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About (Late) Last Night: Stephen Colbert masters British etiquette

April 7, 2011 |  6:27 am


The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
My Fair Colbert - Hugo Vickers
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Last night, I tuned in to Jon Stewart's interview with potential 2012 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, thinking it might be worthy of a post. And although their conversation was worth watching, a thoughtful and civilized discussion of things like the seperation of church and state and the so-called "War on Christmas," it was what came in the next half an hour that really struck me.

On "The Colbert Report," host Stephen Colbert declared that he, like the rest of America -- or at least the members of the news media -- had contracted royal wedding fever. To prepare, he sat for a lesson in British etiquette from author and "royal watcher" Hugo Vickers.

During the segment, called (naturally) "My Fair Colbert," the host compared the king (who doesn't actually exist, but never mind) and queen to Brad and Angelina, asked innuendo-laden questions about the rigidity of his collar and, to top it off, spat out a mouthful of scone and cream on his jacket. It wasn't exactly stimulating and may just endanger our "special relationship" with the U.K., but it certainly was entertaining.

The segment felt a lot like the heavily edited field pieces that used to be stock-in-trade of "The Daily Show," where an unsuspecting "expert" sat for an interview, only to be mocked mercilessly. Happily, Vickers appeared to be in on the joke, playing right along when Colbert compared him to a serial killer and licked huge dollops of clotted cream off a butter knife. If you're in the mood for a lot of easy laughs, watch the whole thing; if you're pressed for time, the good stuff begins at the 3:00 mark.


-- Meredith Blake