After a turbulent first few months, Stephen Colbert has finally found his footing as host of CBS’ Late Show. His ascent to No. 1 in late night coincided with Donald Trump’s unexpected victory, and many people attribute Colbert’s success to his tough, no-holds-barred critique of the president, which comes in stark contrast to Jimmy Fallon’s happy-go-lucky, I’m gonna-rub-Trump’s-hair buffoonery. This week saw Colbert go especially hard on Trump in the wake of an interview the president did with CBS News. Trump cut off anchor John Dickerson after being asked whether he stands by his claim that former president Barack Obama was “sick” and bad” for wiretapping him (a claim which has repeatedly been disproven.) That was after Trump referred to Dickerson as “fake news” and his show as “Deface the Nation.”
On Monday night’s Late Show, Colbert came to the defense of his CBS colleague, noting, “John Dickerson has way too much dignity to trade insults with the President of the United States to his face. But, I sir, am no John Dickerson.” Colbert proceeded to unleash a fury of verbal burbs at Trump:
“Mr. Trump, I call your presidency, ‘Disgrace the Nation.’ You’re not the POTUS, you’re the BLOATUS, you’re the glutton with the button, you’re a regular “Gorge Washington.” You’re the president, but you’re turning into a real pricktator. Sir, you attract more skinheads than free Rogaine. You have more people marching against you than cancer. You talk like a sign language gorilla that got hit in the head. In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.”
Conservative Twitter launched a campaign calling for Colbert’s firing. The comedian refused to apologize, however, explaining on a subsequent episode, “I believe [Trump] can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it’s a fair fight.”
Apparently someone told Trump he couldn’t actually respond with nukes, so instead he’s enlisted his new FCC chair, Ajit Pai, to take action. According to The Hill, Pai has launched an investigation of Colbert’s remarks and promises to “take the appropriate action.”
“We are going to take the facts that we find and we are going to apply the law as it’s been set out by the Supreme Court and other courts and we’ll take the appropriate action,” Pai told Talk Radio 1210 WPHT on Thursday.
“Traditionally, the agency has to decide, if it does find a violation, what the appropriate remedy should be,” he added. “A fine, of some sort, is typically what we do.”
Because Colbert’s show airs after 10:00 p.m., the FCC’s response will be dependent on whether or not the remarks can be considered “obscene,” as opposed to “indecent,” which is the standard for content airing before 10:00 p.m.
The FCC goes off the Supreme Court’s definition of obscene: “It must appeal to an average person’s prurient interest; depict or describe sexual conduct in a ‘patently offensive’ way; and, taken as a whole, lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.”
Beside the fact that comedy is a form of art, it’s worth noting that Colbert’s “cock holster” comment was bleeped over the air. But apparently it was still too much for our snowflake-in-chief to handle.