Episode 5017 (2/2/2009)

It’s Groundhog Day. Gentlemen, start your groundhogs! This is The Colbert Report!”

Iceland of the Lost: “The government collapses in Iceland, or as it will soon be known thanks to global warming, Landland.”

  • Icelanders eat Skyr
  • Iceland has filed for bankruptcy
  • Iceland has elected a gay prime minister

Blood on the Tracks: “Are our railroads safe, or should be be spending more on anti-hobo technology?”

  • Tom Patire is a counterterrorism expert and a bad@$$
  • Duane Kerzic was arrested in Penn Station while taking photos of trains for an Amtrak contest
  • Tom Patire says train terrorism is a very serious threat

Dan In Real Strife: “My guest Dan Zaccagnino created a website that lets anyone collaborate to create dance music, kinda like wiki-wiki-wiki-pedia.”

  • Indabamusic allows musical collaboration among people around the world
  • Remixing Stephen and Lawrence Lessig was a major project
  • Stephen remains rhythmically irate that people are remixing his words


Dan ZaccagninoIndabamusic.com

In closing:So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodnight! That works so much better when I’m wearing lederhosen.”

Video Highlight:

Dan Zaccagnino
Stephen is angry with Dan Zaccagnino for allowing Indaba Music users to remix his interview.

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


  • I cannot tell you what that ovation means to me. The world is changing so fast, ladies and gentlemen, there are times when I feel like a dinosaur. I don’t know what kind of dinosaur. Brontosaur, not that’s too big. Triceratops, not that’s not quite right. Something small or very fast with hooks on his hands. [imitates a dinosaur]
  • No one tell Diane Feinstein not everyone in Congress gets paid in saltines
  • I say this Ledbetter legislation is unfair. Women are the ones who get discriminated against the most, which means they’re going to benefit from this law more than men. That is sexist.
  • Not to mention many in the business community say the measure could discourage employers from hiring women. Exactly. If you can’t discriminate against women, what is the point of hiring them. I guess the only reasonable answer is to hire nothing but women and pay them all equally horribly.
  • Obama signed the bill on Thursday, which means I can no longer discriminate legally. From now on, I’ll have to discriminate under the table, which will be difficult, because that’s usually where I do my harassment. It’s going to get crowded down there.
  • This new law totally disrupts my pay-scale, which is the scale I use to weigh people when deciding how much to pay them. Anyway, I better make amends. Jay, can you come out here please?
    • Stephen: Jay, I’m going to stop discriminating against you because you’re fat
    • Jay: What, because I’m fat?
    • Stephen: Jay, it doesn’t matter any more. I’m going to stop deducting postage from your paycheck just because your ass has its own zip code
    • Jay: Stephen, I’m not fat
    • Stephen: Really? Because, you get paid way less than you should. Are you a lady? Are you black? Are you blind which is why you don’t know you’re a black lady? Prove to me you’re not blind by reading this. [hands him a piece of paper]
    • Jay: [reading] I am fat
    • Stephen: Jay, I doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter man, it’s over, I won’t pay you less anymore.
    • Jay: Stephen, you don’t pay me anything, I’m an intern.
    • Stephen: Wait a minute. If I’m not paying you, then that means I’m not discriminating, I’m being a jerk. Well that’s legal.
    • [Jay walks away]
    • Stephen: [singing, falsetto] I don’t think I’m ready for this jelly, cuz your body’s too bootylicious for me Jay.
  • Our country is in crisis. Look no further than the reporting of Anderson Cooper: “We are rotting from within.” Anderson, everything is going to be OK. You just got a whiff of Lou Dobbs.
  • No matter how bad it is here, America, it could be worse. Tonight’s worse place: Iceland, an inhospitable rocky island in the north Atlantic. If you’re looking for a good time in Iceland, get on the first plane to Norway.
  • This here is a bowl of skyr. It’s a traditional Icelandic soft cheese similar to yogurt. [tastes some] mmm. They don’t call it similar to yogurt for nothing. This Skyr is actually one of the major exports of Iceland. And not this kind of yogurt, I mean this particular bowl.
  • In October, the country of Iceland declared bankruptcy. Which is surprising. For some reason, the Icelandic people lost faith in their currency, which looks like this. Who doesn’t want whimsical currency? Zany hats add confidence.
  • Now, civil disorder has broken out. Angry protesters have chanted, screamed, and banged pots and pans, which went largely unnoticed as politicians assumed someone was just listening to the latest Bjork album.
  • Finally, last Monday, the government of Iceland collapsed, and panicking Icelanders have installed an openly gay head of state, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir. How many lesbian prime ministers can the world handle? There’s already Canada’s Stephen Harper.
  • So there you have it, America, our economy may be tanking, but at least we’re not Iceland, a frigid rock in the middle of nowhere that has gone bankrupt and gone gay.
  • Yes, they may have free health care, a 99.9% literacy rate, and more clean renewable energy per capita than any other country in the world, but they also eat skyr.
  • Of course, airport security is important, but just as important is security on our trains, especially given how close they are to the wrong side of the tracks.
  • We all know that Amtrak is devoted to security. For years they’ve protected their passengers from their destination. But now, there’s an even bigger threat. Terrorists, who want nothing more than to destroy our 40 minute unexpected delays outside Baltimore.
  • America’s homeland security, the heroes who protect us from them. And these days, them is all around us.
  • Tom Patire is a counterterrorism expert, and a total freaking bad@$$.
  • Tom Patire: The purpose of counterterrorism is to weed these people who that are sleepers in our society. That is the main purpose, to get them before they get us. Once you show you’re vulnerable, that allows the so-called small dog to keep going after the big dog. [Stephen voiceover: well woof woof.]
  • This small dog got a one-way trip to the pound when he was caught— holy s#*t, is walking a cat?
  • Duane Kerzic: My name is Duane Kerzic.
  • Voiceover: Duane Kerzic has something to hide, and whatever it is, I think it’s in there.
  • Duane Kerzic: I’m not hiding anything
  • Voiceover: On December 21st, 2001, Kerzic went on a mission to New York’s Penn Station
  • Duane Kerzic: I got on the train to Penn Station New York. I got off the train at approximately 11:52 AM. I walked to the west end of the platform I was on, and when I got to the exit [Voiceover: What happened next will shock you] my shoe was untied, [OK, it’s actually the next thing] so I stopped to untie my shoe. [I’m sorry, one more] When I stood back up, Officer liosbarsky and smith were standing there. [Voiceover: There they were, the watchmen of freedome, justice on the rails: the Amtrak police] They asked me what I was doing and I said I was taking photographs.
  • Voiceover: Photographs with suspicious intent
  • Kerzic: My intention when I went to the station that day was just to get a couple of good photos that were shiny. [Voiceover: shiny]
  • Kerzic: They searched me, and they then handcuffed me to a wall over for over an hour while they figured out what they were going to do.
  • Voiceover: Finally, Kerzic cracked and revealed the reason he was taking his terrifying photos.
  • Kerzic: The reason I was taking photos of trains is every year Amtrak has a contest, it’s called Picture Our Train
  • Voiceover: They nailed— hold on, let’s review:
    • 1) Amtrak announces a photography contest
    • 2) Kerzic takes photographs for Amtrak’s photography contest
    • 3) Amtrak police arrest Kerzic for taking photos
    • [OK checks out]
  • Voiceover: But Kerzic wasn’t working alone. He’s a member of the National Press Photographer’s Association, a shadowy network that gathers in dark rooms and fears overexposure. Todd Miasel is their leader, and he has vowed to hit back hard.
  • Maisel: They will not get away with this. We will be relentless on this. There’s a number of folks that will be sending them this. [Voiceover: Letters] And we will get further response from them. [Voiceover: Response] I think that rational people will talk this over. [Some have already talked too much.] A terrorist does not need a picture to know that Penn Station is crowded at 5 PM. [Voiceover: Well they don’t now, Todd]
    • Voiceover: Clearly, the threat of photography to our nation’s rail system is very real
    • Patire: The threat is very real
    • Voiceover: The threat is absolutely, 100% real.
    • Patire: The threat is absolutely, 100% real.
    • Voiceover: Really real
    • Patire: Really real
    • Voiceover: Really really real
    • Patire: Really really real
  • Voiceover: But you can feel safe, America, because Duane Kerzic was arrested. [Kerzic: Yes I got arrested] For terrorism [Kerzic: For trespassing.] Well they both start with a T, and that stands for tnailed.
  • Voiceover: I’m beginning to feel like we didn’t really nail this guy. [Patire: Let’s face it, he got nailed.] It doens’t really seem like it. [Patire:He was nailed.] Really? [Yeah.] Nailed ’em!
  • Kerzic: I’m still going to enter the contest.
  • This photography contest is Amtrak’s cleverest ruse since their so-called timetables.
  • My guest tonight created a website that allows musicians to collaborate like an online band. Well then how do we know who the cute one is? Please welcome Dan Zaccagnino:
  • Stephen: You are the cofounder of Indaba music here. That does not sound like an English word. What does it mean?
  • Zaccagnino: It’s actually a Zulu word.
  • Stephen: Zulu? You know we don’t live in Zululand, but go ahead, yes.
  • Zaccagnino: It loosely translates to “a collaborative form” which really embodies what Indaba music is all about.
  • Zaccagnino: Musicians from all over the world come to our website and they create music together.
  • Stephen: Do they have avatars, you know, avatars have little tiny instruments or something like that?
  • Zaccagnino: Well they do have profiles.
  • Stephen: Or are the people actually instruments, like someone comes on like a cello?
  • Zaccagnino: Every musician has their own profile, you can search other people’s profiles, find someone, and then I could lay down a guitar track in LA, you could lay down a bass track here [Stephen: Oh a hot, hot bass track], and Tek Jansen in New Terra Outer Galaxy could lay down a synth part and we could make a song together.
  • Zaccagnino: One of the first collaborations that happened on Indaba was myself, and one of my business partners, and a gentleman in Nigeria.
  • Stephen: Was he a Nigerian prince asking you for your bank account number, because that has happened before.
  • Zaccagnino: He was, but he can also sing great.
  • Stephen: How many people are doing this, how many people are signed up for this site?
  • Zaccagnino: Right now there’s about 125,000 musicians in over 170 countries.
  • Stephen: Wow. What’s the biggest single group that’s come together to work on something?
  • Zaccagnino: Actually, I would have to say that that very well could be the remix that we did for The Colbert Report
  • Stephen: OK, now let’s get into something here. I am suddenly very angry at you, I forgot to be angry. Lawrence Lessig was on my show a couple of weeks back and he was talking about how anybody should be able to remix anybody’s work without copyright infringement, and I told my audience not to do that to our interview. They did it anyway and this is the interview that resulted. [remix] That is just eye-popping fresh right there. Then I got angry, I got really angry at my audience, and told them this: (“I don’t want you to mix my words in a song to play in a club that will make you grind OK make you grind.”) Couldn’t be clearer. And, just like the very first remix, your people on Indaba came out in the hundreds to create remixes of that. [another remix]
  • Stephen: Just look how angry I am. I cannot think of what to do with my body.
  • Zaccagnino: Can’t help it.
  • Stephen: How do we stop this?
  • Zaccagnino: Why do you want to stop this? It’s fantastic.
  • Stephen :Because it’s infringing on my words. That is copyright infringement, friend.
  • Zaccagnino: But look at all the great exposure that it’s brought to the show. You have hundreds of people thinking about your show for hours and hours and hours creating this music and then spreading it around the internet.
  • Stephen: Well I always have hundreds of people thinking about my show. Most of them are me. I just hope no one remixes this interview, that’s what I hope.
  • Zaccagnino: I hope so too.
  • Stephen: I know these people can come together and create these incredible creations, I’ll give it up, they’re wonderful, you saw me popping and locking just now, but how do, on internet collaborations, how do girlfriends come in and break up the band?
  • Zaccagnino: Let’s look at it this way. Maybe if all collaborations happened on the internet, there would never have been a Yoko.
  • Stephen: Or, she would be a robot.

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