UPDATE Part 3, Return Of The Jedi: Yes, the saga of Stephest Colbchellagate 2013 continues as Mr. Stephen Colbert himself addresses widespread speculation that Daft Punk‘s non-appearance on the Colbert report may have been a publicity stunt. Talking to fellow Daily Show vet Paul Mercurio in an interview for his podcast, Colbert provides behind the scenes details of the talks around getting the Robots on the show, including the fact the Colbert writing team were, as Billboard reports: ” forced to write around the artists’ refusal to talk or perform during their appearance on the show.”
“They said, ‘Do you want to cancel?’ I said, ‘No, this is an interesting challenge,’” Colbert said of the process, explaining that he originally intended to perform a six-minute monologue while Daft Punk nodded alongside him and he tried to enlist their manager for a speaking appearance, while also riffing on the fact that they refused to perform.
“I wish we could have done this joke. It was: ‘Paul [Hahn, their manager], can I ask you — how do I even know it’s them in the robot outfits, how do I even know it’s them?’ And he goes, ‘Stephen, if it wasn’t really them, they’d be doing the song,’” Colbert relayed.
As part of the gag, Colbert also had an idea to create a star-studded video of various entertainers rocking out to the group’s “Get Lucky” in an effort to goad the duo into performing. While the video ultimately made it to air, the context changed.
Meanwhile, MTV claims its wasn’t their fault:
VMAs executive producer Jesse Ignjatovic, meanwhile, tells The Hollywood Reporter that it was the band and their management who decided not to appear on The Colbert Report.
“We don’t put restrictions on anyone. I just think that we’re talking to them about a moment and then things sort of change,” he says. “I would not describe that as MTV putting restrictions on people — it was up to that artist and their management what they wanted to do.”
Of course, while this does explain the star-studded montage–clearly not created at the last minute–it does not address statements to the effect that Robin Thicke‘s “replacement” performance of “Blurred Lines” was also shot before Colbert found out that Daft Punk was backing out, leaving plenty of room for Colbspiracy theorists to speculate (see, there’s a reason I called this update ‘Return of The Jedi’ and not ‘The Last Crusade’ ). Scroll down to see our previous updates on those points and listen to the full Mercurio interview below:
UPDATE Part 2 The Electric Boogaloo: Developments in Stephest Colbchellagate continue to cascade in today, as Colbert himself responds to accusations of a Colb-spiracy at work behind his hilarious, brilliant response to Daft Punk’s no-show for his “song of the summer” special–a response that involved the participation Aston Kuchner, Robin Thicke and Henry gottdam Kissinger, just to name a few. Like Billboard, Pitchfork was not buying the official timeline of events, which seem to suggest that Colbert traveled back in time to tape singin and dancing segments with celebrity stand-ins BEFORE he allegedly knew that The Robots were backing out. Yesterday, they had this to say:
“This could mean that Thicke’s performance was part of an elaborate ruse and that the band never intended to perform on ‘The Colbert Report’ in the first place. Perhaps it was a cross-promotional method of advertising Daft Punk’s appearance on the VMAs. It could also mean that Thicke was taped as a safeguard in case the band fell through.”
Which naturally prompted a sarcastic confession and another verbal spanking from Colbert on last night’s broadcast (watch below). Of course, the false confession will just keep the debate going and although it pains us to agree with Pitchfork, some in the OKP office are also harboring suspicions that there’s more to this than meets the visor. I mean, first of all, Henry Gottdam Kissinger is involved, there’s your first red flag right there. So the ?uestion remains…WHAT DID PHARRELL KNOW AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT!?
UPDATE: Newly unearthed evidence has created a plot twist in the Colbchellagate scandal! The story so far: Daft Punk were ostensibly booked to headline the Hyundai-sponsored Stephest Colbchella extravaganza with their ‘song of the summer’ “Get Lucky” about a month ago, but pulled out due to contractual obligations for an exclusive “surprise” appearance (surprise!) at the VMA’s. Rebuffed, Colbert called out Van Toffler–the Viacom exec allegedly responsible–by name in his monologue and called in some celebrity friends for a dance-off, including a call to Robin Thicke who fell through to perform the REAL song of the summer “Blurred Lines.” It now turns out that Thicke’s supposedly last-minute performance may have been planned all along, according to unnamed sources quoted by Billboard, who reported the following:
Thicke’s “Colbert” performance of his No. 1 hit “Blurred Lines” was actually taped last Tuesday (July 31), when the singer was in New York promoting his new album “Blurred Lines” (Thicke also stopped by “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” last week to perform his single with Fallon and the Roots). On last night’s telecast, Colbert positioned Thicke’s appearance as a replacement for Daft Punk’s no-show, which he claimed to not know about until “two hours” before Tuesday’s taping.
Evidence of a Colb-spiracy? Too soon to say. But considering the ambitious nature of the pre-taped dance montage and The Robots propensity for fucking with people’s expectations (by accident or design) the needle is leaning towards carefully-plotted publicity stunt to create hype around the track and the VMAs. The real take-away of this debacle though, is this: no matter who performs or finally claims the title ‘song of the summer’…Pharrell wins. Read a choice Colbert quote below, get more backstory and then watch all 3 video clips (Van Toffler’s verbal shaming, Robin Thicke’s performance and Colbert’s celebrity studded set-piece, respectively).
“If Daft Punk were on my show, people wouldn’t tune into see them on the VMAs almost a month from now. That’s how music works. You love a band, you see them once, then never want to see them again. That’s why after the Beatles went on Ed Sullivan, they dropped off the face of the Earth. I think Ringo ended up working as a train conductor.”
Stephen Colbert fought back last night after Daft Punk canceled a scheduled performance on The Colbert Report for Stephest Colbchella out of contractual loyalty to the VMA‘s. The Robots ditched their Colbert gig to ensure they did not break with the quirky stipulations of their contract with Comedy Central‘s Viacom sister network MTV; Daft Punk signed off to perform at the 2013 Video Music Awards and MTV has agreed to honor the booking under the condition that the duo does not perform for any other networks – including those affiliated with MTV – for a specific period of time leading up to the awards broadcast. Determined to remedy the severe lack of daft and deliver the song of the summer for his loyal audience, Colbert decided to perform the group’s smash song anyway. Dancing himself silly across the set, onto other shows and into a myriad of other hilarious circumstances – Henry Kissinger‘s desk included – Stephen Colbert may have managed to do more for “Get Lucky” than Daft Punk would have done if they had managed to show up on set as scheduled. Colbert even got a few friends to join the party. Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, Jimmy Fallon, Bryan Cranston and The Rockettes are amongst the stars willing to shake a leg. John Stewart even busts a move via Skype. Check the footage below to see Stephen Colbert’s interpretive dance to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” Thanks to Stephen Colbert we now know that you’ll have to wait until August 25th to see The Robots on MTV at the 2013 Video Music Awards. This should hold you over until then.