On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert addressed the surprise reversal of Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction, after the Pennsylvania supreme court ruled that an earlier no-prosecution agreement prevented him from being charged in the case. “Yeah, I agree with you,” the host said to loud boos from the crowd. “Or to put that another way, me too.”
Cosby will be released from Pennsylvania state prison after serving over two years of his three-to-10 year sentence after being convicted of drugging and molesting Andrea Constand at his home in 2004. “Got no idea what’s next for Cosby,” Colbert said. “My guess is he’s going to join Bill O’Reilly and the former president” on a “Monsters of Being Monsters” tour.
Cosby was released on a technicality rather than exoneration; the ruling stems from a 2005 agreement with then prosecutor Bruce Castor, who declined to prosecute Cosby in exchange for his testimony during a civil trial. “If the name Bruce Castor rings a bell, it’s because he’s the same paragon of legal ethics who went on to represent the former president during his second impeachment trial,” Colbert explained.
“His business card just says: Bruce Castor, Actual Devil’s Advocate.”
Meanwhile, “the country is as hot as hell, so at least Cosby has a preview of the after-life,” Colbert quipped. New York City hit real-feel temperatures of 105 degrees on Wednesday – “it’s so hot, the Statue of Liberty dropped the toga.” Even parts of Alaska reached 92F this week, leading to an icequake.
“That’s right, global warming has gotten so bad we have to learn all new disasters,” Colbert mused. “Now we’ve got ice quakes, sand rain, thunder-namis, leaf herpes, getting strangled by a rainbow.”
In response to the nationwide heat wave, Joe Biden promoted a Department of Energy sensor that can detect, in real time, the lightning strikes that can ignite wildfires. “We have lightning sensor rays? That’s awesome, do we by any chance have something that can stop climate change?” he joked. “Because I switched to paper straws a year ago and I don’t think they’re working.”
Colbert also touched on the long road to the 2024 election, which is unfortunately already heating up for Republicans. Several Republican figures are already jockeying for the nomination, including Arkansas senator Tom Cotton, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Rick Scott of Florida, and former secretary of state Mike Pompeo.
Pompeo has even proceeded with his own political action committee, Champion American Values PAC, or CAVPAC. “CAVPAC is a fairly awkward name, but not as bad as what he’s calling his fans and donors, the Pipehitters.” The name is supposed to be a military reference to special-ops, but Colbert saw a double meaning: “If you think Mike Pompeo should be president, you’re definitely hittin’ the pipe.”
Samantha Bee introduced a special episode of Full Frontal filmed in Rwanda, “a chance for us to explore a place that a lot of Americans only know from movies.”
“Unfortunately, if you’re getting your education on any part of Africa from western pop culture and media, you’ve probably been fed a shit oversimplified narrative,” she explained before playing a montage of clips from such films as Out of Africa, Trader Horn, The Interpreter, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, The Constant Gardener and Blood Diamond, which all treat Africa as an exotic monolith.
“Putting Africa in a movie doesn’t have to be offensive, just like putting me in a movie doesn’t have to be a part cut for time,” said Bee, noting that only 14% of references to Africa made on TV and film in the US are positive, and 44% include no reference to a specific country. “That’s ridiculous! When we talk about the North American continent, we’d never confuse the culture of Manitoba with the culture of Utah or the culture of the Yucatan.”
“Yet when western media talks about Africa, they often treat the entire continent like it’s just one country,” she explained, such as the common and misguided question “do you speak African?”
“Much like entertainment, western journalism is more likely to focus on trauma and poverty in African countries than to tell nuanced, varied stories,” such as phrases “ravaged by war” and soliciting the most sensational stories, rather than focusing on, say, gender-bending fashion or tech developments in Nigeria.
“While it’s important to cover more difficult stories in Africa, when we share just those, we leave no space for more positive developments,” Bee said. “If we want to really learn about Africa we need to cover more nuanced stories about the countries and regions that make up the continent.”