What would a world without Stephen Colbert look like?
The comedian fired back Monday night at the hashtag activists that got #CancelColbert trending last week in their outrage over an out-of-context joke by imagining just that.
The tweet that sparked such outrage, sent from a Comedy Central promotional account, read “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” What that tweet couldn’t fit in 140 characters was that the line was taken directly from a segment lampooning Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who ignored calls to change the team’s name yet started a foundation to aid Native American tribes.
Monday’s episode began with a sequence in which “The Colbert Report” had indeed been cancelled and actor B.D. Wong, who is Asian, appeared as a therapist to explain to a Colbert decked out in Redskins gear that he was just dreaming.
Colbert then directly addressed the disputed tweet.
“Folks, I’m still here,” the comedian declared. “The dark forces trying to silence my message of core conservative principles mixed with youth-friendly product placement have been thwarted.”
He went on to explain in his defense that Ching-Chong Ding-Dong was a long-running character on the show. He emphasized that he was “Colbert,” the conservative on-air persona — in itself another character.
“Now, the #CancelColbert people think that even in context I am a racist. I just want to say that I’m not a racist,” he said. “I just I don’t see race. Not even my own. People tell me I’m white and I believe them because I just devoted six minutes to explaining how I’m not a racist.”
Expressing surprise at the amount of media coverage the hashtag campaign garnered, Colbert marveled that “CNN even took a break from their Malaysian airliner coverage to report spotting what they thought was the wreckage of my show off the coast of Australia.”
“To recap, a web editor I’ve never met posts a tweet in my name on an account I don’t control, outrages a hashtag activist and the news media gets 72 hours of content,” he concluded. “The system worked.”
During Monday’s episode Colbert asked fans to not attack Suey Park, the activist that started the #CancelColbert hashtag. It’s also worth noting that the @ColbertReport account run by Comedy Central no longer exists.
Watch below, courtesy of Comedy Central: