Stephen Colbert & Donald Trump: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Stephen Colbert. (Getty Images)

The Late Show host Stephen Colbert has been attacking President Donald Trump non-stop since he took office, but his latest joke might have pushed the envelope too far for some. Trump himself later told Time Magazine that he thinks Colbert is a “no-talent guy” and talks “filthy.”

The hashtag “#FireColbert” started trending on Twitter after Colbert said the only thing Trump’s mouth is good for is being “Vladimir Putin’s c**k holster,” a joke many see as “homophobic.”

According to early transcripts of Wednesday’s show that CBS released, Colbert did respond to the controversy.

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“Welcome to The Late Show. I’m your host, Stephen Colbert. Still? I am still the host? I’m still the host,” Colbert said. “Now, if you saw my monologue Monday, you know that I was a little upset at Donald Trump for insulting a friend of mine. So at the end of that monologue, I had a few choice insults for the president in return. I don’t regret that. He, I believe, can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it’s a fair fight.”

Colbert later said that he did think his words were “cruder than they needed to be” and he would change the monologue if he could.

“I’m not going to repeat the phrase, but I just want to say for the record, life is short, and anyone who expresses their love for another person, in their own way, is to me an American hero,” Colbert said. “I think we can all agree on that. I hope even the president and I can agree on that. Nothing else. But, that.”

This is hardly the first time Colbert gained attention for attacking Trump. Back in 2008, he even aired a Colbert Report segment that made it sound like Trump didn’t know that the 13 stripes on the U.S. flag represent the 13 original colonies.

Here’s a look at Colbert’s thoughts on Trump and his latest joke.

1. Trump Called Colbert a ‘No-Talent Guy’ & Says He Talks ‘Filthy’

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In an interview with Time Magazine, Trump blasted Colbert as a “no-talent guy.” Trump also said that there are “kids watching” Colbert, even though his show airs after 11:30 p.m. ET.

Trump also claimed that CBS was going to “take him off television,” but there’s no evidence that the network considered that before Trump was elected. Here’s what Trump told Time:

You see a no-talent guy like Colbert. There’s nothing funny about what he says. And what he says is filthy. And you have kids watching. And it only builds up my base. It only helps me, people like him. The guy was dying. By the way they were going to take him off television, then he started attacking me and he started doing better. But his show was dying. I’ve done his show. … But when I did his show, which by the way was very highly rated. It was high—highest rating. The highest rating he’s ever had.

2. Colbert’s Insult Marathon Was in Defense of John Dickerson, Who Was Insulted by Trump

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Colbert’s Monday night insult marathon was inspired by Trump’s interview with Face the Nation‘s John Dickerson, since Face the Nation also airs on CBS. During the interview, Trump admitted to Dickeron’s face that he sometime calls his show Deface the Nation. Trump also abruptly ended the interview when Dickerson pressed Trump about his unfounded wiretapping claims.

Since Dickerson is too kind a person to insult the president back, Colbert did it for him. He called Trump a “p**k-tator.”

Sir, you attract more skinheads than free Rogaine,” Colbert told Trump. “You have more people marching against you than cancer. You talk like a sign language gorilla that got hit in the head. In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c**k holster.” That last remark was considered homophobic, since it made fun of a sexual act between two men.

Despite calls for his firing, Colbert taped Tuesday’s show without saying anything about the joke and he continued to bash Trump.

3. Colbert Apologized to Trump For Previous Insults During a 2015 ‘Late Show’ Interview

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Back in September 2015, during the first year of Colbert’s tenure at The Late Show, Trump had an interview with Trump. Like many Trump interviews at the time, it was mostly a softball one, and it started with Colbert apologizing to Trump for the things he’s said about him that “perhaps in polite company are unforgivable.”

Trump then told Colbert that he had said some nice things about him, but Colbert couldn’t recall anything. Trump accepted the apology, and then Colbert gave Trump the chance to apologize to anyone he’s insulted. Trump famously refused.

After that, Colbert pivoted, asking Trump about immigration. Colbert and the audience laughed as Trump explained his plan for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Colbert ended the interview by giving Trump a perfect opportunity to say once and for all that he finally believes President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. Trump didn’t take it, instead insisting that he doesn’t talk about it. (It took Trump a full year after that interview to finally admit that Obama was born in the U.S.)

4. Colbert Was Left in Disbelief on Live TV When Trump Won the White House

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When Trump won the White House, Colbert found out like everyone else. On election night, he hosted a Showtime special that was clearly set up to be a party to celebrate Hillary Clinton’s victory. But that never happened. Instead, the audience watched in shock with Colbert as Trump won.

As the results came in, Colbert tried to leave his audience with a sense of hope. He told the audience that they can finally move on from the election season and go back to their lives. He then listed “silly” things that unite the country.

“You cannot laugh and be afraid at the same time,” Colbert said. “The devil cannot stand mockery.”

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Before Trump’s inauguration, Colbert continued making lighthearted jokes about Trump, but, as Vox points out, things changed for him once Trump officially became POTUS. The monologues got angrier and more political. Colbert also became better at joking about Trump as himself, without becoming the Colbert Report character.

Colbert also skewered Republicans during the Republican National Convention and picked Laura Benanti in a viral moment to “apologize” after Melania Trump was accused of plagiarizing a Michelle Obama speech.

5. Colbert’s Ratings Have Only Been Getting Better Since Trump Was Inaugurated

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The Trump presidency has been great for TV. Ratings for both cable news and the late shows have been growing since Trump was inaugurated. But Colbert has seen the biggest gains of the late night crowd.

Since taking over for David Letterman in 2015, Colbert had been stuck in second place behind The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC. Since January 20 though, it’s been a different story. The Los Angeles Times reported in March that Colbert has been averaging 3 million viewers a night, passing Fallon.

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The New York Post noted that Colbert averaged 2.74 million viewers a night. However, Colbert is still behind Fallon in the 18-49 ratings demographic, with a 0.44 rating. Fallon averaged 0.66 in the key demo during the same week.

Colbert has been making fun of Trump for almost a decade, going back to his tenure as the host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. In 2008, he made fun of Trump’s patriotism in a “Difference Makers” segment when Trump installed a giant, 70-foot flag pole at his golf course in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, despite it being far higher than the town’s height limit. Colbert’s team even interviewed Trump.

The segment ended with Trump claiming that he didn’t know what the 13 stripes on the American flag represented. As Mediate pointed out though, it’s possible that Colbert’s team edited it to make it sound like Trump didn’t know that the stripes represent the 13 original colonies.

Surprisingly, Trump hasn’t tweeted about Colbert except when he promoted his appearance on The Late Show in 2015. He later congratulated Colbert for getting a ratings bump.

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