The “Late Show” on Monday night featured Stephen Colbert giving an opening monologue full of scathing but dumb insults being lobbed at Donald Trump. The first and potentially weirdest thing we learned after this monologue is that there’s apparently a demographic out there who both support Donald Trump and also watch the Late Show. I’m not sure if maybe they don’t realize that Stephen Colbert spent years playing a fake conservative character that he used to mock the entirety of what Donald Trump and his supporters represent but somehow there’s some overlap here.
Not long after the monologue aired that rare, niche demographic took to Twitter to begin expressing their displeasure with the monologue and they honed their attention on a very specific line.
“In Fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being vladimir putin’s cock holster.”
-Stephen Colbert on MAGA fanfiction
It’s a pretty standard insult. Honestly, the real travesty here is that a seasoned comedian like Stephen Colbert couldn’t come up with something better. Telling someone that their only worthwhile quality is their ability to perform fellatio on Vladimir Putin is just a common expression. It’s not even very funny.
However, the MAGA crowd found this particular line to be incredibly upsetting. The hashtag #FireColbert began trending and a sizable number of poorly articulated tweets began to appear dragging both Colbert and CBS for what they described as a “homophobic” joke.
Firstly, it’s important to note that this joke is not homophobic. That’s not my opinion or the opinion of an expert, that’s just a fact. The joke does not express any dislike or prejudice against homosexuals nor does it express any disgust or negativity about the idea of Donald Trump giving a succulent blowjob to Vladimir Putin. So while the joke is absolutely homoerotic, it’s not homophobic.
Donald Trump supporters have a reputation for not being the brightest bunch but this seems incredibly odd that they’d become so agitated over this one line and go so far as to incorrectly label it as “homophobic”. Mind you, calling people out for homophobia is typically the left’s domain where policing social justice, political correctness and acceptance are viewed in a more positive light. So why are the MAGA folks suddenly co-opting what was once a progressive tactic?
The answer is that this really has nothing to do with what Colbert said or what it actually meant. With the recent losses at Fox News including the departure of long-time conservative grandpa and man who can’t figure out how tides work Bill O’Reilly, the right is feeling the crackdown of an active and zealous left. This #FireColbert push is a sloppy, flailing attempt to push back on a popular progressive cable celebrity with the hopes of reaping a similar victory. The “homophobia” claims are just a hamfisted way of trying to utilize a tactic they’ve seen work when used against them.
Fox News even hopped on the bandwagon and followed the story with a not-at-all bias article that claimed “#FireColbert is on fire” (not true, it was a mediocre trend on Twitter for a few hours at best) and went on to say that “Colbert is taking serious heat” (also false, he already said he doesn’t care or regret his words). Fox desperately tried to aid their grumpy MAGA fans in this crusade but could hardly muster enough misinformation to give them any real traction.
Unfortunately for the MAGA snowflakes their claim is not only incorrect but it’s largely set to backfire. The blatant misuse of the “homophobic” label and the temper-tantrum hashtag has only made this particular grievance seem like a joke in and of itself and more attention has been given to Colbert and his show than the actual complaint.
There is almost no chance that this will have any negative impact on Colbert or CBS and the more probable outcome is that they actually gain fans and ratings as a result. However, it’s important to watch the continued adaptation of the more media-focused right. While this little fit may have been a dud they are clearly observing how their opponents utilize the grassroots and the media to generate politically favorable results and with a few recent scores to settle it’s unlikely this will be the last time they try.