February 18, 2014 – Brian Greene

The Colbert Report episode guide EPISODE NUMBER: 10064 (February 18, 2014)
GUESTS: Brian Greene | Janet Mock
SEGMENTS: Intro – 2/18/14 | Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show Debut | Transgender Awareness | Transgender Awareness – Janet Mock | Brain Greene | Sign Off – Goodnight
SUIT REPORT: Deep Dark Charcoal Pinstripe Jacket | White Shirt | Grey Diamond Pattern Tie
VIDEOS: Monday, February 18, 2014

Janet Mock on The Colbert ReportJanet Mock abuses Piers Morgan. Who doesn’t? He can take it.

Intro – 2/18/14

Tonight, Piers Morgan gets into hot water or as they call it in England, Beer.

Then, there’s good news coming out of Iraq and that news was immediately re-deployed to Afghanistan.

My guest Brian Greene is launching a new website dedicated to science education, but how do I get the baking soda and vinegar into my hard drive?

Employers in Spain are getting rid of daytime naps. Meanwhile, employers in America are getting rid of nighttime sleep.

This is The Colbert Report.

I wonder what the segment about Iraq was? I guess it got cut for time. Also, the thing about employers in Spain cutting naps? I’ve said for years that we should have siestas in the U.S. Don’t do it Spain!

Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show Debut

Stephen not only made an appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s first Tonight Show, but made his first appearance ever on The Tonight Show. I think that people are excited that The Tonight Show is back in New York. Conan took the show 3,000 miles to the opposite coast, but Fallon took it across the hall from Studio 6A to Studio 6B at 30 Rock. So now we could see Letterman, Jon Stewart, and all the east coast people like Robert DeNiro, Tina Fey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mayor Giuliani… and …Kim Kardashian…hmmm, may have to rethink this whole New York thing.

  • Before we begin, I want to welcome my friend Jimmy Fallon to the 11:30 time slot.
  • Jimmy, you’re going to do great. Everyone should check out Jimmy’s show on Fridays.

The bit Stephen was in was having everyone who said Fallon would never host the Tonight Show come out to pay off a $100 bet.

Here is Stephen mistaking Jimmy for a Coinstar machine:

Stephen Colbert pours coins on Jimmy FallonRight after Stephen paid off his bet, he took a selfie:

  • There’s Jimmy, thanking God that I’m there.

Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert selfieIn the bit, Stephen then did his best impression of Jesse Pinkman and said, “Welcome to 11:30, BITCH!”

Transgender Awareness

  • Nation is it me or has the nation gone crazy? Everyone’s covered in tattoos, has health insurance, it’s madness.
  • Nothing has me more confused than the transgenders. They’re everywhere from RuPaul’s drag race, to Glee to the Transformers movies. Hey, hey Optimus, you were born a robot. It doesn’t matter if inside you feel like you’re a truck.

Stephen Colbert on Optimus PrimeBest quote of the show: (about the Transgender population)

  • The whole thing makes my brain broke.

Facebook has come out with a list of 50 options one could choose to identify oneself as a gendered person.

  • The list rounds out with pangender, neither or other. OTHER! What did I not include in that list, pirate? merperson? minaj?

Stephen Colbert on new Facebook gender optionsThere is a transgender model named Carmen Carrera who has a following on Facebook that wants to see her in a Victoria’s Secret fashion show.

  • She can’t be a runway model. Not because she’s transgendered, but because she’s 28. Move it along gramma, move it along.

The Colbert Report on Carmen CarreraWhen she was being interviewed by Katie Couric, she didn’t like being asked about her private parts.

  • Lemme get this straight…now we can’t talk about genitals? I wouldn’t have a show if I couldn’t mention my balls. They are my co-hosts, Kathie Lee and Hoda.

Stephen Colbert names his ballsTransgender Awareness – Janet Mock

Author Janet Mock came onto the show to promote her book, “Redefining Realness”. She was on Piers Morgan’s show and after the show, she tweeted (in response to an on-screen graphic describing her as “a boy until age 18”) “I was not ‘formerly a man'” and also tweeted, “Get it the f*** together”.

So Stephen had her record that on a big red button so she could hit it during her interview at any point when Stephen is saying something wrong.

Only thing is, Stephen is the one who ended up hitting it, twice.

Janet: They used very problematic language that showed their lack of understanding …
Stephen: They? He’s a he. He self identifies as a single man. Don’t you identify him as anything other than a single man, that’s his choice. (Stephen hits button: “Get it the f*** together”)

To be clear, Janet, when using the words “they” and “their” is referring to Piers Morgan.

Stephen: Is it getting better for people in the trans community?
Janet: I think it is. I think that me sitting here with you as your first openly trans guest, I’m assuming, is an amazing moment, and also those 50 Facebook gender markers …
Stephen: That doesn’t seem like a lot to you?
Janet: No, actually it seems like a little. Where’s non-binary, where’s bi-gender, where’s all these different kind of options?
Stephen: That was in there too, but it’s only a half-hour show.

Well, to be fair to Facebook, they did list “other”. I somehow don’t think Ms. Mock would be too happy with that one though.

She talked about how, instead of using “she” and “he” or “him” and “her”, we should use the words, “they” and “their”, even though we are talking about one person. Stephen said, in so many words, that he’s too old for this kind of thinking. I agree with Stephen.

Stephen: What’s the most boring aspect of being transgender?

Janet: I think the most boring thing is talking to someone about how I’m telling them I identify.
Stephen: Are you bored right now? Because that’s what this entire conversation has been about.

(Stephen hits button: “get it the f*** together”)

I gotta say, from the look on her face after that question, I’m thinking she got nailed. She didn’t really have an answer, but she left with a smile and she does have a very nice smile.

Interview – Brain Greene

Brian Greene came on to promote his site, worldscienceu.com where kids and adults, I guess, can learn about science in a way that’s more accessible, with visuals and graphics and things to make it less intimidating.

Brian: I struggled as a kid trying to learn Einstein’s theories …
Stephen: Hey dummy, hey dummy.
Brian: Exactly, right.

I sympathize. Science was my worst subject in school but I wonder if I could’ve been better at it, had there been the internet and a website like this one.

Brian: If you go 99.999999999% ( I believe I counted the correct number of 9’s after the decimal point and coincidentally, I got 9) of the speed of light, you go out into space for six months, stay with me, turn around and come back you will have aged only one year, but earth will have aged 223,607 years … and when you tell that to a kid, science becomes something that they are no longer intimidated by, it’s no longer boring and it’s something that they want to know about.

Stephen’s knowledge of science shone through in this interview. I think sometimes he just can’t be the character and has to show that he knows stuff. Yet, the comedy is still there.

Stephen: So if I have a flashlight and I fire the flashlight at you, that first photon is coming at you at the speed of light, right?
Brian: It is. So’s the second one.
Stephen: …well, there may be a traffic jam or something like that. Chris Christie might put up some cones.

Brian Greene on The Colbert ReportSo go check out worldscienceu.com and “Redefining Realness”. Go on! Ga-head Ga-head!

  • karenatasha

    This was a completely brilliant show in every respect. I thought the Janet Mock interview was pure genius. Not only did Stephen skewer Piers Morgan and his ilk with some pretty sharp language, but using his character’s idiocy as a shield, he found a way to ask some basic questions about how the trans community wants to be treated. (And anyone who reads Dan Savage’s column will know that it continues to baffle a lot of people–even well-intentioned ones.) Sharp finish to that interview, though. I think Mock painted herself into a bit of a corner with her “boredom” comment!

    I also loved the interview with Brian Greene. Greene conveyed such excitement at bringing science to the masses and, of course, it’s a topic that Stephen relishes. It was simply a joyful discussion. At the end we did get a glimpse of how much Stephen differs from his character, because it was so clear that he already possessed much of the college-level science that Greene intends to put on the website.

    Stephen’s always in great spirits after a short break, and definitely returned in fine form.

  • CN Helper

    Janet Mock is a pretty, transgender woman, and I thought the way Morgan sensationalized her appearance was pretty dumb, but that is part of the reason I just completely stopped watching cable news. Jon and Stephen completely drummed the impulse to put CNN on out of me. I don’t think you go to the cable news channel for any nuanced view of anything, particularly a social issue such as transgender issues.

    That being said, I think for those of us who never had to question their own gender should be forgiven for finding the concept a little confusing. It was the first time I ever heard Stephen invoke his age as a way of pleading his own lack of understanding on the subject. But a great appearance by the Report’s first transgender guest ever.

    • llama

      I will reserve judgment somewhat about the Piers interview since I didn’t see it. I’m no fan of Piers. I will only go on what Stephen had on the show. So Piers had a graphic onscreen that said Janet was “a boy until age 18”. Now, is that not correct? Even if it was wrong or a misinterpretation or a misunderstanding, why the need for Ms. Mock to say “get it the f*** together”? Maybe she was referring to other things in the interview I don’t know, but it just seemed like an overly hostile response to something that was clearly not meant to be malicious, it was just an innocent misunderstanding. Also, I think Stephen made a great point when he said that the interview and the sensationalizing of her life will sell books. If she really wants to sell some paper, this kind of thing usually works. If this Piers interview went without incident, Stephen probably wouldn’t have addressed it and therefore, I wouldn’t have known anything about her and her book. Now I do.

      • I think the biggest problem with the graphic is that, in her heart, she wasn’t a boy until age 18. That was just how she was perceived and treated. She was born a female, and always felt like a female, but was also born with outward male qualities. We cannot begin to know what it feels like to be born in the wrong body and always treated as such. She’s trying to get over her past as “perceived as a boy” and then there it is, right in front of her on the screen, “a boy until age 18”. You see what I mean? As for the controversy helping her cause, yes it does, but it wouldn’t have been a controversy if she had just put up with it and not stood up for herself. It’s all part of the education.

  • The interview with Janet Mock was really fantastic. Janet is exuberant, lovely and doing a wonderful job of educating people on the issues of the transgender community. Piers Morgan (instant eye-roll) treated Janet a bit disrespectfully. In true Colbert-ness, Stephen used his comedy and wit to shed light on a sensitive matter. The result gave Janet a platform to have an honest discussion on gender identity and perhaps enlighten the public on the many ways that people self-identify.

  • In case you don’t follow @PiersMorgan, he’s still mouthing off about the whole situation.

    It was so nice of Stephen to welcome Jimmy Fallon to 11:30PM. I have yet to watch ‘The Tonight Show’ other than Stephen’s appearance, but I wish Jimmy well and look forward to future Stephen/Jimmy interactions.

    I don’t watch Piers Morgan and hadn’t heard about the Janet Mock controversy, but I really enjoyed her interview. What a fantastic guest and wonderful advocate for the transgender community. Piers on the other hand, should go live in a box.

    Brian Greene was so enthusiastic I feel exhausted after watching the interview, but I love how lively and into it Stephen was. I wish they could have posted an extended interview. I will definitely be checking out World Science U!

    • llama

      I was curious about Ms. Mock and I looked up some stuff. Stephen is getting a lot of praise (except from Piers) about the interview. YAY! I still haven’t seen the interview with Piers so I don’t really know what all the hubbub is about, but I kinda feel like Janet and/or everyone in her corner who is talking about Piers, needs to shutup about this now. Let me explain! Piers is a controversy whore. He wants this kind of thing. He loves it. Remember, he used to work for Rupert Murdoch. He’s probably salivating right now over all the attention he’s getting. He’s a dick and he’s enjoying watching all of this go on, so I really think that for her and her fans to stop talking about him would be good. Start talking about Stephen!! 😉

      • gralto

        Ok, can someone please direct me to some articles that are actually praising Stephen for this interview. Because when I checked the “Stephen Colbert” tag over at Tumblr all I could see was hate 🙁 And I got really mad about all those haters who evidently can’t be pleased or don’t want to understand the concept of the show or whatever.

        I get it, they think Stephen’s transphobic and and a**hole but do they need to write it over and over again and in such a hateful way?

        I mean, Janet didn’t seem to have a problem at all with his character and looked like she rather enjoyed herself.

        So, anyway … I’m so upset about all this that I post here – for the first time too – where I know people love Stephen. And like I said, if someone could post a link to a place where the interview is discussed in a fair way without name calling I would be very grateful 🙂

  • SJ

    I thought it was pretty good. She definitely got how to handle the character, and got her message across. I do think there were ways Stephen could’ve used the character a little more effectively in the questions he asked, as well as in the segment leading up to it. I would’ve preferred the innocent ignorant Stephen in the preamble, as opposed to the arrogant ignorant Stephen. There are times where he plays it almost childlike and that may have been a slightly better choice. Transgender issues a subject that his audience is trying to become more savvy and sensitive about, and I think the aggressiveness of his character caused more tension than it did laughs at one or two points. (I would have to watch it again, but when he listed the Facebook genders, was there actually a joke in there?)

    But overall, I would chalk this up as a win. She was great.

    • StephenSmile64

      gralto- HI! Unfortunately, there has been a history over at Tumblr in SOME circles of pretty much putting down everything that Stephen does and says and declaring it transphobic. I mean, every.little.thing. However, on a very good note, there are MANY more people on there that have come to his defense. Then of course, the people that came to Stephen’s defense where then declared to be transphobic or self-loathing. This is nothing new. I simply don’t go over there and read it because it’s clear they have their opinions and nodoby is going to chage it. For the record, they have also declared MANY other people to be transphobic, including Jon, NPH and many others. If you want to stay away from the negative comments, just don’t read there. However, there are many, many positive comments on Facebook, Twitter, comment sections of articles and on Tumblr. There were some great articles written yesterday around the Internet (many on LGBT-centric sites) and they were all favorable (the articles and comments). I know it can be difficult to read things that you know are absolutely false, but that’s the Internet. And I focus on the positive-and there is A LOT of positive! For example, this morning, I just read about ten tweets, all calling out those Tumblr blogs. Every person said, “It’s satire!” And “he doesn’t mean it.” And “those people who take what Stephen says at face value really need to understand that it’s a character.” And there were tweets praising the interview and thanking him for bringing awareness. And so on…Don’t worry, MOST people get it!

      • gralto

        Hey 🙂
        You’re first sentence is so true. It seems no matter what Stephen does they pour their hate on him. And you’re also right that people who try to defend him get labeled as transphobic as well.

        I know I shouldn’t read all this nonsense because it does upset me but I like to scroll the Stephen tag and see old and new pictures and occasionally post something myself as well. So it’s kinda hard not see the comments. Of course people can criticize him but it’s that hate wave that’s really gotten to me. I’m mean reading posts like “Kill Colbert” when you only want to look at some pictures …

        I don’t even know why get so upset about this. I don’t know Stephen, haven’t met him (and probably never will) but from what I’ve read and seen about him he just seems to be a very sweet, decent and sincere guy. And I just can’t believe he has a transphobic bone in his body 🙂

        Anyway, I’m glad that there’s a lot of positive stuff out there about him and that most people get it!!! So thanks for cheering me up 🙂 Off now to watch the two new Buddy Cole segments!

      • SJ

        I’m blissfully ignorant of exactly what people on Tumblr have to say about this and every other issue, just *that* they talk about it. And I put zero stock in what any non-fans have to say about the show and Stephen’s intent in the first place, because they typically live on another planet. An unfunny, batshit planet.

        If I had to take a guess, though? Both segments were so much about semantics, which is still very cart-before-the-horse for the general population and maybe come across as a patronizing topic in a mainstream context. (Purely a hypothesis on my part). Some people may be reading into it an actual narrative of “whatever, just tell me what you people want to be called” even though it certainly wasn’t presented that way.

        Even bringing in a very basic “look, I have junk and that’s how I know I’m a dude” narrative – kid logic – may have a) deflected criticism, b) been more in line with the character and therefore a bit funnier.

        I think it’s valid to care about “b”. But in this case, I know enough about people on Tumblr to not want to invest much in “a”.