Maybe the world is burning, maybe hundreds of thousands of people are getting sick, but a very wistful Stephen Colbert and John Oliver took a walk down memory lane on The Late Show last night to remember how they once thought they were going to die while doing their stand-up acts. For Colbert, that time came during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics (remember the Olympics?), when he tried to bring some comedy cheer to the Guinness-sponsored Ireland House. “There was a stage up there with a traditional band playing and they had a football game on,” he recalled. “I went upstage and I said, ‘Who wants to celebrate Irish culture!’ And I took out a copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses. There was a riot, I had to be hustled out by security.” This seems like a case for Mr. Dick Pound, but we guess he’s too busy with other things right now to investigate a stately, plump Buck Mulligan.
As for Oliver, his moment came during his early stand-up days in England, before he met his “masochist” pal Colbert. “I’ve been threatened many times,” he giddily explained. “I was about four minutes into my encore. A guy in the front who smashed his beer bottle on the table, held it out and said, ‘If you don’t get offstage right now, I’m gonna kill you.’ I was smiling from ear to ear, thinking, This can’t be about me.” He’s fine now, he swears.