Stephen Colbert addressed the arrest of several of his Late Show staffers and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, joking that it was “first-degree puppetry” and calling out Fox News for claiming that it was an “insurrection.”
It comes after seven people, including Robert Smigel, who is known for being the creator, puppeteer and voice of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, who were filming a segment for the CBS late-night show were arrested Thursday night in the Longworth House Office Building by U.S. Capitol Police.
Colbert said, “Thursday evening, after they’d finished their interviews, [my staff] were doing some last-minute puppetry and jokey make-em-ups in a hallway, when Triumph and my folks were approached and detained by Capitol Police, which actually is not surprising. The Capitol Police are much more cautious than they were 18 months ago and for a very good reason. If you don’t know what that reason is I know what news network you watch.”
“The Capitol police were just doing their job, my staff was just doing their job, everyone was very professional, everyone was very calm. My staffers were detained, processed and released. A very unpleasant experience for my staff,” he added.
Colber said it was a “fairly simple story” until Fox News “started claiming that my puppet squad had committed insurrection at the US Capitol building.”
“First of all: what? Second of all: huh? Third of all, they weren’t in the Capitol building. Fourth of all and I’m shocked I have to explain the difference, but an insurrection involves interrupting the lawful action of Congress and howling for the blood of elected leaders, all to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. This was first-degree puppetry,” he added.
After joking that it was all Conan O’Brien’s fault – Triumph started as a bit on Late Night with Conan O’Briend – Colbert added, “It’s predictable why these TV talkers are talking like this. They want to talk about something other than the January 6 hearings, the current seditionist insurrection that led to the deaths of multiple people and the injury of over 140 police officers. But drawing any equivalence between a rioter storming the Capitol to prevent the counting of electoral ballots and a cigar chomping toy dog is a shameful and grotesque insult to the memory of everyone who died and obscenely trivializes the service and the courage the Capitol police showed on that terrible day. But who knows? Maybe there was a vast conspiracy to overthrow the government of the US with a rubber rottweiler.”
The seven arrested were charged with an unlawful entry, according to Capitol Police. The authorities said that at 8:30 PM they “a call for a disturbance” in the Longworth building.
“Responding officers observed seven individuals, unescorted and without Congressional ID, in a sixth-floor hallway,” the Capitol Police said. “The building was closed to visitors, and these individuals were determined to be a part of a group that had been directed by the USCP to leave the building earlier in the day.” They said additional criminal charges may be filed.
In a statement Friday night, CBS confirmed that Triumph the Insult Comic Dog was “on-site at the Capitol with a production team” June 15 and 16, recording interviews.
The interviews “were authorized and pre-arranged through Congressional aides of the members interviewed,” a network spokesman said. “After leaving the members’ offices on their last interview of the day, the production team stayed to film stand-ups and other final comedy elements in the halls when they were detained by Capitol Police.”