Stephen Colbert was so floored by the idea of President Donald Trump’s budget slashing programs like the National Endowment for the Arts and Meals on Wheels that he called in a big gun to address it: his own alter-ego, “fiscal conservative” pundit Stephen Colbert.
“I’m here because America needs me,” said his counterpart, arching his brow over a pair of wire-rimmed glasses instead of The Late Show host’s usual thick black specs. He then launched into a special edition of “The Werd,” a deeply sarcastic segment that lets Colbert (the real person, not the character) parse through reasoning he clearly thinks is ridiculous from the perspective of someone who might not, while silly puns pop up on the other side of the screen.
(The host was quick to note that his “guest” wasn’t the same character he played on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report, which is about the same kind of technical side-skirting he uses when doing “The Werd” — a segment that absolutely is the same as “The Word” from The Colbert Report, with one letter changed to cover the Late Show’s legal bases.)
“[Trump’s budget] is supposedly cruel to old people for no reason,” Colbert’s conservative twin said, “when in fact there is a very good reason, which brings us to tonight’s Werd: screw unto others.”
From there, “The Werd” dug deep into the Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney’s justifications for slashing the budget, steadily getting ever more ridiculous.
“We all know what happens when we eat food,” smirked conservative Colbert. “We are literally flushing money down the toilet.” (The Werd’s follow-up punchline: “flush with cash.”)
“If you want to keep America safe,” he scoffed, “why spend money on Meals on Wheels that could be used on weapons systems?” (The Werd: “scones on drones?”)
At one point, conservative Colbert also defended the fact that the budget would cut after-school lunch programs for poor kids by proposing that if we “take the food away … maybe they’ll be hungry for knowledge!” (The Werd: “less carrot, more stick.”)
Finally, The Werd’s Colbert sighed that his ultimate fear is that disgruntled citizens might visit house.gov online, find out how to call their representatives, and contact them to voice their fears about the budget.
“If they did that,” he said, “it could derail all of Donald Trump’s compassion. And that might upset that lonely old man … so much that he just becomes a shut-in, stays in the White House, doesn’t even eat, and someone has to bring him a meal.” (The Werd: “how about a steaming bowl of **** you?”)
And that was last night’s Werd.