Better Know a Guest, February 23 – 26, 2012

The Colbert Report Guest Line Up Hello, Hubsters,
I know that Stephen and his family have been in our thoughts and hearts over the past few days, and that we, collectively, have been sending him the most fervent of good wishes; I’m sure those who pray have been doing that too. I hope all our strong, good, and caring energy brings comfort to him and his loved ones.

And I hope something else too: that the public and the media will allow Stephen the privacy he deserves and needs, now and in the future, this time and any time. I enjoy Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks, and have met, or reconnected, with some wonderful people that way—including all of you fabulous Hubster friends and fangirls. But the explosion of insanity out there stunned even me, who is acutely aware of Stephen’s popularity. People were e-mailing me with questions, many punctuated with triple exclamation points. (No, I have no insider knowledge.) There were more rumors and conspiracy theories swirling around his brief absence than over the Kennedy assassination, and that’s just madness. I’m sure I needn’t say more about some of the nonsense out in the Twitterverse; most of you are probably aware of it and I won’t dignify it. I would, however, like to re-quote something our own Susan209 posted: “With regard to the media’s response (and ours too), the New Yorker online had this to say: ‘You know who would do a great satire of that kind of media overhype? Stephen Colbert.’” Indeed. Thank you, Susan, for finding that.

Now, on the work side of things, is it too much to hope that both Jon and Stephen will take on that piece of you-know-what named Chris Christie? The New Jersey governor has just vetoed the bill allowing gay marriage in his state, despite the legislature’s approval. I simply despise Christie, and the thought that he could become a vice-presidential candidate makes me more than a little queasy. Jon, you grew up in New Jersey; Stephen, you live there now. PLEASE take him down comedically.

Now, here are the scheduled guests for the week.


Monday, 2/20: Ann Patchett

Ann PatchettThe week begins with a top novelist whose newest book sounds incredibly compelling to me. Ann Patchett is the New York Times bestselling author of Bel Canto, which won the prestigious PEN/Faulkner Award and Orange Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Brazilianist that I am, I’m eager to read her most recent work because it’s set in that country—the Amazon, to be exact—plus, it deals with a fascinating subject. State of Wonder follows pharmacologist Marina Singh on her quest to find a missing researcher who had gone to the jungle in hopes of developing a wonder drug. It seems that the women in a particular Amazonian tribe can bear children all their lives, and the corporation Marina works for knows that if they can uncover the secret of this extraordinary fertility it stands to make quite a lot of money. The Guardian calls it “her best book yet” (read the interview) and The New York Times praises it as an “engaging, consummately told tale.”

Patchett earned degrees from both Sarah Lawrence and from the famed Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa. In addition to novels, she has written short stories, essays, and other nonfiction, most prominently Truth and Beauty, which won countless awards including the Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize, the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Alex Award from the American Library Association.

Visit her official site.

She joined soprano Renee Fleming on NPR to discuss music, inspiration, and the literary imagination.

Listen to her discuss State of Wonder on the Diane Rehm Show.

Ann Patchett did something wonderful: she opened an independent bookstore in her hometown of Nashville, a true act of faith in our online world. You can visit the store’s site. According to the ColbertNation website, she’ll be discussing the store with Stephen.

The Daily Beast called State of Wonderone of the best books of the year,” likening it to Joseph Conrad’s classic Heart of Darkness.

She can cook! Ann Patchett has written for Gourmet. She also wonders if she killed the now-defunct magazine.

There is someone who has taken issue with Patchett: Suellen Grealy, sister of Lucy Grealy, the subject of Patchett’s Truth and Beauty.

Tuesday, 2/21: Robert Kagan

Robert KaganLike George W. Bush, Robert Kagan was a Yalie (as an undergraduate) and member of the secretive, elite Skull & Bones society. And like Bush, he’s a staunch conservative. Kagan, who earned his PhD from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, works as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, as a professor of history at Georgetown University, and as a columnist for the Washington Post. He’s also the author of a new book, The World America Made, which examines the potential repercussions if the US became more isolationist and curtailed its global influence. In addition, Kagan examines claims that we as a country have declined. But he does warn us that things could become very violent if we “commit preemptive superpower suicide,” to use the words the book’s publisher, Knopf, highlights in its description of the work.

Kagan has served as a foreign policy adviser to Representative Jack Kemp and on the State Department Policy Planning Staff, as well as on the Department’s Bureau of Inter-American Affairs. In the last election, he worked for John McCain and he now advises Mitt Romney. (If he really wants to help Romney, he’ll tell him NEVER to ride to Canada with the dog on top of the car again. He’ll also tell the Mittster to try and seem human and not a waxwork.) Kagan’s other books include Of Paradise and Power, about the often-troubled relationship between the US and Europe, and Dangerous Nation.

Read the New York Times review of The World America Made.

The Washington Post–where he works—has also covered the book, and this article includes an interview with Kagan.

Kagan also writes for the Weekly Standard.

He wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal on “Why the World Needs America,” the subject of the book.

Hear him on The Diane Rehm Show.

Like him on Facebook—though he hasn’t really posted.


Wednesday, 2/22: Rep. Nancy Pelosi

Nancy PelosiShe told everyone else not to speak to him—but now she’s stepping into the Stephen-den herself! Just a little more than a week after she launched her “Stop Stephen Colbert!” campaign, former Speaker of the House and Representative from California’s 8th District Nancy Pelosi is coming on to get better known. Maybe her daughter Alexandra convinced mom after her last visit?

Actually, I think Ms. Pelosi—probably the most powerful woman in American politics–has risked it all to appear because something very important is going on in Washington: the fight to have women’s birth control covered by insurance. Specifically, the issue involves women who work for religiously-affiliated institutions, such as hospitals run by the Catholic church. Let’s be clear: this isn’t the church itself, but “satellite” organizations, if you will—ones that can and do receive tax money. The struggle became more heated this past week when a congressional panel convened to discuss the issue, and no women were included in the initial group that testified. Interestingly, Pelosi herself is Catholic, having attended the Institute of Notre Dame (a high school), followed by Trinity College.

Pelosi had long been involved in politics even before she became a representative in 1987, and she has held her congressional seat ever since. While in Congress, she has achieved a number of “firsts,” including being the first woman Minority Whip and the first female Speaker of the House. She is the author of Know Your Power: A Message for America’s Daughters.

Follow her on Twitter.

Like her on Facebook.

Visit her “Democatic Leader” page, with the latest news on votes and political action. Or go to the “Speaker Pelosi” page. You can buy stuff there, too!

Here’s a little background on her in the Washington Post.

She has a YouTube channel. (The “Stop Colbert” video is prominent there, too.)

Pelosi did an “It Gets Better” video.

She appeared on The Daily Show in 2009.



Thursday, 2/23: Placido Domingo

Placido Domingo

Here is what I posted a few weeks ago when Mr. Domingo was first scheduled to appear: First a classical cello player (YoYo Ma), then ballet’s best (Hallberg), now an opera legend: Stephen’s beginning to corner the high-culture market. Happy 71st birthday, Placido Domingo! Domingo was one of the “Three Tenors” (along with Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras), whose blockbuster records, concerts, and TV broadcasts helped make the once-elite musical form wildly popular. Last year, he celebrated his 50th year in opera: he made his stage debut in La Traviata in Monterey, Mexico back in 1961. In honor of that anniversary, a variety of record companies re-released several of his CDs—and he received an honorary doctorate from Harvard. During Domingo’s unparalleled career, he took on a stunning 134 roles; won 12 Grammy® awards, including three Latin Grammys; and made more than 100 recordings.

He recently announced the 20th edition of the World Opera Competition, which will take place from June 4-10th in Beijing (where you used to be jailed or sent to the farms for political re-education if you played Western classical music). Domingo founded the contest with the goal of “discover[ing] and honor[ing] the best new young opera singers of today.”

The Madrid-born tenor has now turned his musical talents to conducting, and he also serves as the general director of both the LA Opera and the Washington National Opera. But not to worry; he continues to sing, and will perform the lead in Simon Boccanegra with LA Opera this year–which is pretty incredible as few opera performers can sustain their voice over such a long period of time.

Visit his official website to get news, find out about those re-released CDs, and much more.

PBS did an American Masters on him. (Though strictly speaking, while he’s a master, he’s not American.)

He made his debut in La Traviata, and fortunately, his performance in that opera was captured forever by filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli.

Here he is singing “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot, one of the most famous arias in opera.

And I admire him because he’s just shown a little love for New York’s music education program. He’ll even conduct a children’s orchestra.

Go to his artist page on NPR.

Domingo not only sings—he Tweets!

Here’s part of a mini-documentary on him.



And now, let’s check in with our good friend Jon Stewart!

As always, a TBA. I thought there wouldn’t be. The original listing had a Wednesday guest—Bruce Bartlett, author of The Benefit and The Burden: Tax Reform-Why We Need It and What It Will Take— but his name has been removed from The Daily Show site.


Monday, 2/20: Alan Huffman & Michael Rejebian

You’ve seen it: a candidate seems to be going strong, and suddenly out comes the career-crushing news: (s)he’s had an affair, taken a questionable loan, had a friend who’s just a little unsavory and makes the electorate uneasy. Who finds out this gossip? Alan Huffman and Michael Rejebian can tell you something about it, since they’ve personally dug up the dirt on politics and politicians. Huffman and Rejebian are the authors of We’re With Nobody: Two Insiders Reveal the Dark Side of American Politics, and both men have had experience working to defeat candidates for every type of office, big and small, by revealing the skeletons in their closets. What they do has been given the euphemistic, clinical name of “oppositional research,” and it’s not limited to any single party or political viewpoint. Somehow, I think this topic is really going to fascinate Jon.

Watch the book trailer.

Follow them on Twitter.

Like them on Facebook.

Read a review in Bloomberg Businessweek.

Publishers Weekly did a Q&A with the two men.


Tuesday, 2/21: Russ Feingold

Former Wisconsin senator Russ Feingold makes his second visit to The Daily Show to promote his new book: While America Sleeps: A Wake-Up Call for the Post-9/11 Era. Feingold believes that our response to the attacks has weakened, not strengthened, the country, and compromised our constitutional rights and our ability to defend ourselves.  A former Rhodes Scholar, the Democrat Feingold reached across the aisle to team with John McCain in an attempt to curb campaign spending. He’s still interested in limiting corporate influence in our elections, and so he’s established a PAC called Progressives United to continue his efforts even outside of the Senate. He discussed the PAC with Stephen.

Like him on Facebook.

Follow him on Twitter.

When Feingold lost his seat, McCain praised him on the Senate floor.

In The Nation, he stated his determination not to run for another political position.

Feingold is an equal opportunity criticizer: he’s hit at Obama for his SuperPac position.

New Yorkers and those in the vicinity, he’s appearing at the New School this Wednesday.


Wednesday, 2/22: ?


Thursday, 2/23: Paul Rudd

What a good friend of the show! Actor and screenwriter Paul Rudd has been a regular visitor to The Daily Show since way back in 1999. In fact he’s appeared a whopping 10 times, last time in 2010. (If you want to see every one, visit the show’s guest page, click on Rudd’s photo, and you’ll find all the links.) Rudd’s films include the delightful Clueless, 40 Year Old Virgin (with Daily Show alumnus Steve Carell, of course ) and Knocked Up, among many others. His newest movie is Wanderlust, with frequent co-star and former Jon crush Jennifer Aniston. Rudd played her boyfriend in Friends and now he’s her husband in this Judd Apatow-produced comedy, directed by David Wain. A tale for our economic times, Wanderlust focuses on a couple who find themselves in a freewheeling, hippie-like commune after unemployment forces them to give up their fast track life in New York City.

Watch the Wanderlust trailer.

Read two interviews with Rudd and Aniston, one at GQ and one at Moveiesonline.

Like him on Facebook.

Here’s Rudd’s IMDB page, where you can see that he’s set to act in four films that are currently in pre-production.

Rudd pitched super-producer Harvey Weinstein in this “Funny or Die” video. I actually think Weinstein is pretty funny doing very little.

The New York Times published an interview with Wanderlust director David Wain this very weekend.

That’s all for this week. Let’s welcome Stephen back to the Report with all our best wishes.

Cheers, everyone.



  • lockhart43

    I had assumed that the internets had exploded with conspiracies about last week’s non-shows, but I haven’t read any of them. I knew that Stephen and the staff had a good reason, hoped that everything was okay, read Stephen’s tweet on here, said a few prayers, and left it at that. As for those you mentioned who seem to be unaware of the definition of the word “privacy,” well, the nice way to put it would be to say that some people have a lot of time on their hands and enjoy typing on a keyboard.

    Anyway. I’m pretty excited for the Nancy Pelosi interview so that they can address the “Stop Stephen” ad. Ann Patchett sounds interesting as well. As for TDS, Paul Rudd!! I stand by my belief that Paul Rudd should be in every movie ever made from now on, as he makes everything better, even when the movie’s bad.

    • karenatasha

      I think the Pelosi interview will be pretty epic myself. Should be lots of fun. It’s a good week of guests, I think.

      Yes, too many people feel they’re entitled to information that isn’t theirs to know.

  • colbaby

    In addition to Chris Christie, I really hope they tackle Virginia’s latest attacks on women seeking abortions. I actually became nauseous reading about the ultrasound bill. It’s just sickening.

    Aside from Russ Kagan, I’m looking forward to everyone. But mostly Stephen. I just hope he hasn’t rushed back too soon.

    • colbaby

      D’oh! *Robert Kagan. I miss the edit button.

    • karenatasha

      Yes! I should have mentioned that, because it is one of the most disgusting laws proposed in recent years. The thought that you can invade a woman’s body because you don’t like the perfectly legal choice she’s made. This must get struck down.

      • colbaby

        I thought Jon knocked it out of the park last night. Loved his “I don’t really have a joke here, I just thought I’d tell you.” It’s completely mind boggling.

        • Karenatasha

          Oh, absolutely! I love that he did both Christie and the VA law one after the other.

          And can I just marry Lewis Black? I love him.

  • CN Helper

    Great intro, Karen. Agree with everything you said. How did you become so interested in Brazilian stuff? You have to explain to me sometime. 😉

    Looking forward to Pelosi and Placido Domingo, who hopefully shows up this time. That is so cool that he conducts and sings as well. I love opera, and he is obviously one of the great tenors.

    • karenatasha

      Thank you so much, CN Helper! I appreciate it.

      The short answer to your Brazilian question is that a professor in graduate school who specializes in Brazilian cinema got me hooked on the culture.

    • karenatasha

      And I’m really looking forward to Domingo, too. I was disappointed when he couldn’t make it last time.

  • Katt

    Looking forward to seeing Paul Rudd on TDS. He and Jon always have such a great time together.

    A bit suprised that Nancy Pelosi is on so late in the week, after her ‘Stop Colbert’ ad I was expecting to see her on the show last week. Am definitely interested to see how things will pan out with that.

    • karenatasha

      I think the Pelosi interview is the one that will probably generate the most expectations. She’s tangled with Stephen before but not WITH him. Should be good.

  • Caroline

    Yes, I hope Jon and Stephen find a way to go after Christie!

    I am not really looking forward to Nancy Pelosi as a guest. I’m suspicious of career politicians who desperately try to seem “cool” by mentioning Stephen, I guess. But I am sure Stephen will find a way to make the segment with Pelosi good.

    • Karenatasha

      We shall see, Caroline! I understand your point of view about Pelosi, but I think her history with Stephen (telling congresspeople not to go on the show, now this new campaign) should bring out the fun in him, at least. Not sure how she will react, and that’s what should be interesting.

  • karenatasha

    By the way, I have done some updating here. I realized, re-reading, that I made an error: Jon Stewart was not born in New Jersey, but NYC. He did, however, grow up there and I have fixed the mistake. Sigh. That’s a fact I’m aware of yet somehow conveniently forget.

  • Erika

    I think Stephen once said that one guest he’d like to have on that he never has before was Nancy Pelosi, so he must be pretty excited about that one. I think the fact that she told people not to go on his show made him want her on more than anything haha.

    The fact that Stephen plays a character makes it much harder for him to express his true feelings, like Jon is able to, so I have a notion he may just not say anything? However he handles it, I’m sure the show will be wonderful and I hope the crowd tonight gives him all the love and adoration imaginable (and HOPEFULLY be entirely respectful during the Q&A…..).

    • karenatasha

      Agreed, Erika. I imagine he’s stoked about getting Pelosi after she’s warned everyone off.

      I don’t know if he’ll say anything about his personal situation, although all the media are reporting that he will. As far as I’m concerned, he should do whatever feels right to him. I suspect that if he does address his absence at all, it will be at the sign-off and he will do it out of character.

  • susan209

    Thanks, Karenatasha for the nod and the quote up at the top. I am looking forward to just looking forward. It will be so nice to have Stephen back. And don’t you just love that he’s someone who has his priorities straight? He is really one special guy.
    Wouldn’t it be nice if Placido were to find out what his mom’s favorite song is, and then sing it to her on the show? [*HUGE HINT if anyone at the show is listening*]

    • susan209

      Of course, I am assuming she is recovering… yes? I hope I haven’t spoken too soon. I withhold my idea until we all get to hear from Stephen exactly what is happening. I’m hoping that his coming back so soon can only mean good news.

      • karenatasha

        Hi, Susan–I really don’t know and don’t want to speculate, though of course I sincerely hope that you are right. Stephen will presumably say what he wishes about the situation this evening.

        He definitely is a man with his head screwed on right and his priorities straight.

        And you’re welcome for the nod. Thank you for discovering that wonderful quote!