Colbert Report viewers were promised an appearance by Daft Punk, performing their smash hit "Get Lucky," on the annual StePhest Colbchella last night. What they got instead was arguably better as an embittered Colbert heaped scorn on MTV and the network's president, Van Toffler, for axing the appearance because an exclusivity agreement with MTV. Daft Punk, it turns out, are slated to make a surprise appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 25. Thanks to Colbert's tirade, this is no longer a surprise.
"We booked click-'n-clack over here about a month ago, but you see, there was a problem," Colbert explained, seated next to a post-it announcing "Special Guest Stephen Colbert!" "The head of MTV, Van Toffler, is saying MTV was promised exclusive rights to any television appearances by Daft Punk leading up to the VMAs. Daft Punk says—nothing, because they don't talk. But their handlers say they never promised MTV anything."
Saying he only learned of the conflict on Monday, Colbert went on to ridicule the synergistic drama—Comedy Central and MTV are both owned by Viacom—for five solid minutes wherein he revealed his dashed plans for compromise ("I thought we could have a ménage à show and maybe they could do us both"), pointed out a stodgy set of Hyundai executives glaring from the front ("I promised them the song of the summer!"), and tore apart the inscrutable corporate logic behind MTV's terms ("That's how music works—you love a band, you see them once, then never want to see them again").
The host also shared an email from Van Toffler "that I don't really have permission to read on the air, so let's read it":
Left with "a crushing disappointment brought to you by Hyundai," the visibly angered Colbert got the last laugh after plugging a satirized VMA lineup, dancing to "Get Lucky" without the French duo, and ushering out Robin Thicke and his dancers to perform that other song-of-the-summer-featuring-Pharrell, "Blurred Lines." By turns hilarious and infuriating, it's the sort of memorably unfiltered episode that makes you wonder how Colbert ever has the patience for the machine of television bureaucracy in the first place.