The joke in question came during Colbert’s Late Show monologue Monday night in response to how Trump treated Colbert’s colleague, CBS journalist John Dickerson. Trump called Dickerson’s show “Deface the Nation” to his face and ended the interview abruptly after Dickerson asked Trump if he stood by his unproven claims of Obama wiretapping Trump Tower. Colbert’s monologue already mocked Trump, but he then went on a rapid-fire round of insults, including one inferring that Trump performed oral sex on Putin.
Some viewers took offense to the comments and called for Colbert to be fired, using the #FireColbert hashtag. Trump supporters took it as an insulting joke about the president, while members of the LGBTQ community saw the joke as homophobic in nature. As some pointed out, the argument from Trump supporters had a whiff of hypocrisy because they want Colbert fired for his joke but haven’t said anything about Trump’s policies that would affect the LGBTQ community.
It all came to a head as Colbert opened the show addressing the latest controversy.
“Welcome to The Late Show. I’m your host, Stephen Colbert,” he said before pausing and double-checking with the crowd. “Still, am I still the host? I’m still the host!”
He summarized the situation for those at home who haven’t been keeping tabs on it, and he acknowledged his “few choice insults for the president” without repeating them. While he conceded he could’ve used better language to express himself, he didn’t apologize and said he’d do it again.
“I don’t regret that,” he said as the audience cheered. “I believe he can take care of himself. I have jokes, he has the launch codes, so it’s a fair fight. So while I would do it again, I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be. Now I’m not going to repeat the phrase, but I just want to say, for the record, life is short, and anybody who expresses their love for another person in their own way, is to me, an American hero.”
H/T the Daily Beast