Much to the delight of liberals everywhere, Stephen Colbert has spent the past two years gleefully skewering Donald Trump. But he’s currently facing backlash from both the left and the right due to a controversial joke from his May 1 monologue.
"You talk like a sign language gorilla that got hit in the head," Colbert said, referring to Trump. "In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster." Although Trump supporters were offended on behalf of the president, a number of others have also taken issue with the joke, making the point that it came across as homophobic by implying that fellatio between two men is distasteful.
The controversy inspired the #FireColbert hashtag on Twitter and, for once, it seemed like liberals and conservatives found some common ground — albeit for very different reasons. On Wednesday’s Late Show, Colbert will respond directly to the criticism. But a statement released earlier today indicates that a full apology won’t be part of the monologue.
“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 said.
The Late Show host acknowledged that some of the phrasing was cruder than necessary and he would make some adjustments if he could do it all over again — but he stands by the joke.
“[W]hile I would do it again, I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be. 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 continued. “I think we can all agree on that. I hope even the president and I can agree on that. Nothing else but that.”
Although it’s extremely doubtful that Colbert’s joke was intentionally homophobic, there’s a lot to be said for listening to any marginalized community and apologizing for a joke that’s potentially demeaning. Colbert will have an opportunity to do that on Wednesday’s Late Show.