Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Paul F. Tompkins teaches Stephen Colbert the luxurious genius of staying indoors

Paul F. Tompkins
Paul F. Tompkins
Screenshot: The Late Show

Citing his special guest expert as a friend of The Late Show, Stephen Colbert gave things on Tuesday over to everybody’s friend and person without whom podcasting would simply cease to exist, Paul F. Tompkins. Seated regally, Masterpiece Theater-style, in a plush armchair and dressed even more to the nines than usual, the standup comedian, actor, raconteur, improviser, and all-around swell fellow greeted America by echoing Colbert’s introductory advice that—despite the money-grubbing, grandma-murdering urging of overwhelmingly Republican lawmakers and gun-toting nimrods everywhere—it’s still both smart and responsible to remain inside as much as possible.

Now, not everybody has a Tompkins-level fireplace, cozy armchair, and resplendent waistcoat to luxuriate in while they do the sane thing and stay indoors. (We don’t all have that sweet, Scrooge McDuck-ian podcast cash.) But, as “Man who dresses like a Prof. Paul F. Tompkins” went on to explain to us lowly mortals, that shouldn’t keep us from making our own stay-at-home fun. Like a supercomputer. Or a massive indoor baseball stadium. Or a great—if currently undergoing a real rough patch—nation. Or a short but influential career of bombastically overrated rock classics. All with stuff just sitting around the average home.

Advertisement

With all the gravitas he brought to the introduction of his favorite dead authors from history (minus the dodgy British accent), Tompkins praised such heroic and resourceful indoor kids as those visionary souls who created the Astrodome, thus ushering in the abomination that was and remains indoor baseball. (Sure, they initially forgot that grass wouldn’t grow indoors and that players would comically lose pop flies in the glowing, translucent ceiling, but it was, undeniably, indoors.) And was Seymour Cray going to let his very first supercomputer get pooped on by birds and rained on by rain? Of course not, he was a scientist. Boom—indoors. Tompkins sealed his case for doing the only sensible and civically responsible thing by “staying home and being scared” by listing off other notable shut-in scaredy-cats like Neil Armstrong (inside a spacesuit counts), The Doors (who probably spent a lot of time inside hiding once the LSD turned the sun into a massive fire-demon), and the Founding Fathers. What, Tompkins asked, would have happened if the Declaration of Independence was signed in the out-of-doors? Yeah, it’d have blown away, and we’d all be speaking English today. As wise men have advised from the safety of their reading parlors since time immemorial—stay the fuck at home, America.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter