February 20, 2012 — Ann Patchett

The Colbert Report Episode Guide EPISODE NUMBER: 8058 (February 20, 2012)
GUESTS: Ann Patchett
SEGMENTS: Indecision 2012 – Mitt Romney & Donald Trump in Michigan | Indecision 2012 – Rick Santorum’s Energy War Alarm | Sign Off – Caught Looking
SUIT REPORT: Grey suit | White suit | Blue/red/black tie
VIDEOS: Monday, February 20, 2012



I absolutely loved the opening. Perfect! and I think Joan Rivers looks hideous now.

So glad to know Stephen’s mom is tough as nails! Here is an opening screencap:

Comments, quotables and caps from the open:

I just can’t believe what some people thought about the show being suspended. The first thing I thought was that it was an emergency with Stephen’s mom, but then some of the fans thought maybe it was a fire in the studio or a family emergency of a different sort.

Why would they cancel the show over the Pope comment? It’s not like they have never insulted the Catholic church before. However, leave it to Joan Rivers to think the most ridiculous thing. I know she was just joking, but somehow I think deep down she really wanted it to be true. Also, she really does need to stop the plastic surgery. Just freaky looking.

I think the way Stephen handled the situation was perfect. He didn’t go on about his mom, as he wants to protect her privacy. He let the fans know what was going on, while humorously addressing all the public speculation.

"Confidential to a lovely lady"

Comments, quotables and caps from the Trump/Romney segment:

The first thing I thought when I saw the picture of Trump was, ‘that’s gotta be photoshopped’. Even the Donald wouldn’t go that nuts on the spray tan, but apparently I got schooled.

"Jimmy...Trump me!"

If trees are the right height in Michigan, then where are they the wrong height? You got a problem with the trees in Massachusetts, Mitt?

Comments, quotables and caps from the Santorum segment:

First of all, at that Santorum speech, why was the audience better miked than the candidate? The microphones go up front, people! He thinks that Obama’s energy policy goes against the Bible. He then had to clarify that the radical environmentalists want to destroy the earth and people like him think we need to be husbands…I guess, who knows what he meant?

“As good christians before drilling, we must marry mother Earth. Then we will be Earth’s husband, on top as God intended, fracking her good all night long until she can’t even spin straight.”

Then his bizarre notion that Satan only wants to attack the U.S.?

How is he leading in the polls? I don’t get it. He’s the worst possible choice for the nomination, but it is entertaining to see all the great “santorum” jokes. Stephen’s war on hell; flip around all the nuclear missiles so they point to the center of the earth.

Comments, quotables and caps from the guest segment:

Well, I have a couple bones to pick with Ann Patchett. First, ‘You’ve Got Mail’ was not during the ’80’s. Secondly, she sells Google ebooks on her bookstore’s website. Isn’t that kinda contradictory to her mission?

I do like that she offered to have Stephen’s book signing there and I think he would definitely like to be signing at a bookstore not a warehouse. She also seems to be a fan of the show as she rattled off friends of the show Jack White, Al Gore and The Goat Rodeo, which I’m assuming is Yo-Yo Ma. Now that we know his books are coming out in May and October, maybe we will get some footage from Tennessee.

  • karenatasha

    “Having 11 children makes you tough as nails.” All I can say is, tears came to my eyes.
    Joy at having Stephen back, joy at his explanation that was funny and brilliant and still maintained his privacy, and joy that the “lovely lady” is tough as nails.

    • lockhart43

      You’re not alone, karenatasha – I teared up, too. It’s so nice to have him back and I’m certainly glad everything’s okay.

  • lockhart43

    The opener couldn’t have been done any differently. Very sweet and nicely done, sir.

    Nice to hear Stephen talk about my state again – at least this time it’s not because we’ve done something ridiculous. Poor Mitt, he’s trying so hard to get us to like him and we just don’t. It really sounds as if he thought of all of the things Michigan is known for and said them. I’m surprised he didn’t mention how much he also loves seasons. To his credit though, we do love our tree height. Shaped like a mitten, Great Lakes, cars, and tree height. That’s Michigan in a nutshell.

    I really appreciate what Ann Patchett is trying to accomplish – I think people forget how important bookstores are. That interview just reminded me that Stephen does, in fact, have a book coming out this year, and now I’m all excited again.

    • Erika

      2 books apparently! At first when he said “books” I wondered what the other one was until The Hub just reminded me about “I Am A Pole (and so can you!)”.

      • lockhart43

        Now I can be doubly excited! I’m just happy they’re not coming out at the same – I think I’d go insane by October, even if “I Am A Pole” was technically already read on national television.

    • Shellichelle

      Seriously! Mitt couldn’t even mention general areas such as Sleeping Bear Dunes, Taquanamen Falls, or just saying “national forests and campsites” I’m proud to be from the Great Parts state, -at least I can name some parts! :)

    • llama

      I’m curious now as to how high the trees are in MI, compared to one of his other, and my home state, MA.

      I’m issuing a tree-off!!

      Although, I really have no idea what that would be. ;-)

      • Karenatasha

        Didn’t you know the trees in MA aren’t just the right height? Well, actually, I didn’t realize that either! I always thought they were pretty good. (Yay, Berkshires.)

      • lockhart43

        @shellichelle – I loved seeing our “new” license plate. From now on, I will call Michigan “The Great ‘The Parts’ State!” And Mitt was stumbling on just saying how much he likes “the trees are all the right…height,” imagine how long it would have taken him to actually think of a place like Sleeping Bear Dunes. ;)

        @llama – Sadly, that’s just the difference between Michigan and Massachusetts – our evergreens know exactly when to stop growing. It’s a blessing to have trees that are all self-aware of their acceptable height in society. “A tree-off!” – Ha! I don’t know what that means either, but I want it to happen.

  • Erika

    Oh my heart. That’s pretty much all I can say right now. Anybody else ever have to take a deep breath, on occasion, while watching his show….just so your heart doesn’t explode?

  • Shellichelle

    Ah…just love! What a wonderful, touching opening. He is just brilliant and looks to be genuinely happy to be back at work! I think, like his feelings for Jimmy Fallon, he “missed us” (said in a whisper).

    Entertaining interview as well. I am very excited for these books…

  • Susan209

    Welcome back, Stephen! I don’t think Stephen could have handled the opening any better. It was just perfect. That’s all I wanted to say. Just perfect.

    • Cosmo

      How to spell perfect: S-T-E-P-H-E-N.

  • Caroline

    Great, great opening. I also loved the interview with Ann Patchett. Did she actually strike Stephen momentarily speechless … twice?! I think so. I already shop at independent book stores whenever I can, but I hope she convinced other people to give them a try!

  • Katt

    I’m so glad Stephen is back, and that his mum is doing ok. I loved the way he addressed his absence and the media storm surrounding it. Why couldn’t other media personalities handle matters of that nation in such a classy way?

    On a side note. I really really hated last night’s tie. Definitely one of the worst he’s ever worn.

    • CN Helper

      I am with you, Katt. The tie was pretty bad, a rare miss for our fashion forward host. The whole thing about Trump had me in stitches, and I love that Stephen got to meet him and get that amazing picture.

  • anais0509

    Love. Absolute love. That’s all I can really say about that opening. Just as classy, sweet and clever as I expected it to be. I swear…Stephen and his writers really are geniuses in how they are able to talk about a subject without going too far but just enough to make their point. And Stephen’s subtle nod to his mother…my heart exploded at that moment. I’m glad that she has a strong spirit and is on the mend. Stephen looked happy to be back and to be surrounded by his devoted Nation once more. Welcome back, Stephen! We’ve missed you!!

    I really enjoyed the interview. Patchett seems like an interesting, smart woman. I mean, she made Stephen speechless TWICE! Which other guest has done that? And, as I just realized, she’s coming to BAM in May for a book signing! What a small world. My only beef with her was the same as llama: You’ve Got Mail was in the 90s, not 80s, this coming from someone that considers that movie one of her favourites. But she did a great job overall so I’ll let it slide. And, just like Katt, I also hated that tie that Stephen wore last night. Bleurgh. What an ugly colour combination. But other than that, I was just happy to see Stephen back again so that my heart could be at ease once more.

  • Cosmo

    Was I the only one who thought he was going to do the intro out-of-character when he said the “Hi, how you’ve been?” That was a beautiful, amazing, perfect, wondrous opening! :) I loved being reminded about the books later on in the show, too. I can’t wait for May/October. And don’t get mad at me, but… I kind of liked the tie. :P

    • Erika

      I liked the tie too! I thought it was a little on the ugly side, but yet it somehow worked with the grey suit, and all together looked very peppy while worn by someone as sweet and smiley as Stephen, which seemed perfect for such a day.

    • AgentNutmeg

      x3 everything you said Cosmo.

  • Ann G

    I’ll also add my praise for the opening of the show. Stephen addressed the situation perfectly, with the right amount of humor and just enough information to be a relief for all of us who were concerned about him and his mother. I’m so glad that wonderful lady is “tough as nails,” and it was reassuring to see Stephen back and in good spirits.

    I was looking forward to the interview, since I’m in the book business and have a vested interest in seeing the industry continue to thrive in spite of the rapid changes and insecure economy. While I admire what Ms. Patchett is trying to do by encouraging people to patronize independent bookstores, I’m just a tiny bit disappointed that neither she nor Stephen pointed out that the local public library is also an alternative in areas where bookstores have closed, and it’s just as important (if not more so) to support public libraries. But I suppose that’s another topic for another interview…

    I have no opinion on the tie. :D

  • Roseha

    I’m so thrilled that Stephen’s Mom is better too needless to say. I loved the little shout out to her. Tough as nails indeed.

    and the little quiet aside: “Not gonna happen…” re his Presidential run…

    I loved the interview, Ann Patchett really knew how to get her point across without breaking the fourth wall or trying to be too funny herself. Loved her joke about Stephen going into Amazon with a sharpie and opening all their boxes of books to sign them all.

    Yes, I guess the tie was – well, kind of like one of Conan’s ties, heh, but it doesn’t bother me really.

  • Kris

    Stephen’s return was like sunshine! There’s a quote the whole situation reminded me of “If you think you’re tough, imagine how tough the (lady) who bore you must be?” Cheers to one tough lady^_^

    The tie was funky ugly enough for me to enjoy. It looks like it was ripped straight out of the seventies.

    • AgentNutmeg

      Or Flatpoint High ugly :)

      • Kris

        Ha ha, now I’m picturing Katt as Noblet weeping and yelling “Why?” about that hideously awesome tie. Eyes in the back of the room class.

  • llama

    I am indifferent to the ties, mostly but when I saw that one I knew that it would garner mostly negative votes from the fangirls.