After a group of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” staffers were arrested at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, the show’s host defended his staff’s actions.
Among those arrested was Robert Smigel, a comedian who puppets Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
“Triumph offered to go down to D.C. to interview some congresspeople to highlight the Jan. 6 hearings. I said ‘Sure, if you can get anyone to agree to talk to you, because — and please don’t take this as an insult — you’re a puppet,” Colbert said.
Colbert said during Monday’s episode that his staffers were invited to interview several members of Congress.
But instead of leaving, Colbert said they stuck around to do additional filming.
“Thursday evening, after they’d finished their interviews, they were doing some last-minute puppetry and jokey make-em-ups in a hallway, when Triumph and my folks were approached and detained by the Capitol Police, which actually isn’t that surprising. The Capitol Police are much more cautious than they were, say, 18 months ago, and for a very good reason. If you don’t know what that reason is, I know which news network you watch,” he said.
The U.S. Capitol Police told the Associated Press last week that Colbert’s staff had been told to leave earlier in the day.
“Responding officers observed seven individuals, unescorted and without Congressional ID, in a sixth-floor hallway,” the agency said in a statement to the AP. “The building was closed to visitors, and these individuals were determined to be a part of a group that had been directed by the USCP to leave the building earlier in the day.”
The seven staffers were arrested for unlawful entry.