Episode 5026 (02/24/09)

1997 Flashback

  • Intro: Mardi Gras Celebrations

Stephen Colbert’s Bears and Balls:

  • Company Bailouts

Nailed ‘Em:

  • Buffet Crime


  • Cliff Sloan


Cliff SloanThe Great Decision: Jefferson, Adams, Marshall, and the Battle for the Supreme Court

In closing: “Well, that’s it for The Report everybody. Happy Mardi Gras!”

Video Highlight: 1997 Flashback Stephen hits the Internet to buy some pets.com stock on his new iMac.

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


  • It’s Mardi Gras everybody!
  • Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez.
  • *Oh, Stephen. You and your silly dances.*
  • Oh, yes. It is Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday, Carnival, the Feast of Saint Show-Me-Your-Tits.
  • They have taken to the streets in Rio. “Hello, Ladies.” In Venice, Italy, where evidently creepy equals fun, and in New Orleans, where Mayor Nagin dressed up as a man who evidently doesn’t care about getting elected.
  • Nation, let’s make this the fattest Tuesday ever because tomorrow is starve to death Wednesday.
  • Alright, who wants some beads?
  • Actually, you know what? I’m sorry, folks. In this economy I can’t afford to give away a whole string. No, hold on, we’ll get there. Here’s a bead – just show me a nipple.
  • It’s going to be a long lent.
  • Tonight is also President Obama’s first address to Congress. I’m TiVo-ing it. Don’t tell me who won.
  • I certainly hope he was a little more optimistic than he has been. *Clips plays of Obama talking about the economic crisis turning into a depression.*
  • It’s all part of his plan to stimulate the economy through sales of Paxil.
  • What is the matter, Mr. President? Was “hope “forced to resign due to tax problems?
  • There is good news to report out there. *Clip of discussion about the stock exchange trading at levels not seen in 12 years.*
  • It’s 1997! Jimmy! *”Mmm-Bop” starts playing and Stephen starts dancing.*
  • Folks, Ross and Rachel are back together. We are desperately keeping our Tamagotchis alive, and we know the stock market still has a couple primo bubbles ahead of it.
  • So, let’s hit the internet to buy some pets.com on my new iMac.
  • Oh, what’s that? These don’t come out until 1998? Well, let’s just say that it helps that I am a celebrity in the future.
  • So, let’s just log-on here to AOL, and get jiggy wit’ it.
  • *Stephen is logging onto AOL with his dial-up modem, drinking a wine cooler*
  • Okay, here we go. Jimmy could you throw this up on the big screen? *It’s good ol’ AOL 5.0*
  • Disconnected! Mom! Get off the phone! God, to hell with it! We’re screwed, we’re screwed!
  • I hate it when she does that. I’ve gotta move out.
  • There are some dark times ahead folks. In the past year, a lot of businesses have gone under, like Circuit City, Linens-n-Things, and Circuits-n-Linens, which makes bedding for your DVD player.
  • And now “U.S. News” says we might lose 15 American companies this year, which is actually good news because I wasn’t sure we had 15 companies left.
  • So, should tax payers bailout these companies? This is Stephen Colbert’s Bears and Balls.
  • Now folks, in tough times the only thing that gives me confidence is the advice of a big, red button.
  • Eat your pets.
  • Now one company on the brink is the pizza chain, Sbarro.
  • Now this is a shocker. Everyone knows the finest cheese is aged, and no cheese slice sits out longer than the ones at Sbarro.
  • So, should we bailout Sbarro? Well, they do employ almost 6,000 people in 45 states. Plus, Sbarro is a mall staple.
  • If they go under, who’s next? Spencer’s Gifts? Where will America go for our fart and fart-related accessories?
  • On the other hand, sometimes at Sbarro the parmesan cheese gets stuck in the shaker and it won’t come out as fast as I like.
  • So, f*ck ’em.
  • They are just going to have cut costs by eliminating expensive ingredients like cheese and tomatoes.
  • Why not the new crust-lover’s pizza? A thick crust pizza, topped with crusty-crust, with crust baked right into the crust. More crust please!
  • Next company in trouble – Six Flags.
  • The theme park giant has been losing money as consumers tighten their belts.
  • Besides, no roller coaster can match the stomach-churning terror of checking your 401K.
  • But with 21 parks across North America, the Six Flags brand is synonymous with fun, and keeps kids in a drug-free environment provided they don’t talk to any of the employees.
  • On the other hand, these rides can lead to physical trauma.
  • And then, of course, there’s the emotional trauma of going to Great America with your buddy, Chuck, and two girls from French class, one of whom is Ginny Peterson, who you have a crush on, but you’ve been too chicken-sh*t to ask out. And all you want to do is sit next to her one time on the Demon or the Yankee-Clipper, but Chuck keeps leaping to the seat next to her, even though you’ve only been talking about how much you’ve liked her since the 6th grade. So, you’re stuck sitting next to her friend, Sharon, who’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but she has one of those little mustaches, and you’re no Simon Le Bon yourself, but come on! And then Ginny hooks up with some varsity wrestler from Tosa East, and they end up dating way past graduation, and for all you care, they’re probably married and fat by now. And Chuck ditches you to make out with Sharon in his Miyata, so you have to head home on the bus from Gurnee.
  • So bail out Six Flags? F*ck ’em.
  • And as for Sharon and Chuck? F*ck ’em.
  • Hey, Six Flags, here’s a tip. Maybe you wouldn’t be in such a financial pickle if you stopped blowing all that cash on flags. I think one should do it.
  • Finally, one troubled company near to my heart is Muzak. The company that creates elevator music has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  • This is terrible. Jimmy, hit me with some of that sweet sound while I can still get it. *We get some head-poppin’ action from Stephen as the music plays.*
  • Muzak has always been my favorite band.
  • I used to follow them across country from elevator to elevator.
  • By the way, it is against the law to have an open flame in an elevator. Once again, my court-ordered prayers go out to all the victims.
  • Now without Muzak, what do we listen to? Music? Have you heard that stuff? It has audible percussion.
  • So button, should we bail out Muzak?
  • I guess I’m on hold. We’ll be right back.
  • Nation, tough economic times often lead to a spike in crime. That’s why we must keep our foot firmly planted on the neck of the twitching body of justice.
  • What you about to see is a horrifying crime. So if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding or thinking about breast-feeding, stop watching now. This is Nailed ‘Em.
  • America’s War of Crime – protecting our way of life from those who live by no law.
  • And that puts a smile on this guy’s face.
  • Until he got to point “nailed”.
  • So Dan could fill up on deep-fried crime.
  • Dan got fully untucked, then cased the defenseless buffet. It had a sneeze-guard, but it really needed a Dan-Guard.
  • And that’s when the sh*t went down.
  • And at an all-you-can-eat buffet, sharing is a crime.
  • Zero tolerance is management’s only weapon. Just ask buffet-expert, J.R. Gibson.
  • No, it’s a crime. Lock him up.
  • And this particular “that” sends a message to the criminal element in America – don’t share the plate if you can’t do the fate.
  • My guest is here to talk about the famous Supreme Court case, Marbury vs. Madison. Let’s see how he does in Colbert vs. Guest. Please welcome, Cliff Sloan.
    • SC: People may not remember this, but you vetted some Supreme Court justices, some candidates for the Supreme Court during the Clinton administration, and you vetted me for consideration for the Obama administration. We actually have a clip of that.
    • *Clips rolls of Stephen being vetted.*
    • SC: Now I seem to remember that I passed that test. How come no appointments came calling, my friend?
    • Sloan: Stephen, you may remember some issues came up in your vet.
    • SC: No, I have selective memory.
    • Sloan: Okay. Well, there was something about drug use – and was it “High Snow: Lord of the Blowlands” was your name in college?
    • SC: Let’s move on. Let’s move on. Okay, I thought it was because I pay my taxes. Your new book is called – you’re the co-author of a new book called, “The Great Decision: Jefferson, Adams, Marshall, and the Battle for the Supreme Court.” That’s as much as I read. Now, my understanding is this is about Marbury vs. Madison. Tell the people why that’s significant in your eyes.
    • Sloan: Marbury vs. Madison is the case where the Supreme Court first struck down an act of Congress as unconstitutional. And, it was the first time that it established that the Supreme Court had that power.
    • SC: Where in the Constitution does it say the Supreme Court has that power?
    • Sloan: Well, it’s in the structure of the Constitution is what John Marshall said.
    • SC: Where are the words in the Constitution where it says the Supreme Court has that power?
    • Sloan: It doesn’t have…
    • SC: So the Supreme Court is unconstitutional?
    • Sloan: No, it’s not.
    • SC: Don’t we need a Supreme-r Court? *Points to himself*
    • Sloan: No, we’ve got a Supreme Court. And many people at the time thought the Supreme Court did not have the power to declare laws unconstitutional. Thomas Jefferson bitterly opposed that power, and that’s why Marbury vs. Madison is the great decision. Because it establishes this corner stone of the American Rule of Law.
    • SC: So, at that point the Supreme Court sort of invested itself with power?
    • Sloan: Well, it established that it had power.
    • SC: Well, yeah. Exactly. And who ruled that they had that power? The Supreme Court, so John Marshall is the original activist judge, legislating from the bench. Let’s just go with yes.
    • Sloan: No, let’s go with no. John Marshall is the great Chief Justice, who really chiseled our system.
    • SC: Is “grab for power” your idea of great? That means George Bush is the greatest president of all time. Would you agree with that?
    • Sloan: No, I would not. John Marshall established the Rule of Law, and…
    • SC: What was happening before then? We were just monkeys trading coconuts? What do you mean, “he established the Rule of Law”?
    • Sloan: You know former Chief Justice, William Rehnquist, said that Marbury vs. Madison is the greatest contribution that Americans ever made to the art of government, and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said that because of Marbury vs. Madison, individuals have rights and liberties that no political majority can take away, and nations around the world look to Marbury vs. Madison because it established this Rule of Law.
    • SC: The argument here was I understand is that Adams made a bunch of appointments that Jefferson didn’t like. Right?
    • Sloan: He made these last minutes, mid-night appointments which really bugged Jefferson.
    • SC: He stacked the deck in all the courts.
    • Sloan: Yes, on his way out, that’s right. Adams was packing the court and packing the federal government with all his appointees. He stayed up late his last night in the White House, signing these commission papers, and trying to get as many judges and other officials appointed as he could, and Jefferson hated that.
    • SC: And so, Jefferson tried to overturn what Adams wanted, what Adams did in the previous administration?
    • Sloan: Right. Jefferson found a pile of letters, sitting on a table in the State Department, and he realized these were the official papers of appointing them, and he said, “Don’t deliver these.” He basically said, “We’re not going to deliver these.”
    • SC: So that’s like, that’s the 19th century equivalent of not opening the e-mail.
    • Sloan: Exactly, that’s exactly right.
    • SC: Well, Cliff Sloan, thank you so much for joining us. The book is “The Great Decision.” Cliff Sloan – we’ll be right back.

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