Stephen Colbert Sounds Off on Tucker Carlson: 'You're Awful on So Many Levels'

Stephen Colbert
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for National Board of Review

Stephen Colbert speaks onstage during The National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on Jan. 8, 2019 in New York City. 

Stephen Colbert shot down Tucker Carlson's resurfaced, controversial remarks about Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and religious leader Warren Jeffs on his Monday show, addressing the Fox News opinion-show host directly and calling him "awful on so many levels."

In The Late Show host's second monologue, Colbert introduced the news that Media Matters for America, a progressive activist organization, had unearthed audio of conversations between Carlson and Bubba the Love Sponge, the host of a "shock-jock" radio show. In the clips, which date from his time as both an MSNBC and Fox News contributor, Carlson is heard calling TV host Alexis Stewart "cunty," Britney Spears and Paris Hilton "whores" and Kagan "unattractive," as well as defending president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Jeffs, who was convicted on two counts of child sexual assault in 2011.   

Colbert, saying that Carlson has been "saying just awful stuff for years," first took aim at Carlson's venue for these comments. "By the way, Bubba the Love Sponge, the least effective method of contraception. The most effective method? Tucker Carlson," he joked.

Of Carlson's comments on Kagan, Colbert joked that the U.S. must "maintain" standards of beauty on the Supreme Court. "Mm, Justice Breyer, break me off a piece of that," he joked. "Or just wait a bit, something will fall off."

Taking on Carlson's defense of Jeffs, Colbert noted that Bubba the Love Sponge had challenged Carlson's soft view of Jeff's actions. "Wow, Tucker just got school by Bubba the Voice of Reason Sponge, that's not a good sign," he said.

He added, addressing Carlson himself, "Yes, let's be honest, you're awful on so many levels. But on the positive side, I think R. Kelly just got a character witness," referring to allegations that Kelly has abused women, including underage girls. In February, the singer was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

And of Carlson's remark that women were "primitive," Colbert responded with a jab: "Sure, women are primitive, in that many of them right now want to throw Tucker Carlson into a volcano."

On Sunday, the host responded to the backlash against the resurfaced remarks by offering a statement in which he said, "Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago. Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I’m on television every weeknight live for an hour. If you want to know what I think, you can watch. Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why.”

Colbert responded, "Naughty? Tucker, when you defend child brides, you don't go on the naughty list. You go on the list where you have to go door-to-door to tell people that you just moved into their neighborhood."

On Monday, after new remarks about Iraqis and LGBTQ people were resurfaced by Media Matters, Carlson delivered a monologue on his show about "the great American outrage machine."

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