Stephen Colbert, late of The Colbert Report and currently the host of The Late Show on CBS, has been promoting his latest endeavor, Our Cartoon President. Produced by Colbert, the new animated series focuses on the foibles of the U.S. president, the self-described “stable genius” who currently occupies the White House, portraying Donald Trump and the extended White House staff as a dysfunctional family. The comedian and producer showed up at the Langford Hotel in Pasadena in January, where he spoke about his new parody, which debuted Jan. 28 for streaming online and can also be seen Sunday nights on Showtime.
How would you describe the show?
It’s about what’s going on behind the doors of the most important house in the world with the most important man in the world. We treat this like it’s a documentary crew that’s able to go into the White House and they’ve been honored to have the cartoon president say, “You can come in and film it.” Now, the problem there is, we’re not investing a lot of animation time into Rex Tillerson — at this point
What do you think of the new best seller Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff?
Our series looks to exploit the internal drama of the White House at a time which, thanks to Wolff’s book, has become more intense than ever. I think he must have stolen all 10 of our episodes to write it, because there is nothing in that book that isn’t in our show. And we just guessed.
Has Trump been manna from heaven for late-night comedy writers?
Thank you for not loading your question! The great comedic benefit is how uncontrolled his communications with the world are. And he does that so often that you always have fresh material. The great thing about the Trump administration is, whatever you imagine — you’re right. Everything else is a lie. I love my country more than I love a good joke, but I don’t want to describe that as a good thing. I would happily do with less.
Do you worry about boosting his credibility?
No, I don’t think we’re complimenting him by making a cartoon out of him. The subjects we’re picking are dark enough that they reflect the stakes of truly cartoonish behavior in the actual 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. And that’s one of the reasons why we want to include the topical things, to keep reminding the audience that, while we’re doing a comedy and it’s always going to be comedy, it’s a cartoon, so it’s always funny to look at. But also remind them that this behavior is really not what you want in the White House.
Is there a risk of getting Trump fatigue?
There’s no escaping him. It’s like having oxygen fatigue. People ask, “How do you, like, deal with the news every day? Does it wear on you?” I’m, like, “Yeah, but I have this great thing where I get to go out to the audience and we have this sort of shared catharsis to laugh at it.” If I didn’t get to do the show, I’d be much more tired of the president, but it keeps it fresh to be able to laugh at the devil.
Out of the Box is a semi-regular column by VCReporter staff and contributors about television and streaming content.