January 21, 2013 — Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Colbert Report episode guide EPISODE NUMBER: 9047 (January 21, 2013)
GUESTS: Ta-Nehisi Coates
SEGMENTS: Intro – 01/21/2013 | Obama’s Second Inauguration | Stephen’s Re-Inauguration | ThreatDown – Flu, Kate Middleton, Vomiting Robots, Superintelligent Gonorrhea, Bears | Ta-Nehisi Coates | Sign Off – Hotel Bibles
SUIT REPORT: Navy Striped Suit | Blue Shirt | Gray/Light Blue Striped Tie
VIDEOS: Monday, January 21, 2013

Stephen Colbert lying on booksI, the Reverend Sir Dr. Stephen T. Mos Def Colbert, D.F.A., Heavyweight Champion of the World, do solemnly affirm that I will faithfully reject this President of the United States. And will, to the best of your knowledge, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, and ensure he is a one two-term President, in sickness and in health, so help me God, play ball, the tribe has spoken, bada bop ba-da! I’m lovin’ it.

What a remarkable show! Stephen’s take on Obama’s first inauguration was among the The Colbert Report’s most memorable moments, and for the second, Stephen’s comments were well matched in forcefulness and passion to Obama’s strong second inaugural address. Loved him “re-inaugurating” himself on a pallet of bibles.

Trouble is, you could tell that Stephen, poor baby, is sick. He looks like, well, someone who has the flu. Having had it myself recently I can’t believe that he managed to pull off such an energetic performance. It takes a while with this year’s strain to get back to normal, but he didn’t pare down the material or even mention his having it, even in passing, on the broadcast. The worst part was when he was retching over that image of ranch dressing. But he still powered through – that’s dedication.

That Threatdown was amazing. How the writers linked together the flu epidemic to bears should be brilliant enough to get the Emmy right there. I am not normally really into the Threatdown as a segment, but this one was particularly brilliant.

The interview was pretty good. Mr. Coates totally schooled Stephen when the subject of Michelle Obama’s bangs came up – you don’t talk about a black woman’s hair!

Happy Inauguration Day! Share your thoughts in the comments.

Intro – 01/21/2013

  • Tonight! Full coverage of the historic Second Inaugural….of Vice President Biden.
  • Then, America gets the flu. The ratings for The Price Is Right have never been higher.
  • And I’ll discuss Obama’s second term with editor for The Atlantic Ta-Nehisi Coates. Which one of us will be black? The answer may surprise you.
  • Atari has filed for bankruptcy today, but their thinking about just taking it out, blowing on it, and seeing if it will work again.

Obama’s Second Inauguration

  • Now to get rid of him, we have to impeach him twice. Oh, clever girl.
  • [On second inaugurations in general.] That’s like people who renew their wedding vows. We get it, you’re married! I am not buying you another salad bowl.
  • It is a freaky Bible three-way, folks, it’s sick.
  • And it’s so transparent that Hollywood Hussein over here, used Lincoln’s Bible to ride the popularity of Spielberg’s blockbuster.
  • It’s the exact same reason back in 1992 Clinton hopped on the Basic Instinct
    wagon by swearing in on Sharon Stone’s vagina. An oath he kept, by the way.
  • And I have to admit, this shows how far we’ve come as a nation: a black guy who likes James Taylor.
  • (sings) Because I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain, but I’ve never seen a black guy at your show.
  • Then came of course the Presidential Pride Parade with 8 floats representing the President’s and Vice President’s home states….Delaware, which honored [itself] by just driving through the parade on its way to somewhere else.
  • Sorry, I was just yawning to life. Would it kill you to throw a rhyme in there? It’s a poem, it’s not that hard.

The Colbert Report on Obama InaugurationStephen’s Inauguration Day Poem for Mr. Obama

There once was a man named Barack,

whose re-election came as a shock.

He raised taxes I pay,

and then turned marriage gay.

And now he’s coming after your Glock.


  • Poet laureate, please!!
  • “We, we, we” all the way home. And this little piggy is sick of it!

Socialist overreach is coming folks! By February we’ll all be chained up in solar-powered asparagus gulags, being force-fed birth control pills by illegal immigrants who gay-marry us to endangered sea turtles. My advice: find a good looking turtle mate soon, you don’t want to end up with a butter beak. (shows Mitch McConnell)

  • It was not supposed to be this way! It was supposed to be day one for, what’s his name…Dip Chutney! Ham Hockney? Rom Comedy! Whatever, remember all those great things that he was going to do on the first of day of his presidency?

Stephen Colbert forgets Mitt Romneys nameTV hosts who are nauseated by food:

“What could have been. I am guessing on Day One [Romney] watched a Designing Women marathon, played Fruit Ninja on the toilet, and drank ranch dressing straight from the bottle. Still, a pretty good day.”

Stephen’s Re-Inauguration

Stephen Colbert with the Bible“These 1,700 bibles once belonged to Lincoln….Nebraska’s Red Roof Inn.”

ThreatDown – Flu, Kate Middleton, Vomiting Robots, Superintelligent Gonorrhea, Bears

  • Folks, I’ve had a beef with influenza ever since the early twentieth century when fifty million people were killed by the Spanish flu. You’re telling me an American pathogen wouldn’t do that job?
  • Clearly hospitals are short staffed. No one’s had time to treat that terrible rash around Chuck Todd’s mouth.

The Colbert Report on hospitalsAnd folks, just look at this global flu activity map on google trends. The U.S. is so infected we’re filling up South America with our phlegm.

  • Nation, I say we must quarantine our children immediately! The government must put up buildings to sequester them (shows a school), we’ll group them by age and keep them their during high activity hours, from 8-3 pm, bus them in there if we have to.
  • Yes, the Winter Vomiting Bug, far worse than the spring vomiting bug, which at least gets you in shape for bikini season.
  • Threat no. 4; Kate Middleton! She’s Princess Zero, Queen Typhoid, Her Royal Hurlness. Thanks to Kate this winter vomiting bug can become a global pandemic, because Kate’s the ultimate trend setter. If she could make people want to wear a plate on their head (shows ridiculous hat), she can make you want to wear your lunch on your sleeve.
  • Because if you want to study vomous spray patterns, you have just two options: build a robot that pukes, or ride the subway after 2 AM.
  • Threat no. 3: Vomiting Robots. Really science? You know we haven’t cured cancer yet, right? You might want to put some of this energy into that. Once our robots are vomiting, who’s going to clean up after my Roomba? My other Roomba? It’ll start puking when it sees the other one blow chunks. On the plus side, we’ll finally have a robot the Japanese won’t want to have sex with. But they should, because…

Superintelligent GonorrheaThreat no. 2: Superintelligent Gonorrhea. […] So if you’ve got VD, [Gonorrhea drug] Cefixime no longer cefixe-you. Or anyone else. Meaning everyone is in danger. Everyone except the number one threat to America-“

(all together now ;))

Bears! That’s right. Giant Pandas have super antibiotics in their blood. And all this time they were pretending that they needed our protection. (mockingly) “Ooh, shelter us, we’ll die if someone looks at us too hard.” And are they offering to share their super-resistant blood? No! Their just waiting for us to be wiped off the face of the earth by a “Super-Clap” that won’t harm them. It’ll be ilke Planet of the Apes, only the Apes are pandas, and this time the planet is Earth.

Interview – Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates Colbert Report interviw

Stephen: People tell I’m white, and I believe them, because I love James Taylor.
Ta-Nehisi: As a “black folk,” I don’t want to speak for 30 million or 40 million-
Stephen: Do it, do it.
Ta-Nehisi: I think we’re pretty excited…it’s pretty big. In fact, I would go so far as to say this is bigger than the last time.
Stephen: Why?
Ta-Nehisi: That was because kind of no one saw it coming, “Cinderella team wins the championship.” This was defending the championship, and we defended the championship. So black folk are excited about that.
SC: African-American children can look up to Barack Obama as a role model. What about white children? They have to look up to Joe Biden. Is that fair?

Ta-Nehisi: There was no way for [Obama] to unite the country, except to lose, to go away.
Stephen: Right.

Stephen: It would have united the country again, but he put his own desires above what’s best for the nation, and decided-[…]”what Barack wants, Barack gets.”

Stephen: [As the son of black panther], did Obama fulfill your radical agenda?
Ta-Nehisi: My radicalization held that there could never be a black president…. Obama kind of broke my world view, actually….if anything his presidency made me less radical, and then people’s response to his presidency made me more radical, so I kind of flip-flopped, whip sawed back and forth.
Stephen: As someone who has been an observer of Obama’s presidency, can we talk about Michelle Obama’s bangs?
Ta-Nehisi: Well Stephen this is the first rule of being president of Black America: you don’t talk about a black woman’s hair. Don’t do it, don’t do it. So she thinks it’s great, it’s great.

Sign-Off – Hotel Bibles

Stephen Colbert with Hotel Bibles

  • Kaydeecee

    What an awesome guest to have on your show!!! Looking forward to it!!!

  • Elanor Gamgee

    *Stand and clap*

    So glad he didn’t look stricken with the flu; hopefully performing made him feel better.

    The laying on the bibles – inspired on so many levels! LMAO. Loved the Obama’s third term, threat down and the interview.

    Thank you, Sir Dr. you hit it out of the park!

  • Mr. Arkadin

    Actually CN, they did acknowledge Stephen’s flu. Well, sort of. In the opening, in place of “Dark Eleven Thirty,” they had “Sorry Pitt.” I thought it was really classy of them.

    Whole show was great. But I really enjoyed the Clinton joke. Totally gratuitous and cheap. And I loved it! I lived through his time as president and I can’t stomach this nostalgia for his time in office. He was terrible! He only looks good now because dubya was so awful! I particularly loved the detail of having Sharon Stone being held by Hilary while bubba has his hand on Stone’s lady parts. Good stuff!

    Another great episode guide, Lady Helper. (Thanks for writing up the poem, especially.) You’ve been on fire! And I don’t mean from your recent flu either! Which I’m sure you got from those awful germ machines the elites call “kids.” 😉

  • CN Helper

    @Mr. Arkadin I was tempted to put that Clinton joke screen grab up, but then I thought, nah, this is a family blog, we don’t want to go there. I love how they never fail to try to shock and awe the viewers.

    I was in HS during the Clinton years so it’s all kind of a blur to me. At least we ran budget surpluses (surpli?), as opposed to humungozoid trillion dollar deficits as is conventional nowadays. I do recall the descent into crappiness that occurred when W. took office.

    Thanks, Mr. A. I guess I got a second wind when the show came back this January, although the frigid cold here in Chicago makes snuglling up to one’s laptop that much more attractive as well. Today is like -5 F out. You don’t have these problems in CA, I am sure you would be happy to remind me 😉

  • llama

    Just commenting on that pic of Stephen on the books. I haven’t seen the episode yet and I’m intrigued as to what that’s all about. I can only imagine all the book-loving fangirls are in overdrive right about now, seeing that pic.

  • Mr. Arkadin

    @CN Helper

    No, no, no! I’m suffering here in Ca. too! It’s only getting up to 66 today! And tomorrow it’ll only be 61! Brrr!

    So like Bill Clinton: I FELL YOUR PAIN. 😉

  • anais0509

    As someone who’s supposed to be ill, how does he look so beautiful? His hair is perfectly styled the way I love it…

  • CN Helper

    @Mr. Arkadin Yes, I imagine you coming in from surfing to settle down and watch a little TCR and talk to your frigidly cold friends in the midwest/ east coast.

    And to your earlier point, yes, little ones are wonderful petri dishes to offer the latest of any kind of cold or flu going around; but they are too cute to give back, so that means they stay ;). Next year I am getting the flu shot for sure.

  • lockhart43

    The graphics of a Spanish Flu bug (a flu bug with a sombrero on it) and a Superintelligent Gonorrhea (the gonorrhea virus with a graduation cap on) are two of my favorite graphics, ever. Seriously, kudos to the person who had the idea for those. Those are absolutely hilarious and I love you for them.

    @Mr. Arkadin So that’s where all our degrees went, California took them! (Because that’s totally how weather works.) It was 0 degrees here today. The Fahrenheit system gave up today, that’s what happened in Michigan.

  • Mr. Arkadin


    “So that’s where all our degrees went, California took them! (Because that’s totally how weather works.)”

    Very well reasoned my friend! It’s good to see that Michigan has an edjukashun system with the same high standards we have in California. I’m sure we’ll give you back those degrees sometime in May. June, at the latest.

    I’m with you on last night’s graphics. They were great.