tv The Late Show With Stephen Colbert CBS December 8, 2015 11:35pm-12:38am EST
>> good night, family and sleep well. captioning sponsored by cbs ( band playing "late show" theme ) >> stephen: hey! yeah! thank you very much! hey! whooo! ( cheers and applause ) >> stephen>> stephen: welcome te late show" everybody. ( cheers and applause ) that's nice. very nice. >> stephen! stephen! stephen! stephen! stephen! stephen! that's nice. you look very nice. wow! ( cheers and applause ) thank you!
welcome to "the late show." i'm stephen colbert. thank you, everybody. welcome to the show. i'm going to talk to the people out watchingous television. i hope you're sitting down-- and if i know americans, you probably are-- because i've got some alarming news about the end of a beloved american icon. of course, i'm talking about the spork, the spork. the hybrid utensil that's half spoon, half fork. i don't know how they were created. somebody probably left a fork and spoon together in a drawer and let's just say they ended up "forking." and afterwards, hopefully, spooning. ( laughter ) here's the situation-- this is actually true. it was just announced that in an effort to be more sustainable, school districts all across the country will be retiring the spork. it's the end of an era. and ken burns never even got a
chance to make his eight-part sporkumentary! and this is personal because-- and this is a true story-- when i had my first apartment in chicago, i forgot to buy any silverware. i just saved the spork i got with my mashed potatoes at the local k.f.c. or as i called it: "kentucky free cutlery." and one day, my mom visited my apartment, opened the drawer, saw the spork, and said, "is this really how you live now?" and i said, "yeah, that does everything i need." she said, "i understand." then she threw it away and bought me some used silverware. that my wife threw away when we got married. there's a lesson in there, somewhere. i don't know what it is. anyway, we'll miss you, spork. farewell. and don't be too sad, we have a pretty good show for you tonight. ( cheers and applause ) that was a much more touching story than i intended. >> jon: yeah! >> stephen: chocked up a
little bit there. first tonight, i'll be talking with academy award-winning actress marion cotillard. she's starring in a new film "macbeth." which is incredible, and i'm hearing a lot of oscar buzz for whoever wrote that thing. i'm also sitting down with best-selling author and macarthur genius, george saunders. ( cheers and applause ) george-- >> jon: george, george, big george. >> stephen: in my opinion, he is one of the best short story writers in the world. although, i've been repeatedly assured it's not the length of the story that matters. and we'll have an amazing performance by indie rock harpist joanna newsom. ( cheers and applause ) that's my air harp. >> jon: get it! get it! get it! pull it! get it! pull it! get it! get it!
that was good. that was nice. >> stephen: i am telling you, folks, she is amazing. if you see only one rock-harpist on television tonight, make it this one. (band playing) oh, that over there, folks. that is jon batiste and stay human. say hi, everybody. jon, i really-- i really like your suit tonight. >> jon: oh, yeah. >> stephen: yeah. that is nice. is that new? that's nice. it looks like you took that from the skin of a flamboyant python. they're about to spark up this menorah, but before they do, one more thing: a british astronaut says he will run the london marathon virtually on a treadmill while in orbit. because when you're an astronaut on the international space station, you really want to feel like you've accomplished something. ( cheers and applause ) >> tonight, stephen welcomes actor marion cottilard.
author george saunders. and a musical performance by joanna newsom. featuring jon batiste and stay human. and now it's time for "the late show with stephen colbert"! ( cheers and applause ) >> stephen: thank you! thanks, everybody. you know, i hope i don't have to remind you that we are all lucky to live in this country.
i really do love everything about america: hot dogs. apple pie. baseball-- maybe not baseball. it's like watching grass grow with people in the way. ( laughter ) but i will say one of my favorite things about america is my constitutional right to make fun of the powerful: senators, presidents, brands that don't advertise on my show. sleep lightly, old el paso taco seasonings you picked the wrong guy to not give money to. but not everyone out there has that freedom. take turkey where, right now... ( laughter ) now just to be clear, erdogan is not a name from "lord of the rings."
i know it sounds like erdogan could be aragorn's dad, but that's obviously arathorn. now, the whole thing started when doctor bilgin ciftci-- again, not a hobbit name- ( laughter ) posted these side-by-side comparisons of erdogan and gollum on facebook. ( cheers and applause ) pretty good. pretty good. , of course, since it was fable, that could also be somebody's "really" ugly baby. just click "like" and move on. they won't know. because of this, doctor ciftci was fired from his job at turkey's public health service and is currently on trial because... it is a punishable crime in turkey to insult the head of state. for instance, in turkey, legally, i could not say that president erdogan's mustache looks like his nose is a teepee for a caterpillar. now, doctor ciftci has offered a fantastic defense, but the judge
in this case might not be able to understand it. and i will let cnn's news lady of lothlorien, christiane amanpour, explain. >> he is now taking a novel approach to his legal defense. he and his lawyer argue that gollum is a hero, not a bad guy. the judge admitted that he had only seen parts of the film. >> stephen: come on! even in turkish, "i have only seen parts of the film" is totally code for "i have not seen any of the film." so now, the court is looking for a gollum expert to decide this man's fate. hmmm. hmmm. who do we know-- whom do we know who is an expert on all things "lord of the rings." folks, when i spent my entire teenaged years reading all of tolkien-- not just "the hobbit", and "lord of the rings." i'm talking "farmer giles of ham," "smith of wootten major," "leaf by niggle", i knew i was preparing myself for something important.
why else would i ignore all my classwork, abandon sports, and achieve a paleness i have yet to shake off, if not to arm myself for a moment of heroism? and now that moment has arrived. a man's life hangs in the balance and i alone among all the edain, am capable of freeing him, much as luthien freed beren from the dungeons of sauron. now, i'm so tempted to tell that you story right now. but anyway. now you may say, "stephen, why you? why not director peter jackson and screenwriters fran walsh and phillpa boyens, who made "the lord of the rings" movies?" sure, they have released a joint statement exonerating the defendant, declaring: if the images are, in fact, forming the basis of this turkish lawsuit, we can state categorically, none of them feature the character known as gollum. all of them are images of the character called smeagol. i concur. i concur. there is an important legal distinction between gollum and smeagol. smeagol was a perfectly normal
hobbit until he was corrupted by the one ring and became the creature known as gollum, the two operating as split personalities in one body. so, yeah, the turkish court could go with these guys, if you want to trust a man's life to the second-best tolkien experts in the world. and that's not me talking. that's peter jackson, who said of me, quote: i have never met a bigger tolkien geek in my life. ( cheers and applause ) and, folks, i wear that statement as a badge of honor. and as my tramp stamp. you see, when i was in new zealand filming "the hobbit: the desolation of smaug," where i starred in the lead role of "lake-town spy," i went toe-to-toe in an after-hours tolkien ivia contest with the film's resident tolkien expert. and i apparently need to remind everyone, i emerged the one true "lord of the rings" expert. and i don't bring that up to brag. i bring it up to serve justice--
and to brag. therefore, i hereby volunteer my services to explain to the turkish court why this man is innocent of a crime that shouldn't be illegal anyway. now, i can't spare the time to actually fly to turkey for the trial. we have bruce willis on thursday. ( laughter ) so i am going to save this man's life right here in the courtroom of being on television. ♪ ♪ ( cheers and applause ) ladies and gentlemen of the turkish government. this case should never have come to trial. the man has committed no crime at all.
he has merely broken a rigid and time-honored code of our society: comparing the president to a murderous fantasy character. but there is not one iota of evidence that these images show the villain known as gollum. in fact, what we see is nothing but the pitiful face of smeagol, a humble hobbit of the river-folk, who is corrupted by the one ring to become gollum. the government makes the incorrect assumption-- the evil assumption that smeagol and gollum are one and the same. but even if they were, we cannot allow the government to punish this man. they want to put him away. but the freedom of speech is imperishable as the flame of anor, that secret fire set amid the void, through which the world was sung into being. again, i did not have to look any of this up. it is from the first chapter of "the silmarillion," my favorite book, even though it's the one no one reads. ( applause )
now, i am confident that you gentlemen will, without passion, examine the difference between smeagol and gollum and restore this man to his family. in the name of eru ilvatar, do your duty. ( applause ) scout, jim, we'll be right back! ♪ ♪ is giving you more.america's best-selling brand the ford holiday sales event... with 0% financing for 60 months on 2015 f-150 and focus and 2016 fusion and escape.
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crew member: what does he want? happy holidays! free shipping all season long. and free returns too! ( band playing ) ( cheers and applause ) >> stephen: welcome back, ung everybody. my first guest is an academy award-winning actress you know from such moves as "la vie she now stars as the leading lady in "macbeth." >> on the thought he will again be well. if you know him you shall offend him and extend his passion.
feed sp regard him not. are you man? >> stephen: please welcome, marion cotillard. ( cheers and applause ) ♪ ♪ >> stephen: that's an unbelievably beautiful tress. >> unbelievable. >> stephen: it's both french and american at the same time. i love the american flag over here. >> oh, yeah, i hadn't seen this. >> stephen: you hadn't seen that? ( laughter ) you don't even realize how well prepared you are for a television show in america. >> and i never realized this kind of things, yeah, no. >> stephen: now, did you mind the double kiss i gave you on the cheeks over there. when i see a french person i have an urge to do it. >> that's what we do. >> stephen: do you really. it's not a caricature? >> no, sometimes it's three,
sometimes it's four. >> stephen: really? >> yeah. >> stephen:-- that's pretty spicy. >> well, it depends on who you kiss. >> stephen: right, right. we kept it fairly civil over there. >> yeah. we kept it parisian, actually. in paris it's only two. >> stephen: really? and is there actually contact, because our faces didn't touch. >> because of the makeup, right. >> stephen: i suppose so. >> because we do touch dism you do touch in paris? >> we do. >> stephen: that's how you make more parisians. thank you for being here. i love your performances. >> thank you. >> stephen: and one of the things i love about you is that, you know, you both covery modern films-- like, you do bloc busters-- but you're also a throe back to classic hollywood. we used to ship europeans in to class us up. and now you can't get any classier than marion cottilard. what's it like to be a foreigner in hollywood? >> i don't know because, you know, i don't live there, i guess. i always love to go there, and i feel-- i mean, i feel a foreigner here, too.
because my french, you know? >> stephen: yes. yes. >> but i love it so much they just enjoy loving it, and i don't, you know, i don't-- i just feel good. >> stephen: well, let's talk about lady macbeth. she's really the trouble, right? she's the one who pushed mack beckett to do all the bad stuff-- spoiler alert. laugh she's the one. it's her idea to kill everybody, right? >> yeah, but she doesn't-- i mean, she's not just like this cold-blood monster. she's-- she's someone who trietz to get a different life, and if you don't face what hurts and you what keeps fr fruyou from gg on, and if you try to cover it with violence or power, it's just an illusion, and it can lead you to madness and that's what happens for her. >> stephen: is it hard? because my understanding is that-- not being a woman who
ever played macbeth, lady macbeth, i understand lady macbeth is like lear for women. it's one of the hardest roles you can take on. >> yeah, it was pretty hard. first of all, for me, as a french, learning the dialogue, the shakespeare writing was-- see, i start to sound british now. the accent, all of this, was really-- it was at the same time kind of complicated, but at the same time, i was so excited and i thought it was such a gift to be able to say shakespeare, in his own language. but she was definitely super dark, the darkest character i had to live with. >> stephen: do you have to live with it? can you shake it off when you get home? you have children, right? >> i do have a kid, yeah. >> stephen: do you come home and wash your hands and try to get the blood off because you see her?
>> kind of. >> stephen: a little bit? >> kind of. >> stephen: emotionally. >> when you spend-- when you spend that much time with someone and it's a little more than spending time with, like, a buddy or-- it's just like inside of you and you're inside of this person, it affects you in a way. i mean, i'm not eye don't go totally crazy, but i know that sometimes -- >> just slightly crazy? >> not crazy at all. but just, like, slightly affected. and-- and i had to-- yeah, i had, like, a process of breathe it out before i would, like, open the door of my apartment and my kid there was because he doesn't need her in his life. absolutely not. ( laughter ). >> stephen: lady macbeth does not seem like the best mom in the world,"not that nurturing. >> well, you know-- no, no. >> stephen: we have to take a little break. you can stick around for just a moment? i will.
>> stephen: we'll be right back with more marion cotillard. stick around. ♪ ♪ ( applause ) ♪ ♪ you may not even think about the energy that lights up your world. but we do. we're exxonmobil. and the cleaner-burning natural gas we produce generates more of our electricity than ever before... ...helping dramatically reduce america's emissions. because turning on the lights, isn't as simple as just flipping a switch.
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( band playing ) ( cheers and applause ) ( cheers and applause ) >> stephen: can we telethat story right now? >> yeah. >> stephen: we're with marion cottilard. i was saying to her, "hey, break a leg." and then-- and then in french you say instead of prega lake you say. >> ( bleep ). >> stephen: which means. >> which means ( bleep ). >> stephen: why do you say ( bleep )? >> because, when it was the carriages with the horses-- >> stephen: the old days in theater. >> yeah, they would take the public to-- i mean, the audience to the theater. if you had a lot of ( bleep ) in front of your theater, it meant that you had a lot of people coming because the horse would ( bleep ). ( laughter )
my explanation -- >-->> you explained it beautifu. >> yeah, you-- you say ( bleep ). >> stephen: yes. it sounds so much better, you know. it sounds-- that's one of the things that i love about the french and the french language is i sometimes wish i was french. >> your name is super french. my name is french, but i'm not >> stephen: tres french. but i'm not. i'm irish. anything you say in french sounds so much more elegant and sexy and kind of profound, you know. i'd like to try something with you. >> okay. >> i'd like to try saying things that are completely mundane in english and to see how sexy and profound they sound and intriguing kind of they sound in french. would you do that with me. >> i would do that with you?
>> stephen: "composez le neuf pour obtenir une ligne extrieure." >> "laissez-moi vous raconter l'histoire du prix d'occasion que j'ai obtenu sur mon veste en jean." >> stephen: "je sent des cheveux qui sont en train de brler." ( laughter ) ( applause ) >> "je vous jure, je n'ai aucune ide ce qui se passe a la fin d'inception."
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>> stephen: how does that whole macarthur genius thing feel? when people call you, you're officially a genius now, according to some people who gave you cash. do you like to throw that in people's face? >> very much. i'm hoping to get it a second time so i can live it up. >> stephen: are there other two-fers on that? >> no. >> stephen: i'm sorry. did you run through the cash already? >> pretty much, yeah. >> stephen: you're one of my favorite literary guests and one of my favorite authors. >> thank you. >> stephen: you don't look that much like an author. right now you look like a bikener a tie. >> a bit of a muppet, maybe, a muppet. a mup net a tie. >> stephen: i can imagine henson with his hand up you right now. ( laughter ). >> but don't, don't, no. >> stephen: i won't. >> we'll cothat later. >> stephen: you've got-- you're re-releasing right now a worrying book called "the very persistent gappers of frip." and this is written for children, a children's book. cow believe there is such a
thing as children's books versus adult books. i interviewed maury sendac. he said he didn't write children's books. he wrote a book and somebody said, "this is for children." what do you think the difference is when you write a book? >> when i wrote this one my idea was adult literature is cautionary, especially in a culture like ours which is so affluent. it reminds us, just because stuff is good for us, it's not good for everybody else and it might not be good for us, forever. it's a somber, cautionary thing. for kids-- i wrote this for my daughter. i thought what they maybe need to hear is sort of like a radical defensive tenderness, the fact that the world does sometimes go bad, but when it does, we have resources. what that meant for me was instead of having a big disastrous, murderous ending, it had to have a happy ending, which was kind of new for me. >> stephen: i like the idea, radical tenderness? >> yes. >> stephen: what do you mean by that? >> my take on it is, i don't
know, our world has become-- in my lifetime-- more materialist, more analytical, more fact-based, more shareholderrer honoring, kind of a gradual shift to the rational side of things. and i think, you know, actually what we need to understand is that our gifts-- our real powerful gifts are love, tenderness, patience. it's possible this a couple generations those things we kind of grew up on could drift out of the picture. especially, when i was writing this, what i would do-- i'm a really control freak writer. like i do hundreds of drafts. >> stephen: the discipline of a short story really is all about control. >> and i've got this, like, inner nun, you know, that is is like, "that suction" they wouldn't say "suck" but they would say, "that's inferior." >> stephen: "that's disappointing george." >> you almost sent me into a flashback just now. ( laughter ) so the writing process for adults is really rigorous and could have o.c.d. when our daughters were little every so often i would go in and
improvise, which for me was really thin ice. >> stephen: improvise a story? >> yes, no revising allowed. so what was interesting was they were such wonderful girls. so when you're improvising a story you can gauge the audience and you can see what they prefer. so over the years, the stories that i tended to tell them were kind of like not-- well, nobody died, for one. there wasn't a lot of crushing of enemies. it was more like the little girl in the story would have a problem, would solve it, and them would kind of look back and help her enemies, you know, kind of redeem her enemy s. >> stephen: that's what happens in this, the main character, capable. the enemies aren't crushed. everybody is happy in the end. >> right. they turn on her and she at a certain moments she thinks, "i can win or i can win and go back and help them as well." so that was kind of the you know... >> stephen: do you think that nonfiction can be friendly? i'll tell you the reason why is i read a lot of nonfiction books. but i also read a ton of fiction
when i was younger. and i used to think of the fiction books as my friends, not the characters, but literally the book was my friend because i had a relationship with the book. can nonfiction do that? >> sure. because i think the reason you felt that when you were young-- this is weird, but prose, when done right is like empathy training wheels. first of all, i'm writing a character. usually when you start, you're writing down. you're making fun of somebody. you're giving them some really obvious defect thawks kick around. the story form doesn't like that. it feels like you're coned sending. so in rewriting you're bringing the character up. you make him more like yourself, smarter, sharper. in that sense you're building empathy between and you the character. meanwhile, i'm writing to you, and you're kind of watching me to see how much i respect your intelligence. like, if i put in a bunch of empty phrases, for example, you're going to think, "why does he think so little of me? why is he wasting my time?" for example, if you had something like, "bob came into
the room and sat down on the brown couch." a perfectly good english sentence. the inner nun would say, "why does he have to come into the room? can't he already be in the room?" okay. so you cut that out. bob sat down on the brown couch. you can sit up on a couch? no, sister, you can't. so you cut that. and then, "bob sat on the brown couch." "why does it have to be brown?" "bob sat on the couch." "why is he sitting on the couch?" and then you cut it. you just have "bob." ( laughter ) but it doesn't -- >> eventually, don't you have to ask the nun to leave the room? >> you do, you do, you do. >> stephen: the main character capable in this, she has-- she says she has-- it's not all that much fun being the sort of person who eats a big dinner in a warm house while others shiver. why does she say that? >> well, she's gotten to that place where she's kind of solved her problem, and meanwhile, her neighbors are out there with their problem unsolved. and it's kind of the moment
where a different story would say, "well, too bad." but for her, she kind of says, "this is not as fun as i thought it would be so i have to bring them in and include them." >> stephen: i understand you actually wrote a song associated with that moment in the book. >> di. i loved writing this book and i had a kind of creative overflow and i wrote a bunch of songs. >> stephen: would you mind? >> i'm a little intimidated. with this band, this is like having sex in front of porn stars. ( cheers and applause ) all right, but we'll try it? okay, we'll try it. >> stephen: yeah, all right. >> actually, when you think of that, this will be relatively easy. >> stephen: exactly. all right. you're going to help me. >> stephen: what? >> you're going to help me. >> stephen: should i jump in? >> please. >> stephen: the way we rehearsed before the show? >> something like that would be good, or even more. >> stephen: you start and i'll see what i can do. >> ready for this?
♪ there are days in this life, the sun shining bright, ♪ when we see what god intended ♪ but that kind, clear sun can't warm everyone ♪ oh, today is a beautiful day but not for you ♪ all my life, i've lived right by day and by night ♪ now at last, i am rewarded i worked hard to get where i got ♪ as for you, apparently not, oh ♪ today is a beautiful day but not for you ♪ not for you just for me
♪ everything's fine far as i can see ♪ oh, the world is a beautiful place ♪ and it keeps getting better ♪ as for you, whatever you did too bad for you, kid, oh, ♪ today is a beautiful day but not for you ♪ today is a beautiful day in every way ♪ oh, today is a beautiful day but not for you. ♪ >> stephen: george saunders. "the very persistent gappers of frip." we'll be right back. george what, a treat. thank you. mom. the twins. aunt alice...
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♪ the bridle bends in idle hands and slows your canter to a trot. ♪ we mean to stop in increments, but can't commit. ♪ we post and sit in impotence. ♪ the harder the hit, the deeper the dent. ♪ we seek out fame, we seek a name ♪ in our credentials, paved in glass, ♪ trying to master incidentals. ♪ bleach a collar, leech a dollar from our cents. ♪ the longer you live, the higher the rent ♪ beneath a pale sky, beside the old barn, ♪ below the white cloud is all we are allowed. ♪ here, the light will seep, and e scythe will reap, ♪ and spirit will rend in counting toward the end.
♪ in december of that year, the word came down that she was here. ♪ the days were shorter, i was sure if she came round, ♪ i'd hold my ground. i can do what they alluded to, ♪ a change that came to pass. spring did range, weeping grass ♪ and sleepless broke itself upon my winter glass. ♪ and i could barely breathe for seeing ♪ all the splintered light that leaked. ♪ a fish is fleeting, launched in flight ♪ but starched in light, ♪ bright and bleeding, bleach the night ♪ with dawn deleting in that high sun ♪ after our good run, when the spirit bends ♪ beneath knowing it must end. and all i want here,
>> stephen: that's it for the "late show." tune in tomorrow when my guests will be "downton abbey's" michelle dockery, hugh bonneville and allen leech; director adam mckay; and a musical performance by kurt vile. but before we go, how about a bedtime story ( cheers and applause ) george, i understand you wrote one us one. >> i did.
it's called "festive" and it's in the form of a diary entry. "dear diary: tonight, december 8. xmas around corner. must admit: slight sense of dread. this christmas must be modest. we always say 'never do.' this year, 'do.' note to self: set low dollar limit per kid? exchange homemade presents? christmas, sing carols, list many blessings in life-- go in yard, gaze at sky-- to assuage kids' sense of havinbeen gypped by small limit? to maximize amount kids can get within limit, buy no presents pre-christmas, but day after christmas, go to mall, find bargains? could be fun? new holiday tradition? make sandwiches at home, eat sandwiches in food court after having kids sign agreement re:
arcade. verboten? tonight, however, kids excited about christmas, makes lists of presents they want. edward wants pony, emma wants mink boots. kids unaware of our recent financial fiasco? but no, kids aware. ( laughter ) edward: "daddy, how did we go broke?" me: "we did not. we did not exactly." feel: "why our culture so crass? wish we lived where money no big deal, people happy due to trees, sun. if person laid off, has brief period of not working, finally finds job far below previous job. no big deal. worry: why our kids so materialistic?" me: "okay, guys. who was jesus?" long pause.
emma: "uhhh, this perfect person who lived a long time ago and loved everyone?" respectful silence in living room. then edward says, "yeah, jesus cool. jesus had son named tiny tim ( laughter ) then this mob came, killed tiny tim. tiny tim came back to life on the third day, killed mob with lasers coming out of his eyes." i propose we take walk. outside, world of white. big flakes floating down past street light. emma: "daddy, how many days will you get off this year for christmas? me: "three." moon high. snow blue in moonlight. branches of trees holding narrow shelves of snow. "fun," emma says. "that will be fun." and just like that, is christmas.
>> stephen: merry christmas, george. >> merry christmas, steve. >> stephen: george saunders, everyone. good night! captioning sponsored by cbs ♪ are you ready all to have some fun and feel the love tonight don't you worry if you aren't a sponge it will be o-ok it's "the late late show" ♪ reggie: ladies and gentlemen, all the way from