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Stephen Colbert blows the lid off of Tucker Carlson's panda plagiarism on The Late Show

Stephen Colbert
Screenshot: The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Sure, any Twitter wag or online jokester can call out blankly blinking Fox News propagandist Tucker Carlson for recently devoting airtime to the supposed predatory sex-and-violence exploits of panda bears in a transparently sweaty attempt to talk about anything but the fact that the home, office, and hotel room of the president’s personal attorney has been raided by the FBI. But it takes a real fake newsman to dig deeper for the truth. Or at least the truth that we are living in a reality created by comedy writers who’ve discovered that there’s really no point in restraint when it comes to political satire any more. (Note to our partners at The Onion: You win. Now knock it off.)

On last night’s Late Show, Stephen Colbert took on what can only be called Pandagate (although Colbert went with Panda-monium), by revealing that Carlson’s ineptly diversionary “pandas would totally murder you if they weren’t piebald perverts” tactics can be traced right back—to Stephen Colbert. Or, rather, “Stephen Colbert,” the Late Show host’s former Colbert Report persona, who, in a clip from a 2011 episode of The Colbert Report, whipped up national outrage at these “cuddly cutthroat commies” who were—as shown in a certain animated sequel at the time—learning the deadly art of kung fu. Calling Carlson’s fear-foraging feint away from presidential disaster “literally something I did on my old show when I played an insane person,” Colbert went on to note their further similarity of “acting incredibly stupid while wearing an ill-fitting suit.”


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Dennis Perkins

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