Colbert heads downrange, maybe New Mexico
March 18, 2009
ARLINGTON, Va. — Stephen Colbert is OPSEC.
The host of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” said he is headed to the Persian Gulf to entertain U.S. troops, but he repeatedly declined to give further details.
“I’m not supposed to tell anyone where I’m going, but just say it’s sandy and they’d like us to leave,” Colbert told Stars and Stripes on Tuesday.
Who told him this?
“A man met me on a park bench, said ‘look straight ahead,’ and dropped a sack lunch next to me,” he said. “I picked it up. I assume it’s full of cash, I haven’t looked at it yet.”
Colbert would only say he will do a week of shows somewhere in the Persian Gulf from “a place that is packed with troops.”
“I’m not going there to change the world; I’m going to make jokes for the 140,000 people who are still there,” Colbert said.
Despite using the number of U.S. troops in Iraq to describe the purpose of this trip, Colbert would not confirm that he is actually going there.
“I’m hoping they’re just going to blindfold me, fly the plane around in the air for 12 hours and drop me in New Mexico and tell me it’s the Persian Gulf, because I wouldn’t know the difference,” he said.
Colbert said he is headed downrange at the invitation of Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command.
Expect the same type of biting humor about current events that you see on his show every night, he said.
“We’ll have interviews with world leaders, hopefully, world and military leaders, and then of course I want to talk to the men and women on the ground,” Colbert said.
He joked that his trip is an attempt to outdo Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s “Daily Show.”
“It’s purely out of his competition of his [Jim] Cramer interview,” Colbert said. “I actually had to go to war zone just to do something more impressive than hammering CNBC.”
In all seriousness, Colbert said he is honored to have been asked to entertain U.S. troops.
“When you get asked to do this, I think you’d be a fool to say no,” Colbert said, notes that he has a flag from the 82nd Airborne Division given to him by a wounded soldier who attended his show.
Colbert said he is “particularly happy” to perform for U.S. troops now that the media has stopped covering them for the most part to focus on the economic crisis.
“Those men and women are sacrificing as much as they ever have; they’re away from their families, their families are losing homes back here, their families are losing jobs back here, and, you know, we’re in a time of change, not much has changed for them yet.”
One thing is clear: He needs to brush up on his military jargon.
When asked if would venture outside the wire, he replied: “Are you kidding? Look at me. Of course I’m going outside the wire. What’s that mean?”