The shoot-from-the-gut late night TV host appeared in front of a crowd of over 5000 Canadian “iceholes” in Vancouver on Wednesday while taping special Olympic coverage for his Comedy Central show The Colbert Report.
“Isn’t there anything else to do in Vancouver this week?” he shouted to the crowd in obvious reference to the 2010 Winter Olympics coming to Vancouver, a city known worldwide for its leniency toward marijuana. The city’s weedy image wasn’t lost on the comedian, who made repeated references to Vancouver pot-smokers.
“I better know Vancouver,” he said in his filmed opening segment, “without the help of marijuana, but thanks to everyone I have met here.”
Colbert, who joking calls Canadians “syrup-suckers”, appeared on a fake snow-covered stage complete with a stuffed beaver and moose in Creekside Park next to Science World. A wood fire pit burned in front of the host while he interviewed his guests, singer Michael Buble, Olympic Hockey great Mike Eruzione, and NBC Olympic correspondent Bob Costas.
Burnaby crooner Michael Buble, who has admitted his pot-smoking roots to newspapers and was recently outed as a regular pot smoker by his ex-girlfriend, traded jabs jokingly and sang O Canada to the tune of The Star Spangled Banner with the America-loving host.
During his segment with American Hockey legend Mike Eruzione, who scored the winning goal in the famous Miracle on Ice game against the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics, Colbert again commented on pot, asking the sportsman how many times he had been offered marijuana while in the city.
Colbert, known for his satirical portrayal of an over-the-top right-wing news host, has been raising funds for the US Olympic speedskating team and criticizing Canadian Olympic officials on-air for allegedly cutting practice time at the skating oval in Richmond, BC. In response, the city of Richmond offered Colbert the job of official ombudsman of the Oval.
“I have no idea what an ombudsman is, but as long as it requires no effort from me, I proudly accept,” Colbert told his viewers.
During the outdoor taping on Wednesday, the host played a “Better Know a District” segment he had filmed with Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh in his Vancouver South riding.
In his classic, Bill O’Reillyesq style, Colbert savaged the local politician, interrupting him several times with rhetorical catch-22s and (jokingly) implying that he was a racist. The clip was so harsh that Colbert said it might not make it to air. Coincidentally, Dosanjh’s seat in his Vancouver South riding will be contested by Cannabis Culture editor and Green Party member Jodie Emery in the next federal election.
At one point during the show, Colbert grabbed one of this years official spliff-shaped Olympic Torchs from a member of the audience and brought it on stage. “It looks like a big joint,” someone yelled from the audience. Colbert just smiled.
A sea of thousands of fans crowded into the park, some who had been waiting since 4:00 am to see the show, and pushed against the flimsy fences set up by the few security workers at the event. Some members of the crowd commented that things felt a little unsafe, and could have led to problems like the ones encountered recently at other Olympic events in the city, where people were injured and sent to the hospital.
Colbert shot footage on Wednesday and Thursday, which is expected to air next week. Despite the seemly jeopardous conditions, everything went smoothly for the host, his guests, and the audience.
“This is a welcome that we couldn’t have imagined in our wildest dreams,” Colbert said. “I want to take back everything I’ve said about Canada.”