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Stephen Colbert accuses Donald Trump of stealing his material

Stephen Colbert, not “Stephen Colbert”
Screenshot: The Late Show

Stephen Colbert returned from his extended Thanksgiving break (nice work if you can get it) to a whole raft of stored up Trump news from his time away. Let’s see, Trump minion Paul Manafort (“Ray Liotta in the role of a lifetime”) violated his plea deal with Robert Mueller by repeatedly lying to the FBI, other Trump minions Roger Stone (“open-casket-American”) and Jerome Corsi (“defrocked Oompa Loompa”) were caught writing ludicrously incriminating emails about colluding with WikiLeaks founder, Russian puppet, and accused rapist Julian Assange to deploy stolen emails in order to sway the 2016 election, and Donald Trump categorically would not categorically deny that he’s been planning to pardon Manafort all along. Man, tough week. Wait, that all came out in the last two days? Man, tough . . . Earth. Well, at least we’re not also trapped in a farcical alternate reality where The Colbert Report is the actual nightly news or anything.

Well, shit.

As Colbert went on to note, Trump, in his typically rambling and nonsensical interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, in addition to claiming that vigorous raking can fight global warming-caused wildfires or something, went all-in on his famous gut. You know, the gut of a 239-pound financial genius who’s only been bankrupt a half dozen times, been forced to pay $25 million for defrauding students of a fake university he set up, and that told him, “Hey, let’s back that child molester for the Senate because he also hates gay people.” In the interview, Trump told The Post, in reference to the Federal Reserve, “They’re making a mistake, because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anyone else’s brain can ever tell me.” (Just a reminder: this is the President of the United States we’re talking about. Carry on.)

Well, as Colbert noted, Trump was not only talking out of his, um, gut in the interview, he was also stealing Colbert’s “anti-intellectual property.” Or, rather, Trump’s gut told him to filch a pretty famous bit from “Stephen Colbert,” the defiantly ignorant right-wing foghorn Stephen Colbert character Stephen Colbert played on The Colbert Report. In fact, it was in the very first piece on the very first Colbert Report that “Colbert” coined the term “truthiness” to describe the way in which the foolhardy and willfully reality-averse ignore all inconvenient facts (like science, the free press, fancy book-learnin’) in favor of the reassuringly self-justifying rumble of their gut. With truly prescient Trump-ian unwarranted confidence, “Colbert” proudly claimed that there are more nerve endings in your gut than in your head, and steamrollered right over the pesky fact that that is in no way true by any standard of empirical reality by telling his 2005 viewers that his gut tells him it’s true, and who are you gonna believe.

Claiming that he’s preparing to sue President Gut-Check for purloining his bit, Colbert speculated that Trump must also be planningto further ape Colbert’s shtick by chucking his too-dumb-to-be-real blowhard persona to take on a new gig as his actual self, hosting a late-night talk show. Perhaps. But there’s another, more sinister explanation. We’re in the aforementioned farcical alternate dimension, Stephen Colbert is “Stephen Colbert,” and Donald Trump is just doing an extended, “Colbert”-esque bit, ruling the country like a truth-dodging, racist, treasonous charlatan because this is the Bad Place and we’re all being punished because we didn’t rack up enough afterlife brownie points and we voted for that accused child molester that time. Is such a fanciful idea actually true? Well, what does you gut tell you?

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Dennis Perkins

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