Stephen Colbert has shed more light on last Tuesday's episode-long Colbert Report response to MTV barring Daft Punk from playing his show. On comedian Paul Mecurio's podcast, Colbert explained that there was trouble with booking Daft Punk from the start — they didn't want to perform "Get Lucky" or be interviewed (since part of the Daft Punk members Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter's schtick is that they are robots who do not speak). "I’m beginning to see why they don’t do TV," Colbert recalled thinking weeks ago, during the negotiations for the proposed appearance.
Thus a plan was hatched: They'd work around Daft Punk appearing but not communicating by airing a montage that included Colbert dancing to "Get Lucky" with various guests (like Jeff Bridges) and in various locations (like the America's Got Talent set) as a jokey attempt to "convince" Daft Punk to perform their own song. He also enlisted Robin Thicke to perform "Blurred Lines," thus satisfying Hyundai, which signed on to sponsor his "song of summer" offering. Colbert told Merurio that the montage and Thicke performance were going to be part of the show even if Daft Punk had shown up. They were filmed way in advance of the taping of last Tuesday's episode, on which he said that he found out just hours ago that MTV pulled the plug on Daft Punk's appearance. The discovery of said timing caused speculation that the entire ordeal was a stunt to promote the Video Music Awards, on which Daft Punk will be making their exclusive Viacom appearance. Colbert's explanation refutes that speculation.
Interestingly, MTV head Van Toffler, whom Colbert ultimately blamed for pulling the plug on Daft Punk appearing on his show, gave clearance for Robin Thicke's appearance, despite a similar exclusivity agreement with MTV (Thicke announced today that he, too, will be performing on the VMAs). Colbert said Toffler, whose name he mocked and whose private email he read on air, is a "great guy" according to people he knows that know the boss.
Colbert also said that he received no interoffice blowback for eviscerating his Viacom colleague. "All I’ve gotten from Comedy Central was: 'That was great,'" he claimed. He attributed his mocking of Toffler to playing his usual Stephen Colbert character who can't (or, in this case, doesn't like to) lose. In actuality, Colbert says he found the whole thing "joyful." "We all said, 'Yippee! Look at what we get to do," he recalled. Indeed, one should be grateful when he stumbles upon an inevitably viral content mine.
Colbert's explanation of the incident begins around the 24:15 mark of the Paul Mercurio Show embedded below. It goes on for over 20 minutes, so have fun with that.
Update: VMAs executive producer Jesse Ignjatovic tells The Hollywood Reporter that it was Daft Punk's decision to skip The Colbert Report, not MTV's: "We don't put restrictions on anyone. I just think that we're talking to them about a moment and then things sort of change. I would not describe that as MTV putting restrictions on people — it was up to that artist and their management what they wanted to do."
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