Feb. 21, 2012 at 8:41 AM ET
Last night, Stephen Colbert made his triumphant return to hosting “The Colbert Report,” opening the show with a hilarious and heartfelt explanation of where he had been for the past few days.
He ran through all of the ridiculous Internet rumors and speculation surrounding his absence -- including one from outspoken E! personality Joan Rivers, who suggested he was off getting plastic surgery. He quickly shot down that one -- saying it wasn’t work on the eyes he was getting, it was a butt-lift. He was probably kidding.
It wasn’t the FCC cancelling his show, it wasn’t the Catholic church taking offense, and it certainly wasn’t because he was in rehab. There was no dwelling on details, but he did have this to say:
"Oh, one more thing. Evidently having 11 children makes you tough as nails," he said, adding: "Confidential to a lovely lady."
That almost certainly refers to Colbert's 91-year-old mother Lorna, who was rumored to be ill and had 11 children (she lost two and her husband to a 1974 plane crash). Colbert had already thanked fans on Twitter Friday night.
That bit of information dispatched, Colbert jumped right into talking about his favorite candidate -- Mitt Romney!
Romney and his biggest competition Rick Santorum are aggressively campaigning in Michigan, and the media aren’t really giving these guys a break. Specifically, Romney critics say the candidate changed his stance on Detroit’s government bailout now that the auto industry is doing well, adding fuel to those claims that he is a flip-flopper. Now he's praised the success of the bailout, saying he would do the same thing if he were president -- but back in 2008 Romney wrote a New York Times piece headlined "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."
"That’s a compliment!" Colbert said. "Have you seen Detroit? Bankrupt might be an improvement."
So, to save Romney from being completely out of touch with voters, the campaign is bringing out the big gun who Colbert calls a “candied-yam” (referring to his golden tan) -- Donald Trump. The Romney camp is sending Trump on radio interviews across the country, as a sort of surrogate for the candidate. Colbert came up with a plan to help Romney’s campaign -- he will volunteer to be Trump’s surrogate, complete with the candied-yam finish.
After that it was on to Santorum, and the criticism he made recently about President Obama’s faith and “phony theology.” Colbert makes a joke about Santorum’s awkward analogy – something about husbanding the Earth, and somehow the phrase “fracking her all night long” worked its way into the conversation.
Elsewhere on late night, Jon Stewart hammered at the recent hearings convened to discuss President Obama's plan to require religious institutions to provide contraception for all employees. When he noted that these same institutions already help single, unmarried men receive drugs like Viagra, he wondered "just what do you think they're doing" with the results of taking those pills? He then suggested everyone write in to "Rock Center's" Brian Williams with their thoughts, providing an address. "Seriously, we'd love to know," he said.
We'll get back to you once Brian Williams gives us an update on his mail situation.