Olympic Pride House: The Colbert Nation meets the Queer Nation
(Update #2: Pride House is now reporting that their segment has been cut from the Colbert Report but should be on the web site.)
(Update: Colbert’s producers have informed Pride House’s Jennifer Breakspear that the Pride House segment is now likely to air tonight. That is, Tuesday, February 23.)
After weeks of deriding Canadians as “ice holes” and “syrup suckers”–a fine euphemism for “gay” if ever I heard one–Stephen Colbert arrived at the Vancouver Olympics this week to serve as an ombudsman of sorts for the U.S.A. speed skating team.
On Thursday, Colbert took some time away from the oval to visit the national Olympic pavilions and gather material for The Colbert Report. That brought him to Vancouver Pride House, where he met the … um … Priders? … Prideites? … Pridians?
I won’t give away the jokes right now. We’re told the segment will air on Wednesday. Meanwhile, here’s a look behind the scenes.
The crew arrived first, complete with specially-made t-shirts for Colbert’s visit to Canada.
Anyone on the premises was asked to sign a release form. A number of us felt very flattered to be described as “talent.”
More setting up. It was all fun and games until one of the members of the production team turned off the TV … right in the middle of Team Canada’s hockey game against Switzerland. Look, we don’t care if you’re with Stephen Colbert. In the Canadian nation, we consider this a declaration of war. (After a bit of booing, the production crew relented, and the TV stayed on.)
(Update: You can see video of the set-up here.)
Showtime! Colbert interviewed Jennifer Breakspear, the coordinator of Vancouver Pride House. Breakspear doesn’t own a TV and had never actually seen The Colbert Report before producers contacted her about the segment. Colbert gently explained to her before the cameras rolled that “I do the interview in character. The character is an idiot.”
Pride House’s Lydia Luk took these next few shots with her cell phone, since flash photography was prohibited while the taping was underway.
Colbert was invited to Vancouver by the city of Richmond, home to the Olympic speed skating oval. The comedian has been on a satirical tirade against Canada for weeks, accusing Canadian speed skaters of cheating by limiting Team U.S.A.’s training time. Colbert became a sponsor of the U.S.A. speed skating team after its previous sponsor, the Dutch bank DSB, went bankrupt. According to NPR, his viewers have so far donated over $300,000 to the team, which more than makes up for the sponsorship shortfall.
Asked by OutQ if he would like to send a message to his team to help lesbian and bi team members feel comfortable coming out, Colbert did his part to combat homophobia in sport.
His reply: “If you unburden yourself, you only skate faster.” You’ll be able to hear the clip on OutQ News, airing throughout Monday.
Out athlete Watch
Speaking of speed skaters, out lesbian speed skater Ireen Wust of The Netherlands skated again yesterday in the ladies 1000 meter competition. This time, she placed 8th.
Meanwhile, Johnny Weir, who is out as … well … as Johnny Weir, placed 6th yesterday in men’s figure skating.