Episode 5012 (1/22/2009)

“Congratulations to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on its thirteen Oscar nominations. See? Americans do support torture! This is The Colbert Report!”

As the World Yearns: “Tonight! The world reacts to President Obama, and I yell back in Esperanto.”

  • Un-American News: President Obama Edition

Minority Report: “Then, I’ll profile the head of the NAACP. But not racially.”

  • Better Know a Lobby: NAACP President Benjamin Jealous

Jackson Five Minutes: “And my guest Jon Meacham has a book about Andrew Jackson. When is someone going to write a book about Tito?”

  • Jon Meacham: Editor of Newsweek


Jon MeachamAmerican Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House

In closing: “Well, that’s it for the Report, everybody. And kids, if you’re playing at home, tonight’s secret word is ‘Refreshing Sierra Mist.’ You know you’re a winner if you spot it in the grocery store and you get your mom to buy all of it. Good luck!”

Video Highlight:

Better Know a Lobby: NAACP
Even after Barack Obama is elected president, NAACP President Benjamin Jealous won’t admit racism is over.

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


  • “For weeks I have been working on my Caroline Kennedy impression. And now no one will ever hear it. Would you like to…? [audience cheers] well, if you insist; I have put a lot of work into it… [in JFK-esque voice]Ich bin ein Caroline Kennedy! It’s better with the wig and an enourmous set of teeth.”
  • “As we all know, Tuesday was an historic day. For the first time in history, an African-American almost became president.”
  • “Oh, I love improv! Now do it as a Western! No, a Science Fiction movie!”
  • “On the plus side, it does make my President Obama air-freshener far more valuable, now that it is a rare misprint. Mm, new president smell.”
  • “But nice try, near-President Obama, BUT YOU DIDN’T SWEAR IN ON A BIBLE!!”
  • “I swear on a bible every night before I brush my teeth. Otherwise, how will my mouth know that I’m serious about tartar control?”
  • “But the lack of a bible wasn’t the only godless part of this secret rendezvous. According to the Washington Post, ‘there’s no formal name for what President Obama and Chief Justice John G. Roberts did last night.’ and Obama himself said quote, ‘We’re going to do it very slowly.’ Oh. He emulates Lincoln, alright.”
  • “This would be a huge scandal, if Obama were, in fact, President. However, as I pointed out yesterday, we have to go by the Constitution, which clearly states that whoever is on camera at noon Inauguration Day is Commander-in-Chief. It was Ben Franklin’s idea.”
  • “Yesterday, I officially welcomed our 44th president, Yo Yo Ma! I’m sorry; President Ma. That’s going to take some getting used to. Jimmy, throw up that campaign logo!” [graphic of Obama’s logo and name; the letters “O-B-A” are crossed out in the name so the poster reads “MA”.]
  • “Might I suggest that these troubled times call for more vibrato?”
  • Obamahnia: It’s similar to Obamania, but you yell it through an Alp Horn.”
  • “Get your own historic inaugurations. France: inaugurate an Algerian. Russia: elect a Kossak. Zimbabwe: inaugurate the guy who won your election.”
  • “This is a big step forward. Most African inauguration ceremonies involve slaughtering the outgoing president.”
  • “He’s so popular down there, that ‘look-a-like of his grandmother’ is now a job. And it has been filled. Sorry, Tyler Perry.”
  • “The Palestinians wanted to be happy, but by law, they have to feel the opposite of whatever Israel feels.”
  • “The hand of Satan is where it has always been: In Dick Cheney’s study. Where he uses it to make wishes.”
  • “You stop your tank for one protestor, it is a slippery slope to not crushing Tibet.”
  • “I too have altered Obama’s Inaugural Adress to take out the parts I found objectionable.” [chopped clips of Obama’s speech: “My fellow citizens– I thank President Bush–For the sun and the winds and the soil–We have tasted the bitter swill of–stale–meat–at a local restaurant…The success of our economy has always depended on–missles and tanks…God bless the United States of America.”]
  • “President Obama has promised to rein in lobbyists. That’s scary news for lobbyists, except of course for the ‘Reins and Harness Lobby.’ They are gonna rake it in.”
  • “The fightin’ coloreds!”
  • “Ever since African Americans were invented in the late sixteenth century, they’ve had to overcome terrible obstacles like slavery. [graphic of LeVar Burton in the movie Roots] But today, they can be anything from educators [graphic of LeVar Burton on “Reading Rainbow”] to starship engineers.” [graphic of LeVar Burton on “Star Trek- The Next Generation”]
  • “Today, all Americans, regardless of race, have access to the same failing schools.”
  • VOTE Bennett Johnson: “Hey! I wasn’t in the KKK!”
    • Stephen: I don’t see race. Are you black? It’s not necessarily important; it’s just that I have certain expectations of how certain races will behave. And I like to filter the way that someone’s going to speak so that they match up to my expectations.
    • Benjamin Jealous:And what happens when they don’t?
    • Stephen: I tend to ignore those parts.
    • Jealous: And that’s the problem.
    • Stephen: This is excellent timing for you to be black right now. That shows great judgement. Now, the NAACP. Tell me about the fightin’ colored people. Who are they?
    • Jealous: We’re fighting to advance the notion that this should be one country. We want to improve the way that people of color and black people are treated in this society, because ultimately, we want a floor for how all people are treated.
    • Stephen: The NAACP will be celebrating it’s 100th anniversary on February ninth.
    • Jealous:That’s right.
    • Stephen: This is also the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.
    • Jealous: We were founded on the centennial of his birth: February 12th, 1909.
    • Stephen: Um, it’s your 100th anniversary, and it’s his 200th birthday?
    • Jealous: We were founded on the centennial of his birth. We were founded on his 100th birthday.
    • Stephen: [visibly working hard at a math problem in his head]
    • Jealous: One hundred plus one hundred–
    • Stephen:Shh… That’s right. Let’s get down to it. We’re in a post-racial society, right?
    • Jealous: We are not in a post-racism society. That’s the problem.
    • Stephen: That’s semantics.
    • Jealous: No. Racism in this country exists; race is a lie; racism is real.
    • Stephen: Can’t you see how it just sounds like you’re being stubborn? You know, we went to the trouble to elect an Afro-American president, and you won’t admit that racism is over. He’s up on that mountain top! He can tell you guys what it’s like. I mean, like he can describe it. Not everybody went up to the mountain top; only Moses did.
    • Jealous: We were trained that when you do well, you reach back.
    • Stephen:Why reach back?
    • Jealous: To pull forward.
    • Stephen: Why don’t we just do a reach-around and just ignore that racism exists and reach forward to where we want to be?
    • Jealous: We can reach forward, reach around; but what I’m saying is grab somebody and pull them with you.
    • Stephen: Okay. So just, grab somebody and give them a reach-around.
    • Jealous: Grab somebody and give them a leg up.
    • Stephen: While you’re giving them a reach-around. Changing gears. Barack Obama has been president for 36 hours. What’s your biggest dissapointment so far?
    • Jealous: None. Absolutely none.
    • Stephen: So you’re satisfied that racism has just continued and he has done nothing to end it.
    • Jealous: He’s done a tremendous amount to get all children hope that they can do whatever they want.
    • Stephen: Some people say that this feels like the beginning of the Kennedy administration; when there’s a new hope, a young president, and ambition for the country.
    • Jealous: And a beautiful family.
    • Stephen: And a beautiful family. Do you think that by the end of this decade that we can put a black man on the moon?
    • Jealous: Yes.
    • Stephen: Can I offer a bold suggestion on how to get rid of this whole racism thing? I thought of this last night when I was soaping up in the shower. I thought, as I looked down at myself and I saw myself all soapy; even the parts of me that aren’t white were white at that point; and I thought, why not just have everybody be white? And then there’s no racism.
    • Jealous: Sounds like a great end…
    • Stephen: You’re welcome.
    • Jealous: But the reality is, we’re aspiring for everybody to be treated as well as white people.
    • Stephen: I just think you’re not dreaming big enough. I can’t believe I put more thought into this than you have. Why not dream- as I believe Dr. King did- that one day everyone would be the same color?
    • Jealous: Well, in my family, you could pass for black.
    • Stephen: Is there a chance that I’m black? Stephen Colbert: black man?
    • Jealous: We could be cousins. We should check it out.
  • “My guest tonight has a new book about Andrew Jackson. His nickname was ‘Old Hickory’ because when he died, they smoked him.”
    • Stephen: The name of this book is American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. Why American Lion? That’s an African animal. Was he the first African-American president, by any chance?
    • Jon Meacham: He was not, though he created the office that Obama now holds.
    • Stephen: There was no president before that? What did we have before that, a Viceroy?
    • Stephen:Washington was a powerful president, wasn’t he?
    • Meacham: Not as powerful as Jackson.
    • Stephen: I bet he could beat him in a wrestling match.
    • Stephen: George Bush choked on a pretzel. Where’s his book?
    • Meacham: Jackson saved the union from a bunch of hot-heads in South Carolina-
    • Stephen: Woah, hold on a second here.
    • Meacham: He later said that his two regrets in public life were that he had not shot Calhoun and hung Henry Clay. So the Dick Cheney thing started a long time ago.
    • Stephen: Last time you were here, you s&*%-hammered the Catholic Church, and now you’re after my home state!
    • Meacham: It’s a sexy word. I don’t want to dazzle you too much: nullification.
    • Stephen: That’s hot.
    • Meacham: Down, boy.
    • Stephen: So the White House became a frat house?
    • Meacham: Precisely. Long before… in other ways.
    • Stephen: Can Obama learn anything from Meacham?
    • Meacham: Very little from Meacham. but he can learn from Jackson in that Jackson understood that a president has to be a character in the lives of his followers.
    • Stephen: Would he have had a BlackBerry?
    • Meacham: He would have loved YouTube.
    • Stephen: So he would have covered his head in airplane glue, set it on fire, and ridden a skateboard off the roof?

Fangirl Suit Report:Black pinstripe suit, light robin’s-egg blue shirt, navy striped tie, barrel cuffs, red Wrist-Strong bracelet.

If you're new to our Zoner community, please read the No Fact Zone Comment Policy before commenting. Thank you!