One could not work within the Stephen Colbert production team without respecting Colbert’s earnest belief in the importance of respecting our national institutions and adhering to norms. Thus, this news is fairly shocking in that you would think that at least one producer would ensure that every attempt was made to cooperate, follow the rules… This is pretty easy to avoid.
From The New York Times:
The Capitol Police said on Friday that they had arrested seven people in a hallway of the Capitol Building on Thursday night, at a time when the building was closed to visitors.
At the time of the arrest, the team had finished prearranged interviews with members of Congress and were filming “final comedy elements” in the building’s hallways for an upcoming segment on “The Late Show.”
Social media users said it was ironic that the production team members might be punished more than some of those involved in last year’s attack.
And to fill in a couple of holes in the story, from the Hollywood Reporter:
A number of people working for CBS’ Late Show with Stephen Colbert were arrested Thursday night at a U.S Capitol office building after taping a skit involving Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
Among those arrested was Robert Smigel, the former Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Conan O’Brien writer best known for portraying Triumph. Smigel has appeared as Triumph on the Late Show previously.
Clearly, this in no way rises to the level of severity of the incidents that they were surely trying to satirize. Ironically, it is true that they might face penalties equal to or even greater than some of the least violent insurrectionists. It will all depend upon the actual facts (more specific than what is currently available), who knew what and when about where they crossed the line.
But, again, this just cannot happen.
Stephen Colbert’s status has risen to the point where he’s considered by many to be the conscience of the “Americans that think” segment of society. He rose to prominence doing political satire, and he has carried that political “eye in the sky” duty to new heights on The Late Show. Colbert’s entire brand is being “the good neighbor,” the neighbor that is particularly funny. He is a national treasure because he’s absolutely not a “television star” in the traditional sense.
Every effort has to be made to ensure that the brand is protected. They knew they’d be filming in the Capitol. They knew they would be doing it as the hearings covered the attempted coup and the illegality that occurred in the Capitol. And even though this infraction/misdemeanor doesn’t rise anywhere close to any insurrectionist or any congressman giving a reconnaissance tour, someone had to ensure that everyone, support staff, comedians, and the Capitol Police, were all on the same page.
It is not that hard. And now their boss is going to be in a position where, as the conscience of the country, he’ll have to admit that they were wrong, and as the face of the program, he takes responsibility. That’s what a good neighbor does.