by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
*SPOILER ALERT — UPCOMING EPISODE OF THE COLBERT REPORT*
Laughter is the best medicine and on my lifelong quest to beat stress, I took advantage of an open invitation to participate in a live taping of the comedy tv show, the Colbert Report, during the Vancouver 2010 Winter (more like Spring) Olympic Games.
Add a song to a laugh and you’ve got a recipe for a golden day.
I’m so glad I went even though I was in pretty rough shape from the night before. I had spent the evening with some Ukrainian musicians and we sang and talked and I drank way too much red wine. Still I persevered the next morning and after a bus ride and a walk in the park in uncomfortable shoes, I was thrilled when I learned the special guest on the show was Michael Buble.
Michael Buble is one of my faves. When I first heard his new song, “I just haven’t met you yet,” I thought he was talking to me. I still haven’t met him yet but I got closer.
The taping was supposed to start at 9:15 am and I got to Creekside Park next to the Telus World of Science, the temporary home of the Sochi House, just before 8:00. It was a beautiful blue-skied sunny morning. There were already what seemed like thousands of people there by then — some had even camped overnight.
In true Canadian fashion, we lined up along the cement bike path to get into the park. We’re so polite and well-behaved. But that step was unnecessary. Who lines up to get into an open space? Eventually and all of a sudden, the line broke and everybody ran up the muddy hill to get as close to the stage as possible. Refusing to stand for hours on muddy grass, I ended up right behind the speakers on cement.
As we were listening to the sound checks, an eagle glided by. That was poetry in motion if you ask me because I think it was Stephen Jr. saying hello to his old friend. The message, unfortunately, went over Mr. Colbert’s head but the audience noticed and cheered.
My first spot was a good spot but my patience and the chill in the air got the better of me and I had to go to MacDonald’s to grab a cup of tea. When I came back a half hour later, I still managed to stay on the bike path but was much farther away from the stage and couldn’t see squat. All of these heads were in my way. I had to take my photos blindly and in spite of that, I still managed to get some good shots.
The actual taping didn’t start until well after 10:15 am. Even though I couldn’t see anything, I still enjoyed being part of the audience. We opened the show by singing O Canada, an Olympic moment for sure. It took Mr. Colbert three or four tries to deliver the opening jokes of the show and for one of the takes, he “borrowed” an Olympic torch from somebody in the audience and threatened to not give it back. I love behind-the-scenes stuff. Someone from the audience yelled out “We love you, Stephen” and he said, “I love me too.”
I like how Stephen Colbert pronounces his last name the French way (unlike Ellen Degeneres who in my opinion pronounces her name incorrectly) and I think he secretly wants to be Canadian.
Instead of doing his regular bit, “Better know a District,” he Canadianized it to “Better know a Riding” and interviewed Ujjal Dosanjh, MP for Vancouver South via satellite. Although the interview started off light and breezy, I think Mr. Colbert pushed it a bit too far and the interview will be severely edited for broadcast. But pushing buttons is part of his job, so we’ll see.
Finally Michael Buble (another guy who pronounces his name the French way) came on stage but he wasn’t formally introduced to us and the interview didn’t start for quite a few minutes because Stephen Colbert wasn’t there. Michael Buble just sat there on his chair twiddling his thumbs. I guess he started feeling a bit silly up there in the fake living room, all eyes on him, so like the true showman he is, he sang, “Good ol’ hockey game.” And we sang along. And now I can say I’ve sung with my favourite crooner.
Stephen asked Michael, “Why does the United States need Canada?” and off the cuff he answered, “You need our flag to stick on your suitcase when you travel.” Good one, Michael.
The interview ended with a song. For all of you improvisers out there, this is a great exercise. Stephen challenged Michael Olympic style to sing a duet with him. He said, “Let’s sing O Canada to the Star Spangled Banner tune.” Can it be done? As Stephen said, “This has never been attempted before” and sure enough, with the help of the lyrics on cue cards, they made it work. Fun, fun, fun. I think they should each get gold medals for their impromptu performance.
I have no idea when this episode will air on the Canadian Comedy Network or what happened on the show after that because I had to leave to catch my ferry back home. I’m so happy I went and I have a new appreciation for the city of Vancouver.