In China, it’s the Year of the Pig. But here, it’s still the Year of the Colbert. Tonight, Stephen Colbert formally launches his very own Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream flavor by having Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield on The Colbert Report with pints of his AmeriCone Dream: vanilla ice cream with fudge-covered waffle pieces and caramel.
Over the weekend, Colbert visited Aspen, Colo., where the 2007 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival proclaimed him “Person of the Year,” with giant mock magazine covers of the Comedy Central host and the headline, “Not you. Me.” Take that, Time. (That’s from him. Not us.)
Colbert took part in a long, funny exchange with CNN’s Jeff Greenfield (no apparent relation to ice cream mogul Jerry), who seemed to be auditioning for his own show in a Judge Larry Seidlin way; one of Greenfield’s attempted quips even included a Seidlin reference. The event included video tributes to Colbert from Jon Stewart, Steve Carell, Strangers With Candy and Second City pals Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello and, ahem, presidential candidate John Edwards (?!). Colbert also recounted the lead-up and delivery of his speech last year at the White House Correspondents Dinner, talked up an upcoming book, explained his on-air persona and acknowledged that he hoped for more out of his hyped two-day on-air confrontation with his doppelgänger, Bill O’Reilly.
“I was just a little disappointed because — and this was arevelation — I kind of thought he was playing a game,” Colbert said. “Ithought he’s assuming a persona on his show. But when he came on myshow, he didn’t really keep it up. He didn’t really keep the personaup. He kind of dropped it. And while it was a fun evening, I was alittle disappointed that we couldn’t actually come to emotional orargumentative agreement over things. Because he didn’t actually want toplay the game that I was emulating. You know what I mean? He saw themirror that I was presenting and he didn’t really want to play. Ithought that we kind of — it would be this fugue of O’Reillys at eachother.”
As for the rest of the on-air Colbert personality traits, he said they include:
- A pre-show ritual that includes shaving his body, then singingalong in the mirror to Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me.” “That wasthe very first decision we made about the character,” Colbert said.
- Taking a nod from TV’s Archie Bunker, TV’s Colbert is “a well-intentioned, poorly informed, high status idiot.”
- He is “willfully ignorant” of his guests.
- He went to Dartmouth. “I wrote for The Dartmouth Review, you see,with Dinesh D’Souza and Laura Ingraham. I think I tagged LauraIngraham. I’m not exactly sure.”
- He has to give the illusion that he believes what he’s saying.
Some of these beliefs will show up later this year in a book, whichColbert joked would be titled, “I Am America and So Can You.” “It’sjust like an O’Reilly book or a Hannity book,” he said. “It’s a pureextension of the show. You know, it’s 20 subjects. You know, all of theimportant things: the “culture war,” religion, hygiene. Sports. Sorry,handball, you’re just tennis for poor people. I call ‘em as I see ‘em.I’m scared of Koreans! I just – I just think things and then I saythem. Sometimes I don’t even think them. You can’t deal with it, don’tread my book.” We know what we’ll be eating for dessert while we readit.