August 13, 2013


Stephen Colbert on Daft Punk Cancellation: What Really Happened

Theo Wargo/Getty Images
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Despite evidence suggesting otherwise, Daft Punk's super-hyped and ultimately canceled appearance on The Colbert Report was not a big publicity stunt for MTV's VMAs, says Colbert, even if both are owned by the same parent company, Viacom. 

In a podcast with Daily Show writer and comedian Paul Mecurio, Colbert explained the debacle, claiming that initial talks with the Parisian duo, weeks in advance of their planned appearance, proved very difficult. Daft Punk didn't want to perform or be interviewed because, well, they're robots that don't talk.

But Colbert still wanted Daft Punk on his show. So, as a workaround to the duo's inability to communicate on TV, he plotted with superstar friends like Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Jimmy Fallon and more to dance in a hilarious "Get Lucky" montage, which, Colbert hoped, might coax Daft Punk into performing. 

Colbert still planned an entire episode, regardless of Daft Punk's showing up: Robin Thicke would perform "Blurred Lines" and the star-studded montage would still play because anything music-related with Colbert is hilarious. (Remember his "Accidental Racist" spoof?)

Then, just hours before the show, Colbert says MTV pulled the plug, leading to a public evisceration of the exec who barred last Wednesday's appearance. Colbert says his higher-ups were cool with the disses. "All I've gotten from Comedy Central was: 'That was great,'" he said. 

"I found the whole thing to be joyful," he added. "We all said, 'Yippee! Look at what we get to do!"

HOWEVER, now VMAs executive producer Jesse Ignjatovic tells The Hollywood Reporter that it was Daft Punk's decision to skip The Colbert Report, not MTV's: "We don't put restrictions on anyone. I just think that we're talking to them about a moment and then things sort of change. I would not describe that as MTV putting restrictions on people—it was up to that artist and their management what they wanted to do."

Ball's in your court, Colbert.

Listen to the entire podcast below (Daft Punk talks start at 24:15):