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Stephen Colbert on Trump: “I love my country more than I love a good joke”

The Late Show host isn’t exactly grateful he has so much material to work with right now.

2018 Winter TCA Tour - Day 3
Stephen Colbert isn’t entirely grateful he has so much material to work with right now.
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

After over a year of making fun of President Trump on The Late Show, Stephen Colbert acknowledges that the constant chaos of the White House regularly provides more comedic material than he and his writers know what to do with — but having so much joke fodder is not, he wants to emphasize, an overall plus.

“He’s communicating in [such] an uncontrolled way ... he does it so often that you always have fresh material,” Colbert said at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Saturday, where he was promoting his upcoming Showtime animated series, Our Cartoon President. “But I don’t want to describe that as a good thing. I would happily do with less.”

Still, Colbert continued, Trump is “president of the United States. There’s no escaping him. [Trump fatigue] is like having oxygen fatigue.” Which is why, he explained, he’s so grateful to have the outlet of The Late Show — and soon, Our Cartoon President: It allows him to vent his outrage with a similarly frustrated audience. “I have this great thing where I get to go out to the audience and we have this shared catharsis to laugh at, Colbert said. “If I didn’t have the show, I’d be much more tired of the president. It keeps it fresh, to be able to laugh at the devil.”

With Our Cartoon President, Colbert and the show’s producers are aiming for a slightly different approach to Trump-centric humor by focusing on the “interpersonal relationship comedy” constantly unfolding within the administration. (Though both Omarosa and Steve Bannon — whom the show’s creative team had previously planned to include as integral characters, had to be scrapped following their respective sudden exits from the White House.)

But even with so much chaos at his disposal to mine for comedy, Colbert insisted that at the end of the day, he would much rather have a little more normalcy at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, because, “here’s the thing: I love my country more than I love a good joke.”

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