On The Colbert Rep— I mean, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert— last night, Stephen Colbert danced a very delicate dance indeed. The Late Show has been struggling in the ratings since its debut (Jon Stewart appearance notwithstanding). But Colbert might have found the key to reigniting the magic of The Colbert Report: bringing back his original character (sort of).
According to the video above, after Colbert reintroduced his Colbert Report character during the Republican National Convention last week, a corporate lawyer from “another company” (read: Viacom, parent company of Comedy Central) contacted CBS to ask them to stop using the character. Colbert says that the lawyer said the “Stephen Colbert” character and his “The Word” segment were that company’s intellectual property.
So what did Colbert do? He introduced himself as another character, also named “Stephen Colbert,” who’s the Report character’s “identical twin cousin,” as a permanent correspondent. Then, just to spit in Viacom’s face a little more, he debuted a hilarious segment identical to “The Word” called, simply, “Werd.”
It remains to be seen whether Viacom’s lawyers will find this funny — or legally distinct enough from their intellectual property. Knowing lawyers, though, we wouldn’t be surprised if Colbert just dug himself a little deeper. Whether this stunt pays off or not, we have to salute Colbert for putting his legal neck on the chopping block for comedy’s sake.
What do you think? Is this a bold move by Stephen Colbert, or will it backfire? Let us know in the comments below or @WhatsTrending on Twitter!