SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – When comedian Stephen Colbert was named to replace Late Night host David Letterman Thursday, it likely marked the end of him singling out San Francisco as a target of his faux conservative derision.
The relationship between the Colbert Report’s host and the city by the bay got off to a shaky start in his second full season when he did a segment titled “Was it really that bad? The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.”
“Come on, San Francisco is still there…with its pea soup fog and its infuriatingly unapologetic homosexuals,” he said in the 2006 segment marking the centennial of the great quake. “We now know it was cause by an extremely powerful drum circle.”
A year later he would take shots at Barry Bonds as he was chasing the all time home run record, likening him to the hulk. He has also ribbed various SF celebrities during interview segments including Craigslist’s Craig Newmark, former San Francisco Chronicle editor Phil Bronstein and former Mayor Gavin Newsom, who was promoting his book on the virtues of technology to “level the playingfield” for society.
“Is there a bull sh** translator in here?” Colbert asked Newsom, leafing through the book. “Every single one of [your statements] could be carved in stone and put in someone’s garden as a mantra, but I don’t know what any of it means.”
He also accused Newsom and other San Francisco Democrats being the “big government people.”
His most tortured San Francisco relationship as Report host was with Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who he welcomed to the “house of horrors” when she became speaker in 2006:
She soon vowed never to appear on the show and predicted failure for Colbert’s campaign to interview all sitting members of congress.
“I wouldn’t recommend that anyone go on the show,” the then-speaker advised her colleagues at a press conference in 2006. At the time, going on the show was considered a risky move, but it has since been credited with a phenomena known as the “Colbert Bump.”
Pelosi even reaffirmed her ban on the show when tracked down on camera by Colbert, but eventually relented and sat down as a guest in 2012:
“You said you’d never come on here. Do you often break your promises?” Colbert asked to open the interview.
In his “Better Know a District” segment, which profiles congressional contingencies, Colbert familiarized his audience with Pelosi’s hometown.
In 1906 the 8th (congressional district) was struck by an earthquake that leveled San Francisco and marked the last time anyone could afford to live there without six roommates,” Colbert said during the same 2012 show. Some of his material – like his various theories on how Rice-a-Roni was created – could carry over to his new show, but without his ultra conservative schtick, San Francisco and the Bay Area in general will probably get a lot less attention from the late night host, unless we can convince him to host the show from here.