Stephen Colbert brings The Report to Vancouver during the Olympics. I see a podium finish for him in the sports of autograph signing & public relations.
**ORIGINALLY POSTED IN MY NOW DEFUNCT OLYMPICS BLOG ON FEBRUARY 26, 2010**
Last week, talk show/comedian host Stephen Colbert brought his incredibly popular show, "The Colbert Report" to Vancouver, BC during the 2010 Winter Olympics.
His shows were set up after a minor scuffle broke out between Colbert, and the people of BC over his reference to Canadians as "syrup suckers" & "ice holes" on his program when he was trashing us for not letting the U.S. Speed Skating team (which Colbert is a major sponsor of, with the help of his fans known as "Colbert Nation" thru a donation campaign) have ample time to practice on the new Richmond Oval rink prior to the Olympics.
Stephen set up an impromptu stage in the middle of Creekside Park, just off to the side of Science World (currently Sochi World for the Olympics) & did segments for several shows (airing this week in Canada on CTV & The Comedy Network. As well in the U.S. on Comedy Central) infront of an often rabid audience of 4 to 6 thousand fans & onlookers.
I of course am a huge fan of his show, unfortunately I saw very little of the performances because it did directly interfere with my work. I did catch a few minutes at the end of his first day & listened to most of his 2nd day opening. But for the first part, the episodes airing this week are all but a mystery to me since I didnt really get to see them, but I certainly did hound them.
The first day Mr. Colbert showed up at about 10:15 AM, being driven in a tinted out minivan. Security drove him up as close to the walkway they had constructed as they could. Still being 50 or so feet away, Colbert had to walk thru a swarm of fans, overzealous security & of course 5-8 autograph hounds. Not once did Stephen seem bothered by the near mob like situation, happily signing & walking, signing some more, walking some more. He was clearly a class act. Once inside he stayed in a tented off area to rehearse his lines & then came out to do his shows. Next time I would see him would be after the show when I returned looking for more.
After the show he was hurried thru by the security, but did sign 2 autographs along the rail of the pathway they had created. Both were for hounds, 1 of them being for me. I was pleased with my opening day totals of 3.
Next day I returned with fresh new photos from the day before performance. I was pretty hopeful to strike Colbert hounding Gold again. But this time he didnt sign before his show. Instead hurrying right in & going to his tent. He then went to the stage & did his opening performance. When he came off in between performances, I noticed the wooden plank type set up they had constructed behind the stage so that he didnt have to walk in the swamp like mosh pit the park had become. It mainly was a few feet away from the fence, except right in the corner I was in, where it bottlenecked. So I had hope I might get his attention coming back. Sure enough, he walked out of the tent to go do his next bit, I asked him to sign, and he did it without hesitation, then hurried off to the stage.
A little later he did the same thing, going to his tent & upon his return came right back to the spot where I was standing. Now more people were eager to try & get an autograph from him. The attention getter of the group, a fan who asked Stephen to sign an actual baby. Stephen smiled & replied in partial laughter "I cant sign a baby" as he chuckled for a second or two afterwards to the suggestion. He willingly did signin 3-4 autographs for the people there, including me again, then proceeded to do his show.
After his show was over, he did a massive impromptu autograph session all the way around the stage side, along the back & out the walk way. I got 2 more in this massive scrum. I was pretty pleased with the final numbers, 7 Colbert autographs over 2 days.
Stephen Colbert will certainly be a medalist at the 2010 Winter Olympics, in the sports of autograph signing & good public relations.