Ryan Lochte, via his lies about being robbed in Rio, has evolved from slightly lovable American oaf to American embarrassment. In the wake of the debacle and his dishonesty, sponsors like Speedo and Ralph Lauren have dropped the swimmer, but there’s still a lingering feeling of discomfort around Lochte’s privilege and a lack of accountability.
A lot of that has to do with his excuses. The first time Lochte told his story, it was about a gunpoint robbery. Then he walked it back a bit, before eventually apologizing for misjudging a situation — a situation that involved a gas station manager and a security guard who were mad at Lochte and his friends for vandalizing the gas station’s bathroom and urinating around the premises.
During the interviews Lochte has given about the incident, which include a tell-all on Today, interviewers have gone pretty easy on the swimmer, without really challenging what he has to say.
Enter Stephen Colbert. On The Late Show Monday night, Colbert remixed footage from the Today interview to lay some burns on Lochte.
"I overexaggerated that part," Lochte says in the remixed interview.
"Here’s the thing: That part is really the whole part," Colbert says. "Without the gun cocked to your forehead, it’s really just a story about some guys urinating on a gas station. How could you get that so wrong?"
"I was intoxicated," Lochte responds.
The segment is a bit of a comeuppance fantasy, as Colbert mocks Lochte in a way that everyone who’s embarrassed by this American merman’s behavior wishes they could, but can’t. It even includes Colbert performing a sobriety test, and concludes with a simple question: What can we expect if we give Lochte a second chance?
"Intoxicated," Lochte says.