Better Know a Guest: September 25 – 27, 2012

The Colbert Report Guest Line Up Hello, Hubsters!

Since Sunday was Emmy night, that means no Monday show this week. It feels like ages since we’ve been on a normal schedule for any length of time. As for the Emmys themselves, well, what is there to say? Congratulations, Daily Show, on the least surprising win of the evening, and cheers to Jon, Stephen, and Jimmy (Fallon—definitely not Kimmel) on the best and funniest bit of the night. The wrestling match was absolutely hysterical, and it looked as if they really got Jon. I’m surprised his clothes weren’t ripped! And wasn’t it lovely when they cut to Jon after the announcement, and he was clutching Stephen’s hand? I love those guys, I really do.

If you’ve been keeping up with the Hub (and if you haven’t, why haven’t you?), you know that Stephen will be everywhere in the next few weeks promoting his book. So I hope you have DVRs at the ready and that anyone in the New York City area has tickets for or plans to attend at least one event. I’ll be at 92nd Street Y on the 19th, but sadly I can’t make the appearance at Barnes & Noble due to a prior commitment.

Stephen welcomes a guest this Thursday who thrills me—and finally gives me the right to mention The X-Files in relation to The Colbert Report!  Hint: it’s not David Duchovny, though I wish he’d go on the show. See below for who it is.


Tuesday, 9/25: Claressa Shields

Claressa ShieldsStephen has already welcomed the (deceptively) delicate and tiny gymnasts who delighted everyone in London. Now he’s bringing on another gold-medal winner, but this woman has a lot more punch. Literally. Congratulations to middleweight boxer Claressa Shields on her Olympic victory over Nadezhda Torlopova from Russia. She became the only American boxer to triumph in England, and the first woman boxer to win gold ever. It set quite a record, because until now, women’s boxing has not even been an Olympic event.

Shields hails from Flint, Michigan (the same economically devastated city as Michael Moore), and according to her bio, she was the youngest member of the US Olympic boxing team. In fact, the 17-year-old hadn’t yet graduated from high school when the games took place. She wanted to learn the sport after hearing her father, a former boxer who had also been incarcerated several times, talk about champion boxer Laila Ali, daughter of the great Muhammad. Her dad didn’t agree to her request immediately, but made Claressa wait till her 11th birthday. He then took her to a renowned local trainer, and the rest is history. Prior to the Olympics, she won several tournaments, including the Junior Olympics and the National Police Athletic League competition.

Now, is it asking too much to have her give Stephen a boxing lesson? All the greats –Keaton, Chaplin—had boxing films, and it’s a wonderful conduit for comedy.


Visit her official website. I love the headline: Claressa “TRex Shields!

Follow Claressa on Twitter.

She gave a free boxing clinic in her hometown of Flint.

For some reason, despite her popularity, she has not been able to get sponsors. You are free to guess the reasons, and I hope that her appearance with Stephen helps. *Colbert Bump!*

See her Olympics stats.

Flint greeted their champion back home with cheers.

Read a Sports Illustrated article on her.

Here’s round-by-round coverage of her fight. It’s the best I can do, as NBC doesn’t have videos up. Why? Because NBC didn’t SHOW her victory at all. More #NBCFail, which is the hashtag I used all Olympics.

Like her page on Facebook.

Read a New Yorker article on her.


Wednesday, 9/26: Jim Holt

Jim HoltSome people like the really BIG questions. Jim Holt is one of them. His new book tackles nothing less than the entire world: Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story. It’s got a kind of chicken-and-the-egg inspiration: if God created the world, then who created God?  It sounds quite interesting, as the publisher’s synopsis suggests that Holt feels that both the “Big Bang” theory and God don’t quite cut it as explanations for the universe’s existence. He interviewed quite a number of experts for the work, including award-winning physicists, philosophers, a Buddhist monk, and major literary figures like John Updike.

A very respected journalist who focuses on science, math, and philosophy (particularly existentialism), Jim Holt writes for both The New York Times and the New Yorker, as well as several other journals and websites He has also written on humor, and has a book called Stop Me if You’ve Heard This: A History and Philosophy of Jokes. (Note that the publisher no longer seems to include this book on its website. You can find it on B&N and Amazon.)

Could any topic be more right for Stephen than this? I’m hoping for a really interesting discussion.


Read the New York Times review. I particularly love this quote from the book: “My own position,” he writes, seeking middle ground between the beliefs of Christians and Gnostics, is “that the universe was created by a being that is 100 percent malevolent but only 80 percent effective.”

Also from the Times: an interview with Holt.

Here’s a discussion in New York Magazine between Holt and Laura Kipnis, author and professor at Northwestern.

Read some of his New Yorker articles.

Holt has written for Slate, too. Here’s an index of some of his articles.

Here’s a Vanity Fair interview.

He appeared on Charlie Rose.

Holt can frequently be heard on NPR.

The Economist wrote a review of the book.


Thursday, 9/27: Vince Gilligan

Vince GilliganOkay—happy, happy me! I have been rightly scolded in the past for going off-topic in friendly X-Files discussions that have broken out on our Hub. But now . . . yes, I can! Vince Gilligan, although presently the creator of the award-winning AMC TV-series Breaking Bad, is also a former X-Files writer and producer. He wrote some of my favorite episodes, including the incredible “Pusher” (for fans of the show, the words “cerulean blue” will always bring a chill), the hysterically funny “Small Potatoes,” and the touching and beautiful “Paper Hearts. The depth and breadth of his best work is astounding.

Breaking Bad just finished the first half of its final season, heading toward what I imagine will be an explosive end next summer. Somehow, I have only begun watching it recently and have just a few episodes under my belt, but I think it’s absolutely amazing, a truly worthy follow-up to Files. The Virginia-born Gilligan attended Tisch School of the Arts and won his state’s Governor’s Screenwriting Award for his movie script, Home Fries, which was eventually produced with Drew Barrymore and Luke Wilson starring. The X-Files was his first major job, and earned him a couple of Golden Globes®. He followed it with the spin-off series, The Lone Gunmen, and several movies.

Since it premiered, Breaking Bad has won critical acclaim and garnered awards. Not only has the show’s star, Bryan Cranston, won several Best Actor Emmys (though not last night), but the series has repeatedly been nominated for Writing, Directing, and Best Show.


Did The X-Files influence Breaking Bad? This Indiewire article looks at Gilligan’s earlier work to see if it foreshadows the later series.

Read Gilligan’s bio on the Breaking Bad website. It includes links to several interviews.

He did an “exit interview” with Salon.

Gilligan answered fans’ questions about the show.

If you’ve seen the season five finale, here’s Gilligan’s analysis.

The New York Times interviewed him.

He was on Conan, and spoke about the show’s origins.

Gilligan recently discussed his potential post-Breaking Bad career.


And now let’s check in with our good friend, Jon Stewart!
Again, congratulations on your win . . . yada, yada, yada.


Tuesday, 9/25: King Abdullah II of Jordan?

Jon’s site still lists no one, but the Late Night TV page says King Abdullah. If it is the King, he would discuss his new book, Our Last Best Chance: The Pursuit of Peace in a Time of Peril. He’s ascended to the throne in 1999, and heads a constitutional monarchy.

Here is his website.

He visited Charlie Rose recently.

Wolf Bitzer had an in-depth conversation with him about al-Qaeda.


Wednesday, 9/26 : Olivia Wilde

Lucky lady who just appeared with Stephen recently is now visiting Jon! She has a new film out called Butter–which also stars Rob Corddry!– but I think she’ll also be talking politics with Jon.

Follow her on Twitter.

Like her on Facebook.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the filming, tweeted by Alicia Silverstone and retweeted by Wilde.


Thursday, 9/27: Amar’e Stoudemire

Well, Knicks fan Jon will have fun with this guest as Stoudemire is captain of the New York team. He’s also the creator of STAT: Standing Tall and Talented, a new children’s book series that dramatizes his difficult life as a child and shows how he got where he is today.

Visit his official website.

Follow him on Twitter.

Like him on Facebook.


Let me know which guests you’re most looking forward to!
Have a great week, everyone. Cheers!



  • lockhart43

    I unfortunately won’t be able to watch it until tomorrow, but I am so excited for Claressa Shields tonight! I rooted for her during the Olympics (Flint is just a couple of hours away from me), and bawled like a baby when she won Gold. I can’t put into words what that medal meant for that town, and how great it was that she gave Flint positive exposure like that, since any other time someone hears about that town, it’s because something bad just happened. It’ll be interesting to see how she takes Stephen and the kinds of questions he asks her.

  • Mr. Arkadin

    Hi Karenatasha! You’re right about the schedule. All the one and two-week breaks have really f—ed up my ability to stay up and watch the show’s first airings. Which, in turn, has messed up my ability to consistently Hub.

    Anyway. Like you, I’m really looking forward to Gilligan. Though I have to admit, it’s more because of “Breaking Bad” then “The X-Flies.” (And a wag of my finger to you Karen for being so late to B.B. What took you so long!? It’s great!) That said, I can’t believe AMC ended B.B. in the middle of its final season not just for the year, but until next summer! I’m really mad about it.

    As usual, you’ve made the other two guest sound interesting too. So I’m looking forward to them as well. And I’m all for Shields and “Stephen” boxing. Especially, because unlike Mike Tyson, I know no matter how “battered and beaten” Colbert would be at the end of the “match,” he’d still have both ears!

  • karenatasha

    Hello to both of you! Since it’s Yom Kippur, I probably shouldn’t be answering, but . . . oh well!

    Lockhart, thank you for your perspective on Claressa Shields. I did get the feeling, while writing about her, that her victory meant quite a lot for a devastated city. I think you will really be happy with the show when you get to see it, and Stephen’s kindness to her. He seemed to understand that she might not be a regular viewer who would get his type of play, and dialed it down appropriately and sweetly. I enjoyed her a lot and admired Stephen yet again.

    Mr. Arkadin, I deserve your scolding and hang my head in shame. I cannot even tell you why I didn’t begin watching “Breaking Bad” when it began. And right now, I haven’t had a chance to catch up. :-( But I will, I will. What I saw was absolutely fantastic. I’m very proud of Gilligan, and not surprised by his success. By the way, I hope you liked tonight’s (Tuesday’s) show, because Stephen was really sharp politically! I’m sure we’ll all discuss that more on the episode page. And as usual, thanks for your kind words.

  • CN Helper

    All I can say is that I am happy to see your fandoms colliding, karenatasha, with Vince Gilligan coming on the show. I remember watching the X-Files, but it’s sort of nestled in the 90s TV file cabinet of my recollection, along with Ally McBeal and Northern Exposure.

  • Katt

    I just love Olivia Wilde!! I hope she talks about shooting ‘Seeking Friends for the End of the World’ with Steve Carell. Which on a side note was in three cinemas for two weeks at 10am only. Cannot believe Australia completely ignored that movie, I really hope it comes out on DVD here at least!!

  • karenatasha

    Okay–just as a note: I am having trouble clicking on the reply button to individual posts. I don’t know why. So I’m going to have to answer as a separate comment.

    CN, “The X-Files was great, and also a pioneer show for online community. In many way it set the stage for the explosion of fan sites. Had ColbertNation had a site as good as the official “The X-Files” forum, everyone would be going there. But that never happened.

    Katt, I’m not sure if she’ll be speaking about that film as it’s long gone from American screens at this point, as she has a new one with Rob Corddry. I’m actually expecting most of the discussion to center around politics.

  • CN Helper

    Hey karenatasha the “reply” button is not liking me either right now, but we know the blog has had a bit of head cold the past couple days. We’ll get through it. I can’t imagine how a fan forum could generate such excitement, but I’ll take your Gen-X word for it. :) Although the thought of participating in other fan communities makes me break into a cold sweat, I’ve got my hands full keeping up with this one. But lovin’ it just the same.

  • karenatasha

    CN, yes — we’ll get through the glitches, for sure!

    Re the fan forum: well, you have to remember that online communities just didn’t exist back then, and “The X-Files” was a very cult show. The official site has forums for everything–each of the stars individually, a space to comment on episodes (as we do), and so forth. I’m still friends with people I met there, so many years later, and I hope I will be with the wonderful people I’ve met here. But you see, WE’VE (meaning fans, like DB with NFZ first, and now us) had to create the site for Stephen; Comedy Central didn’t do it.