Daft Punk were supposed to headline the Colbert Report's annual StePhest Colbchella and play the "song of the summer," "Get Lucky." (That must have seemed slightly more plausible as the actual song of the summer a month ago, when the duo were booked.) However, because they had a deal with MTV for a surprise appearance on August 25's Video Music Awards, President of MTV Networks Music & Logo Group at Viacom, Inc., Van Toffler stepped in and put the kibosh on the Colbert Report appearance, citing contractual exclusivity.
This pissed Stephen Colbert off, so he retaliated in an astoundingly brash rant (Viacom also owns Comedy Central, home to the Colbert Report). Colbert's ire included:
- Spoiling Daft Punk's aforementioned surprise VMAs performance.
- Reading an email from Van Toffler, in which the boss reports that he's "not sure I can help [Colbert Report] on that one" because he "checked in with [his] peeps...they're feelin funky on this one."
- Mocking Van Toffler's name repeatedly ("Van Wilder," "Flan Cobbler").
- Dropping his trademark righteous sarcasm: "If Daft Punk were on my show, people wouldn't tune into see them on the VMAs almost a month from now. That's how music works. You love a band, you see them once, then never want to see them again. That's why after the Beatles went on Ed Sullivan, they dropped off the face of the Earth. I think Ringo ended up working as a train conductor."
And so much more!
This kind of bureaucratic infighting and chest puffing is so Viacom that if there were a show called That's So Viacom!, this incident could provide material for its pilot.
To make up for the robots' absence, Colbert danced to "Get Lucky" with various celebs and then had Robin Thicke on to perform "Blurred Lines," a song whose ubiquity has way exceeded that of "Get Lucky." Colbert got the song of the summer after all.