March 8, 2012 — Don Fleming, Emmylou Harris & Elvis Costello

The Colbert Report Episode GuideEPISODE NUMBER: 8069 (March 8, 2012)
GUESTS: Don Fleming | Emmylou Harris | Elvis Costello
SEGMENTS: Eric Bolling’s Secret Gas Prices Plan | Herman Cain’s Avant-Garde PAC Ad | Don Fleming, Elvis Costello & Emmylou Harris | Don Fleming, Elvis Costello & Emmylou Harris – “Good Old Mountain Dew” | Exclusive – Don Fleming, Elvis Costello & Emmylou Harris – “Goodnight, Irene”
SUIT REPORT: Black suit | White Shirt | Yellow and black diagonal striped tie
VIDEOS: Thursday, March 8, 2012

Eric Bolling’s Secret Gas Prices Plan

Eric Bolling knows how to save everyone a dollar a gallon on gas but he’s holding the information hostage in a manila envelope. His demand: “President Obama, call me sometime. Oh, and since I have such little faith in the American government that I don’t believe the president of the country; with the resources of both the CIA and the FBI at his disposal will be able to find me, here’s my number. Did I just give that out on national television? Ooops.”

By the way, I don’t know whose number it was that Stephen gave out on the show but I can tell you this: they are a Verizon customer and their number has been temporarily disconnected.

Notable Quotables:

  • That’s right! A secret plan in a manila envelope to lower the price of a gallon of gas by a dollar What’s he got in there? Could it be a dollar?
  • I have to know what Bolling’s plan is! But he said only the President could call. Now, of course, he didn’t specify president of what. I happen to president of a Super PAC… and I am also the president in exile of the Justin Bieber-belieber fan club. I will have my revenge Shelly, you backstabbing she-viper!

Last week I had to cancel my annual lawn fire, where I write out my spring time resolutions in gasoline on my lawn. It’s too bad; this year’s resolution was going to be to conserve more gas.

I want Obama to call me too! Look, sir. President Obama, I've got a plan to eliminate the debt. And, and, and I've gotta plan to invade and defeat Iran in three days. And I've got, I've got, uh, these are the results of some blood tests. And this is some poetry from college. And this, this, this is my plan to organize my manila envelopes.

Hello Eric Bolling, it's Barack Obama calling. I'm just here in the oval office, stroking my pet white person. Thinking of ways to destroy America with contraception. What if we put the Lady Liberty on the pill? Yes! Yes! Oh, Eric Bolling if you only knew the things I was planning to do with the oil market. Listen, Eric, I really want these plans you have... I want you to stitch them onto American flag and then burn it. And then I'll inhale the vapors and know what your plan is. Seriously, call me.

Call me at this number Eric. Remember, only Eric Bolling should use this number. It's my direct line and I pick it up every time someone calls. Of course, there is this little game I play where I pretend it's not my number but don't give up! It's just to throw the Non-Eric Bollings off the scent.

Herman Cain’s Avant-Garde PAC Ad

Herman Cain is so Avant-garde he doesn’t even know it and his new ad is pumping the life blood back into his political corpse. Much like throwing a glass of H2O on a fish out of water: It’s temporary and painful to see. Never to be outdone by his brother from another mother, Stephen creates an ad that PACs a punch straight to your gut. That is where your thoughts come from, right?

Notable Quotables:

  • I’ve always respected Cain. From his 9-9-9 tax plan to his bold vision of quoting Pokemon to letting his campaign be run by the savviest of highway drifters.
  • Spoiler alert, it is a Hermasterpiece.
  • I was so inspired by Cain’s art-attack or arttack ad, that I chugged a bottle of Robitussin, punched myself in the temple with a porcelain cow creamer and made an Avant-garde ad of my own. About all the things we forgot we used to be mad about. Jim, let’s shatter some paradigms.

He's my brother from another mother. My sister from another mister. My uncle Chucky from another aaawww, shucky ducky.

… Cain knows the Avant-garde is about confronting preconceived bourgeois notions of political messaging. In this case: the violent reminder that the stimulus, which no one has really talked about for a year, happened. The goldfish is a metaphor for our economy, caught in the grip of a capricious and cruel universe represented by the little girl, a ferocious fragility in the barren landscape of decay. Toying with life’s duality, as both critic and criminal. And I got all of that from her bangs.

Finally. Finally, in a Salterian denouement of nothingness, Cain stands on a grassy ledge overlooking the eighteenth hole of madness. Of course, that’s just one interpretation. Another could be that his campaign manager has switched what he’s smoking.

This is the economy on regulations... This is contraception... This is the auto bailout... This is gay marriage.

Van Jones... The Mexican border... Socialism... This is grandma in a dystopian future. Any questions?

Any questions? Ew, gross! He's peeing.

Don Fleming, Elvis Costello & Emmylou Harris

My guests tonight are here to talk about the folk music legacy of Alan Lomax. Not to be confused with the tree saving legacy of Alan Lorax.

Stephen: …I think of folk music as poor people music, right?.. It like the Mexican food of music. It’s for poor people right?

Emmylou: Well, it’s music that doesn’t make much money. They used to have a category in the Grammy’s, you know, uh, contemporary folk. Good records that don’t sell.


Stephen: What does it cost?

Don: It doesn’t cost anything, you just go in there-

Stephen: So you’re keeping up the tradition of folk artists not making any money? For a new generation, they will learn the pure folk art.


Stephen: …Elvis, were you influenced by anything that Lomax recorded?

Elvis: Well, I-I didn’t know the songs always directly from Lomax because I grew up in England. That’s where those old, dusty songs came from. I actually had to hear the way that they were done by American artists before I got interested in them. Because some of them were just, they were songs sung by men in cable knit sweaters about whale fishing and things like that.

Stephen: Whaling songs! Everybody, young people love whaling songs.

Nottamun Town-Jean Ritchie

Masters of War- Bob Dylan

Go to sleep little baby. Go to sleep little baby.

Mama’s gone away and Daddy’s gone to stay.

Leave nobody but the baby.


Don Fleming, Elvis Costello & Emmylou Harris – “Good Old Mountain Dew”

There’s an ol’ holler tree down the road here from me
Where you lay down a dollar or two.
You go round the bend, when you come back again
There’s a jug full of mountain dew.

Well, they call it that (good) ole mountain dew
And them that refuse it are few.
I’ll shut up my mug, if you fill up my jug
With that good old mountain dew.

Well, my ole aunt Jill bought some new perfume
And it had such a sweet smellin’ pew.
But to her surprise when she had it analyzed
It was nothin’ but good ole mountain dew.

Well, they call it that good ole mountain dew
And them that refuse it are few.
I’ll shut up my mug, if you fill up my jug
With that good ole mountain dew.

Well, my brother Bill’s got a still on the hill
Where he runs off a gallon or two.
And the buzzards in the sky get so drunk they can’t fly
From smellin’ that ole mountain dew.

Well, they call it that good ole mountain dew
And them that refuse it are few.
Well, I’ll shut up my mug if you fill up my jug
With that good ole mountain dew.

Well, I’ll shut up my mug, if you fill up my jug with that good ole mountain dew.

Sign Off – Don Fleming, Elvis Costello & Emmylou Harris – “Goodnight, Irene”

Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene. I’ll see you in my dreams…

  • T. Fey

    What was that site with the free folk tunes??

  • colbaby

    Holy moly, this episode could have stretched on forever as far as I’m concerned. Talented people sitting around discussing amazing music and then performing said music? Stick a fork in me, I’m done. I really hope Stephen follows in Steve Martin’s footsteps one of these days and records an album. A non-Christmas/comedy album that is.

    • Kris

      There is such a rich history of singing comedy and Stephen would be a perfect candidate to continue it. Pure genius Colbaby, pure genius!

      • karenatasha

        Ah, I think Colbaby was suggesting non-Christmas AND non-comedy both: the way Steve Martin has forged a serious musical career.

        That said, there IS an amazing folk tradition of comic, satiric, political music that I’d love Stephen to try. Even though it’s funny, it does involve real singing and is musically satisfying. I think he’d be terrific at that. Not that he couldn’t do non-humorous stuff: it’s just that not that many people could do the parodic as well as he could. It’s a gift he has that most musicians don’t.

        • Kris

          Well, I’m totally down with that too:) Sorry for misunderstanding Colbaby!

          Karenatasha, I totally agree that it would be fantastic if Stephen put out a parody album (although I would love to hear him really sing).

  • juice

    What a magnificent episode! This is one that should have an extended version online. Cracked me up to watch Elvis try not to laugh out loud when Stephen quipped, “And then the beat drops,” after Jean Ritchie’s recording.

    • juice

      “Oh, frabjous day! Calloo! Callay!” there’s more online! :)

      P.S. Sorry if I made any grammatical errors in the quote; it’s barely 7 a.m.

      • Kris

        I’m pretty sure there’s some international law that no one should be held accountable for spelling or grammar until at least 9am… That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

        Thanks for commenting Juice:)

  • Ann G.

    Thank goodness all of “Goodnight Irene” is up on Colbert Nation. I was ticked when they cut it off during the show!

    That interview could have gone on a long time, as far as I’m concerned. That’s the kind of music I grew up with, and I never get tired of listening to experts talk about it.

    If Stephen ever does make a (sort of) serious CD, Elvis Costello should produce it. Just sayin’.

    Also: what the hell are Herman Cain’s people smoking?? That was… bizarre. Hilarious, but bizarre.

    • Kris

      Watching that interview made me feel like when you’re a child and get to stay up late to listen to the adults talk and tell stories. You know they’d never usually talk that way around “the children” so you stay nice and quiet to avoid being sent to bed. It really felt like we we’re watching them just talk to each other because they were interested in what each other had to say. Not that they were trying to entertain us, which of course, made it highly entertaining.

      A serious CD would be very welcome! It would be amazing to have all of his duets with his musical guests for sure.

      I think they took an old tired idea “this is your brain, this is your brain on drugs” and made something even less honest than the original message. I’m sure many people would have thought it couldn’t be done.

  • Caroline

    Wow. Loved their version of “Goodnight, Irene”. It was also great to see the expression on Elvis and Emmylou’s faces as they listened to the recording of the female singer Jean Ritchie. You could see they were blown away by her voice.

    As for Herman Cain, his ads just keep getting weirder and weirder. No wonder all the comedians were so sad to see him drop out of the race.

    • Kris

      Ms. Ritchie’s voice was hauntingly beautiful and it was fascinating to hear how Dylan lifted the tune. It was a great example of how music evolves but great music never really dies. It’s just homaged again and again.

      Also the expression on Stephen’s face whenever Elvis played was so joyful!

      I’m starting to wonder if Stephen’s is more right than he knows with Cain being “his brother from another mother”. Cain missed his calling, he should have went into comedy. Except I guess he’d have to know he was being funny… Never mind.

  • Karenatasha

    Stephen, good night
    Stephen, good night.
    Good night, Colbert. Good night, Colbert.
    I’ll see you on TV.

    God, I loved that show. First off, folk music was my childhood soundtrack, and “Good Night, Irene,” is a long-time favorite. And I appreciate the amount of time devoted to increasing awareness of the Lomax Archives, which are a real treasure–not only for American music but for music everywhere.

    Wow–the Cain train has not only derailed, it’s gone flying into some kind of mind-boggling psychedelic wackiness. The Cain crew must really be completely mad, and that parody was a total riot.

    • Kris

      Yay for your little song ^_^

      Pretty sure that show achieved Colbert Classic status immediately. It is really wonderful that many young people got to hear the beauty and powerful messages that lie behind folk music. So many have either the “cable knit sweater singer of whaling songs” preconceived notion stuck in their head or even more sad, no notion at all.

      Loved Stephen’s pictorial metaphors in that commercial, which were so much more imaginative that Cain’s “fish out of water” ad.

      • karenatasha

        Thanks! I’ve already downloaded the episode from iTunes. I’ve been downloading so many recently I think I’m just going to have to buy them all soon. Usually I don’t bother, because there’s such good access on the website. But I’ve wanted to own some of the amazing stuff he’s produced lately without depending on it staying up forever.

        Folk music is such a wide and open form, particularly when you take into account the worldwide perspective that Lomax had. And it’s important that people realize the African-American and African contribution, which is so often overlooked. But I would like to make a small pitch for that “cable knit seater wearing singer of whaling” (and similar) songs. I love the Clancy Brothers, who did some of the best Irish folk songs. They did wear those Irish-knit sweaters–but they were grand. And somehow I suspect the very Irish-aware Stephen knows their music very well.

        • Kris

          Being Irish myself, I hear what you’re saying and have a soft spot for those muscians in the cable knits as well. I could see how that music may not appeal as strongly as much of the folk that came out of the Appalacians (where a large numberr Celts moved, by the by). I do agree, however, that far too little attention is paid to the African/African American contributions to the folk movement over the years.

          Who can blame you for wanting to own all this goodness Stephen has gifted us with lately. I keep wishing they’d put out another “best of” DVD as I love sitting back and watching it on the TV.

  • karenatasha

    I can’t stop listening. Emmylou Harris’s angelic, ethereal vocals soaring over the guys’ voices–it’s a lovely performance. That song is just so haunting.

    I don’t think “Good Night, Irene” will be leaving my brain for a while.

  • somuch2kno

    As much as I’d be coo-coo for an album (yes, I said “album”) of original recordings from Stephen, if they ever collected the tracks from the duets and group vocals he’s done on the show, they’d have a pretty tasty vehicle to raise funds for some worthy cause somewhere. Just sayin’. (Still waiting for the MP3 gods to drop a little something from Monday into the ‘nets pipeline. I completely appreciate your frustration, Kris.)

    • Kris

      Completely agreed about the album! Come on Stephen, you know you want to fill Donor’s Chooses’ coffers some more:)

      I hear you about the MP3 somuch2know. I am right there with you! There have got to be a lot of music and tech fans of Stephen’s out there. Wouldn’t doubt if the MP3s already exist. Most of the problem is trying to search for what they’ve made. I’m sure you get the same overwhelmingly unrelated results I do when looking.

  • CN Helper

    Just want to give credit where credit is due: this episode guide was done by Kris, many thanks to her for her fabulous work as always.

    • Kris

      Thanks CN Helper, it was my pleasure.

  • karenatasha

    By the way, although I rarely do this, may I take a moment to praise the beauty of the next-to-last photo of Stephen–the serious-looking profile with his head lowered and his eyes shut? I believe it’s a new favorite.

    • Kris

      The one great thing about them cutting the “Goodnight Irene” song? That cap was the last shot of the night. A beautiful little moment I might have overlooked otherwise. It was the very first cap I pulled for the whole guide. So glad others are enjoying it as I felt it conveyed a lot of emotion.

      It’s always great to hear when a cap moves someone^_^

  • whatsername

    Has anyone tried calling that 212 number that *only Eric Bolling* should call? Who is on the other end, pretending not to be Stephen?

    • Kris

      Last night the line had a busy signal for the longest time, then I got the “temporarily disconnected message”. Just tried again and got a busy signal.

      The world may never know!

      • Katt

        It goes to the New York Building Department.

        • karenatasha

          Really? Oh, boy.

          • Kris

            I’m now wondering what the New York Building Department did to earn this little joke…

  • Roseha

    Agree I would love a recording with Stephen’s various guests and it would be a great way to raise cash for Donor’s Choose as suggested. There’s got to be a lot out there that we’ve never gotten to hear.

    Elvis producing Stephen is a fascinating idea….

    • Kris

      Elvis or Jack White. Actually both should just be involved. Maybe they could do a combo of the songs from the show that Stephen has sung with guests and some new funny songs.

      On the Christmas special my favorite song was really “Cold, Cold Christmas” (though I loved his and Elvis’ song “There are much worse things to believe in”). I could totally enjoy an entire album of ironical folksy songs sung by Stephen.

      The point: apparently the man needs to start recording music!

  • CN Helper

    Ok: so is somebody going to get us an mp3 of Irene! Must have for my collection ! *grabby hands but still says please*

  • Katt
    • CN Helper

      Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

      • Kris

        This is the greatest day for MP3 finds ever!!! Now if only there was one for him and Placido Domingo I would be completely satisfied. Thanks so much Katt for being a google ninja.

    • W&M_NU

      Thank you!

  • Caroline

    Thanks so much, Katt!

  • lockhart43

    My favorite thing about the TCR avant-garde ad was Hans Beinholtz. I don’t know who that guy is, but he’s hilarious.

    Something about seeing Stephen in a suit and tie singing an old folk song with his hands in his pockets just makes me so unbelievably happy. Toss in the guitar playing and I’m happy for life.

    • Kris

      Hans is amazing, his stage presence alone is overwhelming. Let it never be said that Germans can’t be funny…

      If Stephen ever needs to fill in time on the show, I think we’ve all offically agreed that he could just sing a song, any song and we’ll be quite content.

      • lockhart43

        The video they made of Hans trying to get people to invest in Germany just killed me when I first saw it. He’s so deadpan and, honestly, a little terrifying, that it ups the ridiculous and makes it funnier. Beinholtz was a good find, that’s for sure.

        I love how Stephen’s singing has become a larger part of the show over time. Not that he’s not already equipped with a healthy and completely modest sense of self-assurance, but it’s like he realized how much he really likes to do it and how much fun it is, and just decided to go for it more and more. I’m probably wrong, but I wonder if Company had anything to do with that.

        • Kris

          Stephen always uses him brilliantly too. Gives him a spot that he can really shine and have the greatest comedic impact.

          Since Company he definitely seems to have increased the frequency with which he sings but I wonder if it isn’t even more than that. In the past, in interviews I’ve read, Stephen always used to say that he’d miss singing with guests because he’d be “too busy” to come down when they were doing their set. In the last year though, I’m not sure what he’s doing differently because he’s never “too busy” for anything. Singing or not, he’s constantly involved in side projects and doing more off set reports, on top of the Super PAC and personal appearances for a multitude of events. Plus the ongoing Jimmy Fallon frenemy skits. This has shown up with the singing too but its like it’s everything. Now, its two books in one year and who knows what else. The man is like a d@^n energizer bunny.

          *sigh* I hope it never ends:)

  • anais0509

    …Two performances in one week…playing a guitar and showing off his golden vocal chords…is Stephen deliberately trying to induce cardiac arrest in all of his fangirls? I feel a bit faint…

    That said, beautiful episode. Nothing else to add. Just nodding to everyone else’s comments, closing my eyes and lovingly listening to the voices of Stephen and his guests in my head…

    • Kris

      Let me get the smelling salts, dear. Just breathe deeply and try not to think too much about Stephen singing with Placido, Elvis, Audra, Emmylou, or any eventual performance with Mr. Fallon. You know, it’s really not healthy to obsess and *passes out in dead faint*

      • anais0509

        *calls out weakly* Medic! Medic! Fangirls going down! *faints in succession*