Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Trump can't stop stealing Stephen Colbert's bits

Stephen Colbert
Screenshot: The Late Show

As America under Donald Trump careens further into farcically cartoonish evil than even the fever-dreams of the hackiest pre-apocalyptic satirist, discerning the difference between the nightly news and gallows humor just gets tougher and tougher. Which is a problem for a guy like Late Show host Stephen Colbert, whose nightly task of making Donald Trump look ridiculous is routinely headed off at the pass by ace writer of queasy unintentional comedy, Donald Trump. Take Wednesday, where, in addition to tossing his most red-faced press conference tantrum yet in front of a visibly grossed out visiting head of state (sorry, Finland), it was revealed that Trump’s supervillainous schemes to keep non-whites from setting foot across America’s southern border included, among other things, a 2,000-mile moat filled with snakes, and/or alligators.

Now, having taken a moment to let that sink in, one might be reminded of a few things. First, of course, there’s Dr. Evil getting tetchy about his headquarters’ lack of sharks with fricken’ laser beams on their heads, just as Trump is reported to have become irritated when aides tried to dissuade him from pricing out a moat-gators, as alleged in the upcoming book, Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration, from New York Times reporters Michael Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis. Or perhaps, as many quickly posted online, President Barack Obama mocking Republicans’ xenophobic panic-rhetoric about border security back in 2011 by positing that the GOP was just days away from demanding—just to pick out a piece of lunatic hyperbole—a moat filled with alligators.

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Well, so that’s . . . something. Although, according to Colbert, Trump’s plagiarism of too fucking over-the-top bananas and evil to be possibly true in a billion years public policy once again has even deeper, more ridiculous roots. Cutting to a series of clips from The Colbert Report from as far back as 2006, the host showed a number of times where Colbert, in character as right-wing caricature Stephen Colbert, pitches to a number of government types—a moat filled with alligators. And sure, that Colbert also imagined we’d have the technology to breed fireproof alligators by this point, since his moat would be on fire, but give Trump a few days to catch up. “Trump is stealing all my bits,” accused Colbert, referring back to last year, when Trump cribbed, nearly verbatim, the very first segment from the very first Colbert Report. Piling on by noting how Trump’s inevitable Twitter meltdown denied his medieval moat scheme by inexplicably capitalizing and predictably misspelling the word “moat,” Colbert could only speculate what piece of intellectual property Trump was going to purloin next. Of course, in the same insane moat fantasy, Trump also spitballed the even more barbaric plan of having American soldiers shoot migrants in the legs in order to slow them down, something that even The Colbert Report Stephen Colbert never thought was fucking funny.

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About the author

Dennis Perkins

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