January 29, 2013 — George Saunders

The Colbert Report episode guideEPISODE NUMBER: 9052 (January 29, 2013)
GUEST: George Saunders | Cliff Sloan
SEGMENTS: Intro – 1/29/13 | Iran’s Space Monkey & America’s Ape Moratorium | Gun Control & State Sovereignty | Gun Control & State Sovereignty – Cliff Sloan | Guantanamo Bay Office Closure | George Saunders | Sign Off – “Tenth of December”
SUIT REPORT: Dark Grey Suit | White Shirt | Red Patterned Tie
VIDEOS: January 29, 2013


SensurroundIntro – 1/29/13

  • “My guest George Saunders wrote what the New York Times called ‘The best book you’ll read this year.’ Joke’s on them — I’m not reading any books this year.”
  • “Eating lunch earlier can help you lose weight, that’s why I always eat tomorrow’s lunch, tonight. This is the Colbert Report”

Iran’s Space Monkey & America’s Ape Moratorium

Well well well…Eye-ran, or Ih-RAHN however you prefer to pronounce it, has developed space-chimp technology.

Stephen Colbert on Irans space monkey

  • “Nation, for years I’ve been warning you about Iran (eye-ran). They are almost as big a threat as our other enemy, Iran. (ih-rahn) Frightening, also free-ten-ing”

They have launched chimps into space. I can see that you, along with Gretchen Carlson, have no idea how this could be done.

  • “How did they launch a monkey into space? Did they use a giant slingshot, or a monkey sized T-shirt cannon, or did they just do the obvious; put yellow tinted glasses on a monkey and wait until a crescent moon so it thinks it’s a banana and just climbs up there itself.”

Apparently Steve Doocy is a smart cookie, he knows that Iran has rockets. Rockets? Nah, I like the T-shirt cannon idea.

Weapons of Macac Destruction

  • “Well folks all this time we’ve been worried about enriched uranium. While Iran has been working on Weapons of Macac Destruction. It won’t be long ’til they have ICBM’s; intercontinental ballistic monkeys.”

Stephen pined for the days when kids could dream of sending monkeys into space.

  • “Every child grew up dreaming of launching a frightened bewildered animal into the cold depths of space.”

The government is announcing that there will be a moratorium on research using chimps but there is no space for them in the chimp sanctuary systems. If they are launched out into the streets, then will we be at risk?

  • “But I’m sure they’ll be able to forgive and forget all that scientific testing we put them through and live together in peace, right?”

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

  • “OH MY GOD! We have to get the Ayatollahs to shoot our retired apes into space. God, they’ll never do it, unless we tell them the chimps are gay Israelis.”

Gay MonkeysGun Control & State Sovereignty

So states are trying to get around that pesky little thing called the United States Constitution. Many states have introduced bills that would make it illegal to enforce the gun control measures that Obama laid out in his 23 point executive order.

  • “That means if an agent of the federal government is trying to take your high capacity magazine, just call 911 and say ‘Police, come quick, someone’s trying to enforce the law’.”

Stephen Colbert on law enforcement

  • “These states that aren’t up here, right now…these states…you know what they are”

Got a little bit of a character break in that one. I think Stephen was expecting the graphic of the states, that had just been shown, to pop up. Then we got one:

Stephen Colbert character break

  • “A new bill has been proposed by state representative, and man whose toys come to life at night (character break, joyous laughter, acting like it didn’t happen, more joyous laughter)…Jeff Smith.”

He has proposed a law that will neutralize the federal laws of the land about gun control. Yeah, that’ll work. Neutralizing the laws is just like Febreze.

  • “and he’s going to need some Febreze after those two tempura shrimp are done mating on his upper lip.”

Gun Control & State Sovereignty – Cliff Sloan

Friend of the show Cliff Sloan came on to debate with “Stephen” about the possibilities of states ignoring the laws. He did a great job coming up with quick rebuttals to “Stephen’s” arguments.

He said that states have tried to nullify Federal law and it’s always failed. Stephen asks for an example.

Cliff: Well, the Civil War was one example.
Stephen: You got anything else, that’s one little example.

Stephen: Where does it say in the Constitution, that the feds get to tell the states what to do?
Cliff: Article 6 of the Supremacy clause.
Stephen: Okay okay okay, ‘quick draw McGraw’ over there.

Cliff Sloan on The Colbert ReportStephen: Wait a second, the Supreme Court said that the Supreme Court gets to decide what’s constitutional. How convenient, that’s called activist judges.
Cliff: No, it’s called Article 3 of the Constitution.
Stephen: But there’s nothing in the Constitution that says the Constitution is constitutional. Check and mate.
Cliff: Wrong again, because the Supremacy Clause says that the Constitution and the laws of the United States are the supreme law of the land.
Stephen: Then the states could pass an amendment that says, ‘be it known you’re not the boss of me’.

Guantanamo Bay Office Closure

They are closing the office of ‘closing Guantanamo bay’. They have re-assigned the guy in charge to work out issues in Syria and Afghanistan. That’s a nice switch. I guess?

  • “I heard the conditions in that office were horrific. People held for years in cramped poorly lit quarters and repeatedly water coolered.”
  • “Keeping Gitmo open will help secure this part of George Bush’s legacy, along with brush free paths and the invention of the safety pretzel.”

Stephen Colbert on Guantanamo BayCongress passed road blocks like the one that “restricted detainees from being returned home even if they had been promised it as part of a plea deal. Thereby upholding the constitutionally guaranteed right of ‘Habeus psych!”

  • “It is time we embrace Gitmo as a part of this country. And not as a place for permanently imprisoning people without charges in a Kafka-esque labyrinth of human despair, but more as a terrorist retirement community — Jihadi Meadows. After all, much like our seniors, they wear brightly-colored jumpsuits, they’re often on a liquid diet, and we try our best not to think about them.”

Interview – George Saunders

He came on to talk about his book of short stories, “Tenth of December”. New York Times magazine called it the best book you’ll read all year. He explains to Stephen why short stories are good compared to our penchant for wanting big everything. He uses a metaphor of telling someone you love them with only three minutes to go before they get on a train, but Stephen still likes to pay by the pound.

Stephen now really wants to know if the woman loves him back. (I’d say yes)

George Saunders Colbert Report interviewStephen: That’s why I like Ayn Rand. She just takes two covers and shovels words in between them.

He likens the short story to a “duck walks into a bar.” joke. Ummm…okay. I didn’t quite follow, but I’m not very literary so there it is.

Stephen: Does the duck love me?

I think that if you’re way into books and stories you would enjoy the interview. I was not intrigued, because I am not really into literary topics. I didn’t really get way into this one, but if you’re into short stories, the New York Times seems to think this is the one to get.

  • CN Helper

    Wow, what a great ep! I really liked Cliff Sloan talking about state’s rights, he was spot on and quick to shut down any of Stephen’s arguments. Also, am seriously thinking about retiring to “Jihadi Meadows.”

    I am very tempted to check out George Saunders work. I like the way he described writing short stories vs. novels. I mean, I like them both, but some of the best reading experiences I have had have come from short stories, there is just something very effective about the genre overall.

  • Elanor

    SShhhhh, has anyone spoken to Trevor Potter about Stephen’s promiscuity with another lawyer? *headdesk*

    Yes, I agree, CN. I want to get 5th of December now. Loved how Stephen or Stephen leaned in with his interest in stories and writing. Oh, to hear them discuss on a panel, *sigh*

    Loved the breaks in this epi. Warms the heart!

  • Elanor Gamgee

    BTW, 5th of December is the cliff notes version … *headdesk* LOL

  • CN Helper

    @Elanor Gamgee
    Personally, I am biased towards the 8th of December 😉 You’re too much of a rookie to be showing signs of strain :p

  • karenatasha

    @Elanor Gamgee
    5th of December, 8th of December, 10th of December: all okay. But not the 7th of December, because that’s the date which will live in infamy. 😉

    It was a fantastic show from start to finish–including Stephen’s can’t-hold-it-together laughing meltdown. Just great.

  • llama

    Loved the use of Planet of the apes. It fits perfectly. The poor chimps, they had better take care of these guys. They helped us, and now we’re not going to provide for them in their golden years?
    Loved especially Cliff Sloan. He did exactly what Stephen tells every guest to do, disabuse him of his ignorance, and did it brilliantly.

  • lockhart43

    That double character break was adorable! It’s almost better that he stiffled, gathered himself, and then broke again. And there was that small one before that as well! He hasn’t had a break in a while, so to get three in a row made me a happy camper. I didn’t hear Cliff Sloan’s introduction by Stephen, but could tell right away that he was a lawyer from those grand arm gestures and “I have a point to make” index fingers. I talk with my hands all the time, mind you, so in no way do I mean that as an insult. Sloan was a good first act guest, I’m glad they covered that issue. I feel it’s important people realize the states are just proposing these laws in protest and the federal laws will always win outright. It’s never a bad idea to read the US Constitution.

    And speaking of good interviews: George Saunders! Stephen’s brain was definitely running during that interview, it was great. And I like that Saunders said that Stephen has a novelist tendency to him, that was a fitting compliment that I haven’t heard before.

  • Mr. Arkadin


    “I didn’t hear Cliff Sloan’s introduction by Stephen, but could tell right away that he was a lawyer from those grand arm gestures and “I have a point to make” index fingers. I talk with my hands all the time, mind you,…”

    Did you just admit (In a roundabout, adorable way of course!) that you’re a lawyer?

  • lockhart43

    @Mr. Arkadin If by “lawyer,” you mean “watches a lot of ‘Law and Order: SVU’ and took a lot of law-related classes in college” then yes!