Episode 7063 (5/11/2011) – Eric Greitens

Colbert Report Episode Guide 150pxEPISODE NUMBER: 7063 (May 11, 2011)
GUESTS: Trevor Potter, Eric Greitens
SEGMENTS: Herman Cain Claims the Colbert Bump, Corp Constituency – Trevor Potter, The Rally Scores Four Emmy Nominations
VIDEOS: Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I was really tickled to see Stephen start off by talking about Herman Cain’s tweet thanking him for a “Colbert bump,” since I mentioned it in Monday’s episode guide. Stephen voiced the same thought I had when I saw it — a mention on the Report doesn’t equal a Colbert bump. Now it’ll be interesting to see if Cain takes Stephen up on the suggestion to visit the show.

I have a little sympathy for those poor Viacom lawyers right now, because I think Stephen may be giving them panic attacks over his Super PAC. The legalities of all this make my head hurt, but he seems really determined to do it. The petulant tone of his “interpretation” of the lawyers’ letter — “We are stupid lawyers who hate fun” — and the “I hate my parent company!” were exactly the kind of reaction I’d expect from “Stephen.” Trevor Potter is certainly racking up quite a few appearances, and I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of him. But it’s interesting, in a mildly mind-numbing kind of way, to see how Stephen can get around the legal limitations on his goal. I hope that letter asking for the media exemption gets the ball rolling because he’s losing precious time here while the lawyers try to out-legalese each other. If he can get the exemption, then that press hat should do the trick. As long as he wears that while reporting on his PAC, I think he’s golden.

I’m ecstatic about the Emmy nominations for the Rally! As Jennie blogged yesterday, the Rally grabbed four nominations, although Stephen himself is only up for two of them. But it’s a well-deserved honor. For once Stephen and Jon are nominated together instead of competing against each other, and that makes me happy. Given the rest of the competition (“Equitrekking”? Really?), I think they stand an excellent chance of winning.

The change in scheduled guests was a bit of a surprise to me, but once I looked up Eric Greitens yesterday I realized I was already familiar with his book since I’d come across it at work not too long ago. I thought it was an interesting transition, from humanitarian to Navy SEAL, but the point he made during the interview about the need to provide protection for people being just as important as providing humanitarian aid made a lot of sense. He was a very articulate spokesman for the SEALS and for the support they get from the other branches of the armed forces. I wish they’d had time for a longer and more in-depth conversation.

What were your favorite parts of the show? Let us know in the comments!

Stephen's multiple personalities


  1. colbaby says:

    Harry’s dad is really determined to keep this PAC alive. It’s almost enough to make me forgive him for consorting with McCain. Isn’t this media exemption pretty much the same loophole Stephen used when he ran for president?

    I died at the appearance of Kyle. I don’t know what Brenda’s thinking leaving Stephen for him, but he does make a good point. TDS is a darn good show.

  2. Arkadina says:

    Now, I have to admit – unlike Ann G, I got really excited by Equitrekking, forgot all about Stephen momentarily and started applauding for it. And I’ve never even seen it! Horses. Stephen. Horses. Stephen. The two things that really make me smile in life. Stephen. Kyle. Stephen. Kyle. Ride one, stroke the other……..mmmm, but in which order??!

    • I seem to remember you mentioning having horses before. Sounds like wherever you are in Dubai, it’s someplace with lots of room to roam around outdoors… Sounds romantic, too. As in “Lawrence of Arabia.”
      As to horses v. Stephen, however… One question. Which one are you riding, and which one are you stroking?

      • Arkadina says:

        Which indeed, SW, which indeed? *wink*

        Yes, you can ride an Arab horse dramatically across the desert sands here of course [flowing ‘Lawrence’ robes are optional], although the most amazing place I ever rode was Monument Valley, AZ, which is probably why I got so excited about Equitrekking.

        Incidentally, Darley Newman of Equitrekking’s Twitter feed is all over the fact that Stephen mentioned them and has now challenged Stephen to a horse race. JOY! She also jokes on the website that they should collaborate on the pack-mule yachting idea!

        • Oh! Stephen riding on a horse…
          I’m thinking white sand beach, calm waves, pink sky…
          Stephen, please accept that challenge!
          Not so sure about the mules on a yacht…

  3. I’m actually not entirely sure that Viacom’s lawyers *are* panicking. Part of me suspects that they are playing along, in order to actually educate a segment of the population about PACs, SuperPACs, etc. The laws around all of this are headachey, to the point that a lot of people just glaze over when it comes up (self included). Colbert’s doing a very nice, slow explanation of precisely what these organizations are, how they’re funded, how they work, and is clearly showing the significant concerns people should have over the Supreme Court ruling allowing SuperPACs.

    I can’t really think of a much better way to educate the population about it, actually.

    I mean, sure, I have no doubt whatsoever that when Colbert realized the potential for mischief, he grabbed at it with both hands. But last night, with the explanation of Viacom’s concerns and how Fox News gets around it, really seemed to slip and show the hidden point behind the gleeful mischief.

    • Yeah, I agree, I’ve had some suspicions from the start. Whichever, it still produces some hilarious segments.

    • Gratefull says:

      Yes, but … its only funny if it’s true … “I hate my parent companies!”

  4. lockhart43 says:

    Evil Eye-Patched Stephen was hilarious, and so was Kyle. As for the new developments on the Colbert Super PAC…genius. I have nothing to say except how absolutely genius this entire thing is. I cannot WAIT to see what they do with it.

    A small note to the wardrobe department: if you could include that press hat with Stephen’s wardrobe every night, I would greatly appreciate it. A-D-orable.

  5. I tend to agree with Kelly – I have had a feeling since last night’s show that Viacom isn’t really threatening Stephen, that they know his “SuperPAC” is a satire and are, if anything at all, playing along. If they were really angry I think it would be in the entertainment news and I’ve seen nothing.

    It certainly made for an entertaining segment though!

    Very happy about the daytime Emmys. I saw that Stephen was among the nominated writers but what was his other nomination?

    • He and Jon and the other producers are up for Outstanding Special Class Special – The producers get the award when the show wins.

  6. I hope you guys are right about Viacom really being in on the joke with Stephen’s PAC. I mentioned in the Geoffrey Rush EG that I noticed that Stephen hadn’t talked about it in a while and suspected that something was up again. But I myself haven’t seen a media hullaballoo about it so I guess things really are all right. I don’t want Stephen to get into trouble/get fired if they were really upset about it. I really want to see something happen!

    Greitens talking about Navy SEAL training brought a lot of insight for me on what really goes into it, because I honestly had never even heard/knew about Navy SEALS until the Bin Laden raid (I can be a little out of touch sometimes). What they have to do sounds crazy hard; I myself would never be able to do anything like that, so I commend anyone physically and mentally strong enough to endure those kinds of exercises and be accepted into the force. Stephen seemed genuinely fascinated and intimidated by what Greitens discussed about the whole process. It also didn’t hurt that he was rather cute.

    • I’m a Navy brat, and have known a few SEALs (and special forces) guys in my life. I have to say, aside from being the “best of the best” physically, they really are also all like Greitens and are simply amazing human beings. They’re not only all amazing physical examples of a human being, but every one I’ve met has been equally compassionate and driven by a desire to devote themselves to helping others.

  7. Kelly, you brought up a really good point about the Super PAC being an educational opportunity. I think Stephen is treating this much like his run for president back in 2007 — he wants to see how far he can take this before The Man (either the suits at Viacom, or federal law) stops his fun. And in the process, he has to explain the legalities surrounding PACs and Super PACs in order for us to follow along. I’m not sure myself that the lawyers are actually in on the joke or are simply being overcautious, but either way it works for Stephen’s plan. I know with his run for president he wanted to be very careful about not breaking any federal election laws and I would assume the same thing applies this time around. He doesn’t want to break the law, and he also wants to be careful not to put Viacom in an awkward position. I suspect the reason he hadn’t talked about the PAC in a while was that the legalities of what he could and couldn’t do were being worked out behind the scenes.

    It will definitely be interesting to see where he takes this. If you’ve seen Thursday’s show, you know he’s taking the next step, and man do I wish I could be in Washington today!

    • I almost went to Washington, just to see, but I couldn’t justify the expense when I’m technically underemployed to the point of relying on Bank of Dad more often than I’m comfortable with. :-) (Oh, for the days where money wasn’t an issue and I could be spontaneous!)

  8. colbaby says:

    I really don’t see Viacom lawyers “playing along” with anything. They just don’t sound like the type to appreciate a good joke. My guess is they truly are apprehensive about this whole thing and have told him as much. While the point of the SuperPAC may be satire, the SuperPAC itself is not. He really is forming one, which really does put Viacom in a precarious position. It only makes sense that they would put some obstacles in his way. But on the plus side, as Kelly pointed out, it has made for a ‘teachable moment’ as Obama would say.

    • Yeah, I don’t really see the lawyers drafting that letter just to go along with anything. I think they really are concerned about what he intends to do and will keep a very close eye on him.

      I’m still a little baffled by what he intends to do with this SuperPAC. With the run for president, you could see the goal and pretty much predict how far he’d get. I can’t do that here. It’ll be interesting to see how far he gets with this.

      • Oh, I think he’s made it pretty clear what he intends to do with the SuperPAC, if it’s granted.

        PACs can run advertisements for candidates. Whether the candidate wants the advertisement or not (see: all the “attack” adverts a la Swift Boats). Think of all the potential…

        • Karenatasha says:

          You got it, Kelly–that’s exactly what made me rub my hands together in glee! I forsee wonderful mischief.

        • Amen! I can’t wait to see him “support” the candidates of his choice! (hee, hee, hee) As for the candidates of his choice? I hope he sticks like gum to the soles of their shoes. And they won’t be able to shake him off. (hee, hee, hee)

  9. He’s already increased awareness of what Superpacs are, and how politicians use them to manipulate elections, so his plan is already working.
    He is, however, preaching to the converted. If he was really able to run some “ads” in the mainstream media, he would be opening people’s eyes to what he,and we, already know. My suspicion is that Viacom’s worries are real and that Stephen takes great delight in publicly displaying ways to get around loopholes. Again, he’s showing his audience how easy it is to bend and manipulate legal language. This may sound totally crazy, but I think that if he had to spend a night in jail, he’d do it and have the whole thing taped for the show. I suspect his very deep faith informs his comedy, and (sorry to get so serious here for a minute) when we see him forming this PAC, or going to Washington to speak on behalf of migrant farm workers, or if he had to go to jail (briefly), doing that too — we are actually seeing his faith in action. It may take the form of comedy, but I think it’s very real.
    On a lighter note, I wish he’d hurry up and start taking donations! I bet those writers have been working on those ads for some time now!

    • Here’s another school of thought..this man LOVES publicity! I don’t think his motives are all that deep and philanthropic. He seems to like being the center of attention. Must have sent out 20 tweets in the last few hours asking folks to join him for the PAC filing or signing or whatever it is.

      • colbaby says:

        Haha, well, I kind of doubt Stephen’s ever sent out a tweet in his life. The StephenAtHome account is maintained by people at the show, not Stephen himself. As for enjoying the spotlight, well I think that’s kind of a prereq for people in his line of work. He can certainly ham it up to the extreme at times, but that’s what he signed up for when he took on the “Stephen” role. And yeah, I’m sure he gets some personal satisfaction out of is as well. Personally, I love when he goes beyond merely ridiculing Washington and actually inserts himself into the insanity. That blurring of reality and the bizarre universe in which “Stephen” resides makes for some pretty amazing moments.

        • True that his staff is probably sending out the tweets…but like Jon, I dont think anything happens on his show without his approval. What can I say..I prefer Better Know A District to this stuff. And lets face it, his run for president will end as soon as he has to disclose finances. But if he’s willing to do that, he’s got my vote! Maybe. :)

        • Karenatasha says:

          Rosie, he’s not running for president. That was last election. Many groups establish a PAC in order to further a cause or support/fight something.

  10. Karenatasha says:

    I remember the glimmer of delight and mischief in Stephen’s eyes when he first mentioned the PAC, and I think he’s doing it to teach, to have fun, and also simply to see how far he can legally take this. I think it will be fascinating. I also believe there’s a strong possibility he can make a real difference through his mocking.

    As for DC today, I almost felt that was a joke, though I guess I’m wrong. After all he doesn’t need to file the papers personally and I thought he might want to spend his birthday relaxing. But I bet it will make an awesome segment, which is what I’m expecting.

    • No, DC today is definitely not a joke! The tweets about it have been going out regularly all day, some of them saying “bring money” and the latest one saying he’ll shake your hand for $1. I so wish I was in DC today, because I really want to see what’s going on!

      • Karenatasha says:

        Yes–it was only last night briefly that I thought it might be. Sigh. I also wish I were there. If I’d had enough advance notice I could have been. Oh well.

        • Well I managed to get off work early and go. Stephen showed up about 10 minutes after 4pm, waved and went straight inside the FEC. About 5 minutes later he came out and before he could say anything everyone sang happy birthday to him. He then said he had a statement to read, much of which I don’t remember but hopefully it will be on the Report on Mon. as there were a lot of cameras filming. Something about how he was following in George Washington’s footsteps and that we shouldn’t have to do what corporations want us to do. He’s sick of the old boy Democratic and Republican networks toadying to corp interestes. “We’re willing to toady”, hahaha. And he’s willing to spend any money that anyone gives him. He repeated one of the tweets that he’d shake anyones hand who gave him $1 but that’s it, no eye contact and no kisses on the mouth (darn!). Then back to the car and I’m sure a few people managed to give him $1 – we all would have (and more) if we could have. So that was it. My guess is there were 150-175 people there, plus the people in the FBI building across the street who seemed very amused by us. Can’t wait to see what’s shown on TCR next week.
          And I quickly put a few photos on Facebook –

        • Well I managed to get off work early and go. Stephen showed up about 10 minutes after 4pm, waved and went straight inside the FEC. About 5 minutes later he came out and before he could say anything everyone sang happy birthday to him. He then said he had a statement to read, much of which I don’t remember but hopefully it will be on the Report on Mon. as there were a lot of cameras filming. Something about how he was following in George Washington’s footsteps and that we shouldn’t have to do what corporations want us to do. He’s sick of the old boy Democratic and Republican networks toadying to corp interestes. “We’re willing to toady”, hahaha. And he’s willing to spend any money that anyone gives him. He repeated one of the tweets that he’d shake anyones hand who gave him $1 but that’s it, no eye contact and no kisses on the mouth (darn!). Then back to the car and I’m sure a few people managed to give him $1 – we all would have (and more) if we could have. So that was it. My guess is there were 150-175 people there, plus the people in the FBI building across the street who seemed very amused by us. Can’t wait to see what’s shown on TCR next week.

  11. I want to defend Stephen, for a moment, against the idea of Stephen loving the limelight and that being his primary motive. I also want to be clear that he is not running for president — he is forming a political action committee. Now, to the limelight. I remember seeing Stephen doing the reading of Harold Pinter’s “Old Times” not long ago in New Jersey, in a tiny shoe-box of a theater that seated 100 people. There were no press. There were no reviewers. There were no cameras. And yet, he gave a nuanced, heart-felt performance with incredible intensity and feeling. And he did it all out of the limelight. And he gave 100% of himself, with no possibility of it furthering his career or his personal publicity. He did it as a benefit, so that there was no monetary gain either. So… what did he do that for if the limelight is his primary motivation? I can’t tell you how moved I was to see a celebrity of his stature take those kinds of emotional risks (and he really did — right down to weeping on his knees at the end of the show — in character, of course) when there was no necessity for him to have done so.
    As to going to Washington — Again, that was a huge risk. It had the potential to really backfire. And as much of a ham as he is, and as much as he enjoys being in front of an audience, I have to think that sitting in front of Congress with dozens of cameras pointed a few feet away from your face is not exactly a walk in the park. So. I’m sticking with what I first said. I think there’s depth there. Anyone who has read some of my previous posts knows that I have not failed to speak up when he’s done something that bothered me. And he has. (Enough said.) He is far from perfect. But if he likes who he sees when he looks in the mirror, I think he has every right to.
    That’s it for my soap box.
    And happy birthday, Stephen.

    • Spoken like a bona fide it-getter, SW. He really is one of those rare celebrities who don’t allow fame to go to their heads and use it to steer attention onto those who need it most. And that’s one of the many, many reasons why we love and respect him. And hey, your ability to put your foot down and eloquently argue for Stephen (and occasionally against when he does does something that’s not-so-cool, but you do it respectfully and contained) is one of your strengths. I admire you for that.

      And while I’m at it…happy birthday, Stephen! I posted a pic of him on my FB wall and wrote a heart-felt message next to it, although he’s never going to read it, but I hope he experiences many more happy years filled with laughter and fulfillment with whatever he accomplishes. I wish we could all do something as a community of Zoners like send him a collective birthday card with all of our good wishes. He deserves a little extra love on his special day for all that he does.

    • Holy Cow! No offense intended. Lets just say we agree to disagree? Stephen comes across as a lovely, charitable, smart, extraordinarily talented, ballsy(and I’m not even referring to the tight jumpsuit pic) guy…who craves attention more than most. Its not a federal offense..cuz if it was, he might have problems in DC today. But truthfully, sometimes I get a bit tired of his shtick. And by shtick, once again, not referring to the jumpsuit pic. I’m everyone here will disagree with me, but thats ok. Relax :)

    • Karenatasha says:

      Cheers, SW! People are obviously confusing Stephen and “Stephen.” I don’t think this PAC is to draw attention to himself at all; it’s about drawing attention to the misuse of corporate funding and the ease of getting atoms whatever minimal restrictions there are.

      • You’re funny. I do get confused by many things in life. But I think I can handle a tv show. My guess is we’re both right. :)

        • Karenatasha says:

          I wasn’t referring to you specifically, Rosie. I truly was speaking more generally about his media coverage. And I don’t even think it’s always as easy as that to separate the man and his character. In fact, I think that as a general rule everything in our culture conspires to collapse performers and their roles.

        • Oh my. I went away after my last post and just came back to see that there were 31 posts on this thread, and I thought, “Oh, God. What have I done now?” I seem to have a talent for touching nerves. No offense meant and none taken, by any means! If I get my dander up about Stephen it’s just because I believe, or choose to believe, however you look at it, that he is a true teacher who thinks and feels things deeply. (Rabbi Colbert! The mensch!) Like I said, I’ve been equally loud and loquacious regarding things Stephen has done that upset me — so I know he isn’t the reincarnated Dalai Lama. I mean, he’s still a guy and he makes poop jokes with the best of ’em.
          I, on the other hand, am too often guilty of being far too serious, so please forgive me if I started a riot! Rosie, you are absolutely right that Stephen Colbert knows how to get attention. And the fact that you said he’s “got your vote,” makes you 100% okay as far as I’m concerned. I know there’s a lot of waxing rhapsodic that’s done on NFZ where Stephen is concerned… and a little dissonance never hurt anyone. How boring if we all droned on about his big, brown eyes. (Hang on. I am now thinking about his big, brown eyes. Okay. I’m back.)
          Oh, and Colbaby, you are hysterical. I just want you to know that. Jon Stewart. Very good. Nothing like humor to lighten a heated discussion!

    • SW, I think “Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report” loves the limelight – that’s part of the character personae. It’s pretty clear that Stephen Colbert the individual is actually a very quiet, devoted-to-causes-and-beliefs person, who goes pretty far out of the way to avoid the limelight when he’s not trying to draw attention to a specific issue, or in character. And of course, there’s the middle ground of having to do “the celebrity thing” – but I think it would be a mistake to conflate anything the character personae does with what the actor is sort of obliged to do as an actor with what the individual person sans cameras and media.

      Unfortunately, a lot of people do conflate the three-into-one (getting appropriately Catholic with the references, go me) – I mean, witness the number of people who don’t actually think Colbert-the-character/caricature is serious, rather than satire. (And they are out there in much larger numbers than you would think.)

      • Oh, of course. If I suggested otherwise, I guess I wasn’t being clear. There’s a vast difference between “Stephen” and Stephen. But it’s how Stephen uses “Stephen” to make a point that’s so wonderful and interesting. “Stephen” is pure limelight, no question. Like a moth to the flame. Stephen, on the other hand, takes huge emotional and personal risks — albeit with the protection of his character to shield him to a certain extent. I don’t know if you saw my recent post, but if you get a chance, see the abc online video of Stephen at the FEC today! That’s my guy. Or my guy pretending to be the other guy. But underneath, it’s all my guy. And Stephen, while playing “Stephen” is making a wonderful point about how elections are really run. There will always be those who think “Stephen” is real. And that may be in part because of all the Hannitys and Becks in the world, who are characters 24/7, and are truthfully, pretty unreal. Which I guess, if one watched Fox News all day, would make “Stephen” seem pretty real to some.

  12. christiane says:

    There’s video of Stephen’s complete SuperPAC speech. :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZT-0pxXPmA&feature=share

    • Thank you so much for the tip! I included the video in my post about the FEC today.

  13. pkyoubuggin says:

    Happy Birthday Stephen!!!!! on this Friday the 13th. Go Colbert (Super) Pac!!!!!!

  14. Hmmm Rabbi Colbert…I never came across someone like him back in Hebrew School. Eats too much bacon on the show to make a good Jew. :)

  15. This is on topic! Just saw this blog about Stephen in D.C. today! Has anyone else seen it? I’m posting the link (and I’m sure it will be moderated — but I’ll give it a try anyway.)


    Can’t wait to hear more about it!

  16. While my recent comment is awaiting moderation due to my posting of a link — I wanted to be sure to tell everyone that I just saw an amazing video on abc news online of Stephen at the FEC!
    That man is so brilliant, no words can describe him. He has managed (once again) to blur the line between reality and comedy. He is shaking hundreds of people’s hands for a dollar, sometimes even stuffing the dollars into his mouth… just like every actual politician is doing in somewhat subtler ways. Oh boy, talk about making a statement! Go Colbert! Happy Birthday! Go Colbert SuperPac! Go America!

    • Oh, just found the video! I was at Stephen’s right, behind 3 other people, so wasn’t able to see what happened when he went back to the SUV. That’s funny, he really did get some money. I wish the video had shown us singing Happy Birthday to him, maybe that will pop up somewhere.

      • Congrats on being there! And getting to sing “Happy Birthday” to Stephen live and in person! That’s great!

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