a giant old man-crush on Obama. Seriously, give it up.
  • Rich: I’ve already been critical of Obama
    • Stephen: For what? His choice of tie?
  • Stephen: So, the New York Times is not the news that’s fit to print, it’s all the news that’s fit to pi$$ everybody off. You don’t want any friends.
    • Rich: If we could only use that word on the front page, that would be our slogan
  • Stephen: You have spent your entire career around newspapers. How much longer do you think that they will be in existence?
    • Rich: looks at watch
    • Stephen: Are you considering vocational training? Diesel mechanics or anything like that? Is Maureen Dowd learning how to give pedicures?
  • These last few days of the Bush presidency have been very emotional for me. I feel like someone’s water-boarding my heart.
  • I’m not alone. So many have hitched their wagons to Bush’s star, whether it was soaring through the heavens or hurdling toward the Earth, a glorious fiery sphere of apocalyptic good intentions. So tonight, I would like to thank all those celestial luminaries who supported him, from the Red Giants [Fred Thompson] to the White Dwarfs [John McCain].
  • It’s been a magical eight years, and I’ll never forget, what you did, what you did for love.
  • Christine Ebersole sings What I Did for Love from A Chorus Line. Interspersed is video, including video and audio from the following individuals:
    • Katherine Harris: I hereby declare Governor George W. Bush the winner
    • Colin Powell: 8500 liters of anthrax
    • Condoleezza Rice: We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.
    • Tony Blair: It’s a noble mission, and it’s right mission.
    • Douglas Feith: If we had left him in power, we would be fighting him down the road.
    • George Tenet: As if he needed me to say slam dunk to go to war with Iraq.
    • Scott McClellan: Those individuals assured me they were not involved in this.
    • Ebersole singing: Love’s what we’ll remember [clips of Alberto Gonzalez not recalling much about the firing of US Attorneys.]
    • John McCain: I endorse Governor Bush, I endorse Governor Bush, I endorse Governor Bush.
    • Rudy Giuliani: Thank God George Bush is our President
    • George Bush: Sometimes the biggest disappointments will come from your so-called friends.

Fangirl Suit Report: Black suit, light blue shirt, french cuffs, red-, white-, and blue-striped tie, WristStrong bracelet.

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