Stephen Colbert’s appreciation for art inspired him to test the boundaries of TV censorship on Thursday’s “Late Show.”
The host was inspired to go on this quest by the recent news that great Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani’s “Reclining Nude” had sold for a record-breaking $US170 million.
“I’m not even sure I can show the painting, because Bloomberg television couldn’t,” he said before playing a clip from the news channel.
Colbert tried a few experiments to show the limits of what he can show on network TV. So, yes, CBS’s censor told the host that he couldn’t show the whole Modigliani.
“I have to blur both ‘hootie’ and the ‘blowfish,'” he joked. “To see the whole thing, you have to have $US170 million or the internet.” (Like this.)
He exposed other rules like he can’t show a close shot of the statue of David, but he can show a distant shot for no more than two seconds.
“Crazy! We’re all safe now,” he joked. “I just hope to God no one ever invents a way to pause television.”
Colbert then showed how context can bend the rules. He drew two breasts on a piece of paper and CBS blurred them. But when he drew a nose and mouth to make a face, they didn’t need to be censored. After all, they were just eyes then.
“And why is he so happy? Because his eyes are made of breasts,” Colbert said.
Watch the whole segment below:
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