wait what?

Late Show Staffers Won’t Be Prosecuted for Capitol Entry

Photo: Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images

Update, Monday, July 18 at 10:05 p.m.: And so the saga comes to an end. Per Deadline, the nine Late Show with Stephen Colbert staffers who were arrested at the Capitol last month won’t be prosecuted for entering an office building. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement that it could not move forward with charges of unlawful entry because those detained “were invited by Congressional staffers to enter the building in each instance and were never asked to leave by the staffers who invited them, though, members of the group had been told at various points by the Capitol Police that they were supposed to have an escort.” Late Show staffers were at the building to film a Triumph the Insult Comic Dog segment (which meant that Robert Smigel, the voice of the cigar-chomping dog, was among those who were arrested). The Capitol Police said in its own statement that it respects the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s decision not to pursue further legal action. We’ll have to wait and see if that’s enough to finally make people stop calling this an insurrection.

Update, Monday, June 21, at 9:00 a.m.:
On his June 20 show, Stephen Colbert addressed the arrest of several of his staffers, saying, “After they’d finished their interviews, they were doing some last-minute puppetry and jokey make-’em-ups in a hallway, when Triumph and my folks were approached and detained by the Capitol police — which actually isn’t that surprising.” Colbert continued. “The Capitol police were just doing their job; my staff was just doing their job. Everyone was very professional; everyone was very calm. My staffers were detained, processed, and released. A very unpleasant experience for my staff.” Colbert also addressed Fox News’ coverage of the incident that implied his staff had caused an insurrection, saying, “Drawing any equivalence between rioters storming our Capitol to prevent the counting of electoral ballots and a cigar-chomping toy dog is a shameful and grotesque insult to the memory of everyone who died.” Luckily, we’re sure Tucker Carlson watches Colbert regularly and will apologize soon.

Original story published June 18, 2022 follows.

It’s The Late Show With Stephen Colbert … and the U.S. Capitol Police? Per The Hollywood Reporter, a group of staffers filming a Triumph the Insult Comic Dog segment for the CBS late-night show was arrested and charged with unlawful entry after entering a Capitol office building on Thursday night. The Associated Press reports that the Capitol Police refused to follow standard practice and provide names of the people who were arrested. But former Saturday Night Live writer Robert Smigel, who is the voice of Triumph, was reportedly among the people who were detained. No word yet on the fate of the foul-mouthed puppet dog, who we’re sure would’ve offended any officer in sight.

Police said they received a call about a disturbance in the Longworth House Office Building at around 8:30 p.m. “Responding officers observed seven individuals, unescorted and without Congressional ID, in a sixth-floor hallway,” the USCP said in a statement. “The building was closed to visitors, and these individuals were determined to be a part of a group that had been directed by the USCP to leave the building earlier in the day.” CBS, of course, tells a slightly different story. The staffers’ “interviews at the Capitol were authorized and pre-arranged through Congressional aides of the members interviewed,” a CBS spokesperson said in a statement to THR. “After leaving the members’ offices on their last interview of the day, the production team stayed to film stand-ups and other final comedy elements in the halls when they were detained by Capitol Police.” According to the USCP, an “active criminal investigation” is ongoing and may result in additional criminal charges. As you might expect, Fox News seemed thrilled to cover this turn of events with Tucker Carlson proclaiming that Colbert’s producers had “committed insurrection.” Good thing Fox applies that same energy to every instance of unlawful entry to the U.S. Capitol, right?

Late Show Staffers Won’t Be Prosecuted for Capitol Entry