White House Safe from Satire
After Stephen Colbert’s performance in 2006: White House press corps
learns its lesson
By David Walsh - 25 January 2007
The decision by the White House Correspondents’ Association to invite
impersonator Rich Little to provide entertainment at its annual dinner in
April captures something essential about the American media.
Last year’s event was dominated by the appearance of comic Stephen
Colbert, who skewered George W. Bush and his administration, as well as
the Washington press corps. The latter, along with the White House, was
not amused. Initially, the media attempted to conceal Colbert’s comments
from the public. His monologue received no mention from the New York Times
in its first article and the Washington Post buried his commentary,
leaving out the most pointed jokes. The performance only became widely
known through a video that appeared on the Internet, which was downloaded
millions of times within the first 48 hours.
At the dinner, Colbert, assuming his persona of a right-wing buffoon,
ironically mocked Bush. Referring to the president, seated only a few feet
to his right, he declaimed: “We’re not so different, he and I. We get it.
We’re not brainiacs on the nerd patrol. We’re not members of the
factinista. We go straight from the gut, right sir?”
And: “I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for
things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft
carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a
strong message: that no matter what happens to America, she will always
rebound—with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.” The comic
rejected the claims of those who were suggesting that a personnel shakeup
at the White House was merely rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
“This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If
anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg!”
Colbert reserved one of his sharpest barbs for the White House press corps
itself, whose leading lights were in attendance: “Over the last five years
you people were so good—over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of
global warming. We Americans didn’t want to know, and you had the courtesy
not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.
“But, listen, let’s review the rules. Here’s how it works: the president
makes decisions. He’s the Decider. The press secretary announces those
decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make,
announce, type. Just put them through a spell check and go home. Get to
know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you’ve
got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid
Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration.
Having learned its lesson, the spineless White House Correspondents’
Association (WHCA) decided to avoid controversy in 2007 by inviting the
68-year-old Little, whose impersonation of Richard Nixon in the early
1970s represented the height of his contribution to political humor.
Little dropped out of the limelight some time in the 1980s. He lives in
Las Vegas and continues to tour his act. His schedule for January and
February includes shows at the Suncoast Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas; the
Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, California; the North Iowa Community
Auditorium in Mason City, Iowa; Youkey Theatre at the Lakeland Center,
Lakeland, Florida; the Cumberland County Civic Center Crown Theatre in
Fayetteville, North Carolina; and the Central Auditorium in Findlay, Ohio.
On January 17, the Las Vegas Review-Journal ran an article on Little’s
appearance at the correspondents’ dinner. It noted that Little wouldn’t
“be mentioning Iraq or ratings when he addresses the White House
Correspondents’ Dinner April 21. Little said organizers of the event made
it clear they don’t want a repeat of last year’s controversial appearance
by Stephen Colbert, whose searing satire of President Bush and the White
House press corps fell flat and apparently touched too many nerves. ‘They
got a lot of letters,’ Little said Tuesday. ‘I won’t even mention the word
“Iraq.”’ Little, who hasn’t been to the White House since he was a
favorite of the Reagan administration, said he’ll stick with his usual
schtick—the impersonations of the past six presidents. ‘They don’t want
anyone knocking the president. He’s really over the coals right now, and
he’s worried about his legacy,’ added Little, a longtime Las Vegas
Steve Scully, a producer at C-Span and the current WHCA president, denied
putting pressure on Little: “I cannot be more clear that we never
mentioned Iraq, we never gave him any guidelines. The only thing we told
him is that we want to follow the policy of the Gridiron Dinner, which is
‘singe, don’t burn.’”
After Little denied having even made the remarks to the Las Vegas
newspaper, its reporter commented: “Let’s go to the replay. Early in the
interview, Little said, ‘I won’t even mention the word Iraq. It’s not
appropriate. You just want to be entertaining.... I won’t do anything
close to over the line.’ He added, ‘They said, from ...,’ he paused,
without finishing the sentence. ‘They thought my approach was more
appropriate for their kind of thing. They don’t want Bill Maher or a
comedian who’s going to be biting and perhaps knock the president in any
In an interview with the Washington Post’s Paul Farhi, Little made the
same point: “One of the reasons they picked me is because I’m not
controversial.... They did get some flak about the guy they had last year.
I don’t think they wanted someone political or controversial again.”
Little seems a safe choice. On his personal web site, he includes an
extended and heartfelt tribute to the late Ronald Reagan, which includes
these gems: “He was unlike any celebrity I have ever known. When talking
with him, you became unaware of the fact that you were talking with the
President of the United States. The quickest way to become Ronald Reagan’s
friend was to tell him a great joke. He would then come right back at you
with a joke of his own. You could then tell him another joke, and he’d
have another story to tell you. This could go on endlessly, even if there
was a war on. ...
“He was nice to everyone and always appeared interested in anything you
had to say. I think he was a great President because everyone liked him,
even if they were opposed to his politics.... I will miss Ronald Reagan
... to me he was a lovable grandfather.”
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times noted in a recent column that
Little “was a guest on a radio show I hosted about 10 years ago, and even
then, after he ran through about a dozen voices, I finally had to say,
‘Can you imitate anybody’s who’s alive?’ Mr. Little was not amused.”
Exemplifying the American media’s spirit of self-censorship and all-round
philistinism, Scully remarked to the press, “My approach is to try to make
it [the annual dinner] a comfortable venue that is enjoyable, funny and
interesting.... But you don’t want to offend anyone.” According to Editor
& Publisher, he “contends that Colbert’s appearance was a success and
played no part in the choice of Little. ‘I think some of the criticism of
Colbert was overblown,’ he said. ‘We didn’t hear anything from the White
House.’ ... Scully added that getting the hottest, hippest entertainer is
not always the best thing for the Washington crowd, whose participants
span many different decades. ‘There are some people who think if you don’t
know Stephen Colbert, you don’t get his brand of humor,’ Scully said. ‘You
want someone who appeals to the [right-wing columnist] Bob Novaks and the
bloggers of the world.’” In another comment, Scully suggested that the
correspondents didn’t want to make Bush a “political piñata.”
No one with a brain in his or her head will believe that the WHCA didn’t
hear from the White House about Colbert’s performance, directly or
indirectly. Bush was obviously livid, as was his wife. One top Bush aide
was quoted as saying, “Colbert crossed the line.” Several aides and
supporters walked out before the comic had finished.
Ron Hutcheson, a McClatchy Newspapers reporter and former correspondents’
association president, acknowledged that Colbert’s impact had played a
role in the choice of Little. “It is certainly a safe choice, which might
be nice,” he said. “My personal feeling is that this [the selection of
Little] is about ENOUGH.... We don’t need to have a blogfest and a
partisan slugfest after the dinner. We don’t need that.”
What can one say? The media and political establishment is impervious to
the sentiments of the population. The war in Iraq is a disaster, the
administration’s policies have been rejected by the population, Bush is
widely despised. Colbert spoke for millions last year, telling the
president of the United States what a scoundrel he was.
The media, on the other hand, lives and breathes in Bush’s universe. They
felt Colbert had been too harsh, unfair, bullying.
In the case of the White House correspondents, they literally breathe the
same air. These are individuals who fly on Air Force One, who joke around
with Bush and his cohorts, whose careers depend on their ability to be
intimate with the president. They may be Republicans or Democrats, it
hardly matters, but they are part of Washington’s well-heeled, incestuous
In addition to Scully, who worked as a teenager on Jimmy Carter’s
presidential campaign, the WHCA includes among its officers Ann Compton of
ABC News (she serves as the organization’s vice president). Her official
biography reveals that Compton “is now covering a sixth President for ABC
News in a career that has taken her to the White House, Capitol Hill and
through seven presidential campaigns. She is the National correspondent
for ABC News Radio, based [in] Washington, DC. On September 11, 2001, Ms.
Compton was the only broadcast reporter allowed to remain onboard Air
Force One during the dramatic hours when President Bush was unable to
return to Washington.”
Another WHCA officer, its treasurer, is Jennifer Loven of Associated
Press. Her husband, Roger Ballentine, was a senior adviser to the John
Kerry campaign in 2004 and is currently president of Green Strategies Inc,
an environmental lobbying firm. Ballentine was a senior member of the
Clinton White House staff, serving as chairman of the White House Climate
Change Task Force and deputy assistant to the president for Environmental
Initiatives. Prior to being named deputy assistant to the president,
Ballentine was special assistant to the president for Legislative Affairs,
where he focused on energy and environment issues.
WHCA secretary Peter Maer of “CBS News”, according to the network’s
biography, “has covered the White House since 1986.... A frequent flyer on
Air Force One, Maer has traveled to nearly 40 countries and every State of
the Union with Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush,
Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter.”
WHCA board member Steve Holland of Reuters was cited in a USA Today
article in 2001 on Bush’s “Western White House” in Crawford, Texas.
“Holland, who started covering the White House when Bush’s father was in
charge, is wistful when he recalls cooler summer sojourns in
Kennebunkport, Maine. ‘If only he had his father’s preference for vacation
spots,’ Holland says. Despite fond memories of Kennebunkport and President
Bill Clinton’s trips to chic Jackson Hole, Wyo. ... and Martha’s Vineyard,
Mass., Holland says he’s content at the Western White House.”
It comes as no surprise that these people were made unhappy by the
performance of Colbert, who committed the fatal error of telling certain
elementary, indisputable truths about the Bush administration, truths
which the mass media knows but never repeats. By their ridiculous actions,
the members of the White House press corps only confirm the point the
comic was making about their toadying. Indeed, by bending over backward so
far with their choice of the anodyne, Reagan-loving, all-but-forgotten
Little, the White House correspondents have demonstrated their
subservience and cowardice more graphically than Colbert could possibly
Bush, US media respond to Stephen Colbert’s comic assault: “We are not
amused” [5 May 2006]
Following his attack on satirist Stephen Colbert Columnist Richard Cohen
denounces his critics [11 May 2006]
Full text TRANSCRIPT of Stephen Colbert's monologue at the White House
Saturday, April 29, 2006 :
"Thank you ladies and gentlemen. Before I begin, I've been asked to make
an announcement. Whoever parked 14 black bullet proof S.U.V.'S out front,
could you please move them. They are blocking in 14 other black
bulletproof S.U.V.'S and they need to get out.
Wow, wow, what an honor. The White House Correspondents Dinner. To just
sit here, at the same table with my hero, George W. Bush, to be this close
to the man. I feel like I'm dreaming. Somebody pinch me. You know what,
I'm a pretty sound sleeper, that may not be enough. Somebody shoot me in
Is he really not here tonight? The one guy who could have helped. By the
way, before I get started, if anybody needs anything at their tables,
speak slowly and clearly on into your table numbers and somebody from the
N.S.A. Will be right over with a cocktail.
Mrs. Smith, ladies and gentlemen of the press corps, Mr. President and
first lady, my name is Stephen Colbert and it's my privilege tonight to
celebrate our president. He's no so different, he and I. We get it. We're
not brain hacks on the nerd patrol. We're not members of the fact police.
We go straight from the gut, right sir? That's where the truth lies, right
down here in the gut.
Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your
head? You can look it up. I know some of you are going to say I did look
it up, and that's not true. That's because you looked it up in a book.
Next time look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that's how our
nervous system works. Every night on my show, the Colbert report, I speak
straight from the gut, ok? I give people the truth, unfiltered by rational
argument. I call it the no fact zone. Fox News, I own the copyright on
I'm a simple man with a simple mind, a simple set of beliefs that I live
by. Number one, I believe in America. I believe it exists.
My gut tells me I live there. I feel that it extends from the Atlantic to
the Pacific, and I strongly believe it has 50 states. And I cannot wait to
see how The Washington Post spins that one tomorrow. I believe in
democracy. I believe democracy is our greatest export. At least until
China figures out a way to stamp it out in plastic for three cents a unit.
In fact, ambassador, welcome, your great country makes our happy meals
possible. I said it's a celebration. I believe the government that governs
best is the government that governs least. And by these standards, we have
set up a fabulous government in Iraq.
I believe in pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. I believe it is
possible -- I saw this guy do it once in Cirque du Soleil. It was magical.
And though I am a committed Christian, I believe that everyone has the
right to their own religion, be it Hindu, Jewish or Muslim. I believe
there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.
Ladies and gentlemen, I believe it's yogurt. But I refuse to believe it's
not butter. Most of all I believe in this president.
Now, I know there's some polls out there saying this man has a 32%
approval rating. But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We
know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what
people are thinking in "reality." And reality has a well-known liberal
So, Mr. President, pay no attention to the people that say the glass is
half full. 32% means the glass... it's important to set up your jokes
properly, sir. Sir, pay no attention to the people who say the glass is
half-empty, because 32% means it's 2/3 empty. There's still some liquid in
that glass, is my point, but I wouldn't drink it. The last third is
Folks, my point is, that I don't believe this is a low point in this
presidency. I believe it is just a lull, before a comeback.
I mean, it's like the movie "Rocky." The president is Rocky and Apollo
Creed is everything else in the world. It's the 10th round. He's bloodied.
His corner man, Mick, who in this case would be the Vice President, and
he's yelling cut me, Dick, cut me, and every time he falls, he says stay
down! Does he stay down? No. Like Rocky he gets back up and in the end
he... Actually, he loses in the first movie. Ok. It doesn't matter.
The point is that this is the heart-warming story of a man who was
repeatedly punched in the face. So don't pay attention to the approval
ratings that say 68% of Americans disapprove of the job this man is doing.
I ask you this, does that not also logically mean that 68% approve of the
job he's not doing? Think about it. I haven't.
I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not
only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers, and
rubble, and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong
message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound
with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.
Now, there may be an energy crisis. This president has a very
forward-thinking energy policy. Why do you think he's down on the ranch
cutting that brush all the time? He's trying to create an alternative
energy source. By 2008 we will have a mesquite-powered car.
And I just like the guy. He's a Good Joe. Obviously loves his wife, calls
her his better half. And polls show America agrees. She's a true lady and
a wonderful woman. But I just have one beef, ma'am. I'm sorry, but this
reading initiative. I've never been a fan of books. I don't trust them.
They're all fact, no heart. I mean, they're elitist, telling us what is or
isn't true, what did or didn't happen. What's Britannica to tell me the
Panama Canal was built in 1914? If I want to say it was built in 1941,
that's my right as an American. I'm with the president, let history decide
what did or did not happen.
The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he
stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday, that he believed on Monday,
no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change, this man's beliefs
And as excited as I am to be here with the president, I am appalled to be
surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America, with the
exception of Fox News. Fox News gives you both sides of every story, the
President's side and the Vice-President's side.
But the rest of you, what are you thinking, reporting on NSA. wiretapping
or secret prisons in Eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very
important reason, they're superdepressing. And if that's your goal, well,
Over the last five years you people were so good over tax cuts, WMD
intelligence, the affect of global warming. We Americans didn't want to
know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good
times, as far as we knew.
But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works. The President
makes decisions, he's the decider. The Press Secretary announces those
decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make,
announce, type. Put them through a spell check and go home.
Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel
you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid
Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration.
You know, fiction.
Because really, what incentive do these people have to answer your
questions, after all? I mean, nothing satisfies you. Everybody asks for
personnel changes. So the White House has personnel changes. Then you
write they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not
sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging
the deck chairs on the Hindenburg.
Now, it's not all bad guys out there. Some heroes, Buckley, Kim Schieffer.
By the way, Mr. President, thank you for agreeing to be on my show. I was
just as shocked as everyone here is I promise you. How is Tuesday for you?
I've got Frank Rich, but we can bump him. And I mean bump him. I know a
guy. Say the word.
See who we've got here tonight. General Moseley, Air Force Chief of Staff.
General Peter Pace. They still support Rumsfeld. You guys aren't retired
yet, right? Right, they still support Rumsfeld.
Look, by the way, I've got a theory about how to handle these retired
generals causing all this trouble, don't let them retire! C'mon, we've got
a stop-loss program, let's use it on these guys. If you're strong enough
to go on one of those pundit shows, you can stand on a bank of computers
and order men into battle. C'mon.
Jesse Jackson is here. I had him on the show. Very interesting and
challenging interview. You can ask him anything, but he's going to say
what he wants at the pace that he wants. It's like boxing a glacier. Enjoy
that metaphor, because your grandchildren will have no idea what a glacier
Justice Scalia's here. May I be the first to say welcome, sir. You look
fantastic. How are you? (gestures "up yours" in imitation of Scalia's
John McCain is here. John McCain. John McCain. What a maverick. Somebody
find out what fork he used on his salad, because I guarantee you wasn't a
salad fork. He could have used a spoon. There's no predicting him. So
wonderful to see you coming back into the Republican fold. I have a
summerhouse in South Carolina, look me up when you go to speak at Bob
Jones University. So glad you've seen the light.
Mayor Nagin is here from New Orleans, the chocolate city. Yeah, give it
up. Mayor Nagin, I would like to welcome you to Washington, D.C., The
chocolate city with a marshmallow center. And a graham cracker crust of
corruption. It's a Mallomar, is what I'm describing, a seasonal cookie.
Joe Wilson is here, the most famous husband since Desi Arnaz. And of
course he brought along his lovely wife Valerie Plame. Oh, my God! What
have I said. I am sorry, Mr. President, I meant to say he brought along
his lovely wife, Joe Wilson's wife. Pat Fitzgerald is not here tonight?
Dodged a bullet.
And we can't forget man of the hour, new Press Secretary, Tony Snow.
Secret service name, Snow Job. What a hero, took the second toughest job
in government, next to, of course, the ambassador to Iraq. Got some big
shoes to fill, Tony. Scott McClellan could say nothing like nobody else.
McClellan, eager to retire. Really felt like he needed to spend more time
with Andrew Card's children.
Mr. President, I wish you hadn't made the decision so quickly, sir. I was
vying for the job. I think I would have made a fabulous press secretary. I
have nothing but contempt for these people. I know how to handle these
clowns. In fact, sir, I brought along an audition tape and with your
indulgence, I'd like to at least give it a shot. So, ladies and gentlemen,
my press conference."
(Colbert shows a video segment, in which he portrays an incompetent Press
BEGINNING OF "AUDITION TAPE"
Colbert shows a video of a mock press conference. It opens with him at a
podium, addressing the assembled Washington press corps.
COLBERT: I have a brief statement: the press is destroying America. OK,
let's see who we've got here today.
COLBERT (acknowledging various reporters): Stretch! (David Gregory nods)
Sir Nerdlington! (reporter nods)
Sloppy Joe! (reporter nods)
Terry Lemon Moran Pie! (Terry Moran nods)
Oh, Doubting Thomas, always a pleasure. (Helen Thomas smiles)
And Suzanne Mal -- hello!!
(Suzanne Malveaux stares at Colbert, looking unhappy. Colbert mimics
putting a phone to his ear and mouths "call me.")
REPORTER: Will the Vice President be available soon to answer all
COLBERT: I've already addressed that question. You (pointing to another
REPORTER: Walter Cronkite, the noted CBS anchor, . . .
COLBERT (interrupting): Ah, no, he's the former CBS anchor. Katie Couric
is the new anchor of the CBS Evening News. Well, well, how do you guys
feel about that?
You, tousle-haired guy in the back. Are you happy about Katie Couric
taking over the CBS Evening News?
DAN RATHER: No, sir, Mr. Colbert. Are you? (Laughter)
COLBERT: Boom! Oh, look, we woke David Gregory up. Question?
DAVID GREGORY: Did Karl Rove commit a crime?
COLBERT: I don't know. I'll ask him.
(Colbert turns to Rove) Karl, pay attention please! (Rove is seen drawing
a heart with "Karl + Stephen" written on it.)
GREGORY: Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003 when you
were asked specifically about Karl, and Elliott Abrams, and Scooter Libby,
and you said "I've gone to each of those gentlemen, and they have told me
that they are not involved in this." Do you stand by that statement?
COLBERT: Nah, I was just kidding!
GREGORY: No, you're not finishing. You're not saying anything! You stood
at that podium and said . . .
COLBERT (interrupting): Ah, that's where you're wrong. New podium! Just
had it delivered today. Get your facts straight, David.
GREGORY: This is ridiculous. The notion that you're going to stand before
us after having commented with that level of detail and tell the people
watching this that somehow you've decided not to talk. You've got to . . .
(Colbert is seen looking at three buttons on the podium, labeled "EJECT,"
"GANNON" and "VOLUME." He selects the "VOLUME" button and turns it. We see
Gregory's lips continue moving, but can't hear any sound coming out.)
COLBERT: If I can't hear you, I can't answer your question. I'm sorry! I
have to move on. Terry.
TERRY MORAN: After the investigation began, after the criminal
investigation was underway, you said . . .
(Colbert presses a button on the podium and fast-forwards through most of
MORAN (continuing): All of a sudden, you have respect for the sanctity of
a criminal investigation?
COLBERT (seen playing with rubber ball, which he is bouncing off attached
paddle): No, I never had any respect for the sanctity of a criminal
investigation. Activist judges! Yes, Helen.
HELEN THOMAS: You're going to be sorry. (Laughter)
COLBERT (looking vastly amused, mockingly): What are you going to do,
Helen, ask me for a recipe?
THOMAS: Your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands
(Colbert's smile fades) of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and
Iraqis for a lifetime.
COLBERT (interrupting): OK, hold on Helen, look . . .
THOMAS (continuing): Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out
not to be true. My question is why did you really want to go to war?
COLBERT (again interrupting): Helen, I'm going to stop you right there.
(Thomas keeps talking.) That's enough! No! Sorry, Helen, I'm moving on.
(Colbert tries to turn her volume off, but the knob falls off his
(Various reporters start shouting questions at Colbert.)
COLBERT (agitated): Guys, guys, please don't let Helen do this to what was
a lovely day.
(Reporters keep shouting at him.)
COLBERT (putting his fingers over his ears and shouting in a high-pitched
voice): Bllrrtt! No, no, no, no, no. I'm not listening to you!
Look what you did, Helen! I hate you!
(Helen Thomas glowers at Colbert.)
COLBERT (frantic): I'm out of here!
(Colbert pulls back the curtain behind him, desperately trying to flee. He
says, "There is a wall here!" The press corps laughs. Colbert has
difficulty finding a door from which to exit the room, echoing Bush's
experience in China. He finally finds the door and hurries through it.)
COLBERT: It reeks in there! Ridiculous! I've never been so insulted in my
life! Stupid job.
(Colbert continues walking away. We hear sinister-sounding music playing.
We see Helen Thomas walking behind Colbert.)
(Colbert looks behind him, sees Thomas, and starts running.)
(Colbert trips over a roller skate, and yells "Condi!" We see a close-up
of Helen Thomas' face, looking determined and angry. Colbert, increasingly
panicked, gets up and continues running, running into a parking garage. He
reaches an emergency call box, and yells into it.)
COLBERT: Oh, thank God. Help me!
ATTENDANT: What seems to be the problem, sir?
COLBERT: She won't stop asking why we invaded Iraq! ATTENDANT: Hey, why
did we invade Iraq?
COLBERT: NO!!! (runs toward his car)
(We see Helen Thomas, still walking toward him.)
(Colbert reaches his car, and fumblingly attempts to open it with his key.
He is in such a desperate hurry that he fumbles with the keys and drops
them. When he picks them up, he looks back and Helen is even closer. In
his frantic rush, Colbert just can't get the keys into the lock.)
(Just as his anxiety is getting completely out of control he suddenly
remembers that he has a keyless remote -- so he just pushes the button on
the keychain and the car unlocks immediately with the usual double squeak
noise. Colbert jumps in and locks the door, and continues to fumble trying
to get the car started. He finally succeeds, and looks up to see Helen
standing in front of the car, notepad in hand.)
COLBERT: NO!!! NO!!!
(Colbert puts the car into reverse and drives off, tires squealing. Thomas
(Colbert is shown taking the shuttle from Washington, D.C. to New York. A
car and driver are waiting for him at Penn Station. The uniformed man
standing alongside the car opens the door and lets Colbert in.)
COLBERT: What a terrible trip, Danny. Take me home.
(The driver locks the doors, turns around, and says, "Buckle up, hon."
IT'S HELEN THOMAS!!!)
COLBERT (horrified face pressed against car window): NO!!!
END OF "AUDITION TAPE"
STEPHEN COLBERT: Helen Thomas, ladies and gentlemen. Mr. Smith, members of
the White House Correspondents Association, Madame First Lady, Mr.
President, it's been a true honor. Thank you very much. Good night!