Pop Culture References in The Colbert Report Mar 7-10, 2011

Pop Culture references from the Colbert ReportWelcome to No Fact Zone’s weekly roundup of cultural references on The Colbert Report. From Darcy to Danger Mouse, String Theory to Shakespeare, we’ve got the keys to this week’s obscure, oddball, and occasionally obscene cultural shout-outs (hey!).

Sholem-aleykhem Zoners! I hope your Daylight Savings Time was…ok, maybe not enjoyable, but I sure hope you remembered it! Hey, it’s the only bit of time travel I’ve ever done, so at least I have that going for me. It was a great week of shows, and it sure challenged my fact finding noggin, which I always enjoy. I do have to add that I wouldn’t mind showing Stephen my advanced degree for a few beads! Which segments did you enjoy?


On Notice/Dead to Me – Mike Huckabee

The Kenyan view of the Mau Mau Revolution is far different from the American view, which is generally “what is the Mau Mau Revolution?”

The Mau Mau Rebellion occurred in Kenya between 1952 and 1956. Kenya was a British Colony during this time, and the goal of the rebellion was to remove British rulers and European settlers from the colony, subsequently establishing Kenya as it’s own sovereign nation. The Mau Mau were a militant group of nationalists associated with the Kikuyu people of Kenya. By the end of the four year rebellion, over 11,000 rebels were killed, along with 100 Europeans and around 2,000 African loyalists. For a timeline of the events of the rebellion, go here. Also, here is some information on the Sultan of Zanzibar, who was overthrown by another revolution that occurred after Zanzibar gained independence from Britain in 1963.

Joshua Foer

You look like the keyboarder from Kraftwerk.

Kraftwerk is an electronic music band from Düsseldorf, Germany. The band, whose name means “power plant” or “power station” were part of the krautrock music scene of the late 1960s and 70s. Their music has influenced the work of many others including Depeche Mode, Human League and Franz Ferdinand. Others, such as Jay-Z and Simple Minds have sampled and covered their music. In all truth, I think Joshua looks like their past keyboardist Karl Bartos, rather than their current one, Henning Schmitz.


Happy Mardi Gras & International Women’s Day

Laissez les bons temps rouler, which I believe is French for..

“Let the good times roll”, actually. It is a Cajun French (or Louisiana Regional French) expression oft repeated during Mardi Gras celebrations. Although – were you to speak it to other French speaking folk, they probably wouldn’t understand it, as it is not considered idiomatic French. Rather, it is English directly translated to Cajun French. To say the same thing in idiomatically correct French one might say “Que la fête commence!” or “profitez des bons moments”

Light Bulb Ban

And this light bulb ban has set off a Watt Riot

This is an obvious pun of the Watts Riots, which took place in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles California over 6 days in August of 1965 that left 34 people dead and 1,032 injured. The riots were sparked by an incident between police officer Lee Minkus, and two brothers – Marquette and Ronald Frye -whom he had pulled over for suspected drunk driving. After Marquette failed sobriety tests, Minkus refused to let Ronald drive the car home and had it impounded, which set off a struggle between the two brothers and their mother and escalated into a fight between him and a gathering of onlookers, which eventually turned into a riotous mass between cops and residents. The riot was fueled by racial tensions which had been building up in the area for some time.


Bench Press – Anthony Weiner

How dare you sir, how dare you – you are a shanda to the goyim!

I am shepping such nachas for you right now

I can give you such a zetz!

Lots of goodies from this exchange. For instance, when he says Anthony is a “shanda to the goyim” he is, essentially, saying that he is a scandal (shanda) to the people (goyim) or “shaming the Jews” in the eyes of the world. The phrase “shepping nachas” translates as “deriving pleasure from, and exhibiting pride for something that someone did/does”. And when Stephen says that he is going to give Anthony “such a zetz”, he is referring to punching him or giving such a “whack.” Also, when he mentioned he was going to “potch his tuchus” he basically means he was going to spank his rear end.

David Brooks

We’ve been told our whole lives we’ve gotta have confidence we’ve gotta go out there and say “Hello world, look at me”
Are you quoting the Torah?

The Torah (meaning “teachings”) is the entire body of Jewish law – oral and written. It is the first of three parts of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh). It contains the Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. These are also found as the first five books in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. According to tradition, God revealed these instructions for the Jewish people to Moses at Mount Sinai. The Torah teaches Jews how to act, think and even feel about life and death.


Newt Gingrich Wants to Screw America

Some people join the army, some people wear a flag pin and some people cheat on their wives while she’s in the hospital with cancer.

Gingrich’s first wife was Jackie Battley – his former high school geometry teacher. According to her, he discussed the terms of their divorce while she was recovering from cancer surgery. He married the woman he was having an affair with – Marianne Ginther – a few months after his divorce from Battley. He later admitted to cheating on Ginther during the Clinton impeachment hearings. Ginther was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1999, and Gingrich divorced her shortly thereafter. In 2000, he married Callista Bisek, a former congressional aide whom he was having an affair with during his marriage to Marianne.

Peter King Understands Violent Radicalism

If it’s British citizens I believe it’s bangers and mash

Bangers and mash is a traditional English dish made from sausages mashed potatoes and onion gravy/onions. The term “bangers” originates in the early 20th century, and is attributed to the nature of earlier types of sausages which would explode under high tempurates when cooked incorrectly.

Photo of Bangers and Mash

Get thee to a pub..ery


  1. Karenatasha says:

    Re bangers and mash: for Rolling Stones fans, Keith Richards gives his own personal recipe for the dish in his recent autobiography.

    Great review, Toad! I’m so pleased Stephen reminded the world what a stinker and hypocrite Newt is. I hope that if Newt actually runs, Stephen will ride him hard.

    And the Yiddish was so adorable! One thing about “nachas”: your definition is correct, but to add to it, the word is generally used to describe the joy parents or grandparents get from the achievements of their children/grandchildren. Also, a Torah note: rabbis and scholars spend their lives reading and re-reading and re- re-reading it, always interpreting. They’re the original deconstructionists, and if you get any 2 rabbis together, you’ll probably end up with a lively debate on what any phrase in the Torah means.

    • Agreed! And my apologies for recently & incorrectly interpreting goyim to mean non-Jewish people… I think it can have more than one meaning, but I may be incorrect about that too…
      What a great Four Horseman edition! So much information.
      Karenatasha, I went to a class last night at a Reform synagogue, and to reinforce what you just said, there were members of the temple who were atheists, some who were traditionalists in terms of interpreting Torah, some who thought the Torah was interesting mythology meant to be taken in its historical context, some who viewed themselves as highly spiritual and deeply believing, some who weren’t sure what to believe, and all of them identified themselves as Jewish and agreed precisely with your sentiments that Judaism is one long discussion and debate (sort of like this, but without Stephen — ha, ha). If, however, I would have attended an orthodox Jewish synagogue (I wouldn’t, but that’s just me), any suggestion that the Torah is not a precise guide for how to live would be met with glaring eyes, I’m sure. It’s a pretty wide net. And many people see themselves as culturally Jewish, but not religious in any way. It’s interesting in that way, because it can be seen both as a religion and as a culture.
      Seriously though, so much information in here! I love it! I’m only commenting on Wednesday, but the info from the rest of the week was great too! As my grandmother would say, “Don’t get me started!”

  2. Great stuff, thanks for the translations. I love when he says ‘Laissez les bons temps rouler!’ like that. ^^

  3. Thanks for the extra info Karenatasha! Always love the added input :)

    (I am also overjoyed to discover that I can view this unblocked from my school!)

  4. Karenatasha says:

    You’re welcome.

    I do wish I liked bangers and mash so I could make Keith’s recipe.
    And I wish Keith would appear on TCR.

    SW: you’re absolutely right that in an Orthodox synagogue any suggestion that the Torah is not a precise guide for how to live would be met with glaring eyes. But ask any two people in that synagogue exactly WHAT that precise guide is saying and they’ll have different interpretations. Since Passover is not too far away–hey, if Steven is still Jewish then, will he have to give up bread for Pesach?–do you remember that passage that’s kind of incongruous in the haggadah about the rabbis arguing until morning? That’s Judaism!

    Fourro 1998: My ReCaptcha. Won’t mean much to Americans, but there’s a Brazilian music called Forro (prounced FO-hoh.) Close enough for me to seem tailor-made!

    • Indeed, you are right, Karenatasha! Everyone has different interpretations, from the most orthodox to the least. My memories of Passover, however, are less than devout. Since I was raised in a secular home (a nice way of saying my father thought all religions and their accompanying holidays were nuts), my observant Jewish friends would bring me all of the good stuff that they couldn’t eat during Pesach. For me, Passover was not so much about overcoming the chains that bind one (whether internal or external)… For me, Passover was about getting all my friends’ Pop Tarts. Well, it’s all in the interpretation.
      And regarding your inner Brazilian, I wish I spoke another language and was so familiar with another culture. And I’m very glad I’m getting to meet so many world travelers here!

  5. Karenatasha says:

    Oh, and Toad, so glad you have access! Yea!!!!

    I mean, really, what were they thinking of, blocking you?

  6. lockhart43 says:

    Great roundup as always, Toad! I was particularly interested in the history of the Mau Mau Revolution. Now, whenever someone asks me what it is, I’ll at least have a general answer for them. Because I get into regular discussions about the Mau Mau Revolution with friends and collegues all the time. ;) I do sincerely appreciate it though – it will be filed in my brain under “Random Pieces of Information,” right along with why the Duke Blue Devils have a Blue Devil mascot and the origin of the word ‘scapegoat’. :)

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