In a ‘Knife News’ comedy bit which aired on Thursday, Stephen Colbert took aim at the modern day basis for carrying a switchblade and the people who chose to do so. The segment led in with a news report of Wisconsin’s recent signing of their new Knife Law Reform Bill. Colbert then sarcastically professed his support of the new law before opening an OTF and tossing the knife from one hand to the other. The act was reminiscent of Hollywood’s portrayal of knives used in 1950’s films like West Side Story. These Hollywood depictions were blamed for the introduction of the 1958 federal switchblade laws in the first place.
Unlike Wisconsin, in New York City (where the Late Show is filmed) possession of an OTF is still a crime.
Colbert is known for his caricature of a freedom loving Republican. The lampoons proved successful enough on Comedy Central for Colbert to secure a hosting job on a major network. But since taking over The Late Show’s duties from David Letterman, the show’s ratings have plummeted. Colbert’s Late Show has slipped to third place since debuting in September.
Entertainment experts say that the overtly political nature of the show has alienated half of the mainstream audience. A Hollywood Reporter survey taken in November indicates that self identifying Democrats are almost three times more likely to watch the show than Republicans and even they believe the Late Show is too one-sided.
While viewers are tuning out, Colbert maintains the public support of CBS and seems to be sticking to his vitriolic guns. In January, the network said “We just want Stephen to be Stephen,” insisting that they are not concerned about the poor ratings.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show continues to dominate the late night airwaves. Fallon recently confessed to breaking a tooth while trying to open a tube saying the incident happened because he didn’t have a knife.