Back in August, French electro-duo Daft Punk bailed last minute on a scheduled Colbert Report performance, citing a contractual obligation to MTV. But instead of scrambling like a headless chicken for a replacement act, Stephen Colbert jumped and danced for joy, literally. He and his writing team took the booking snafu as an opportunity to create an ecstatic music video set to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” which featured a beaming Colbert dancing with various celebs (Bryan Cranston, Jeff Bridges, Hugh Laurie and others), crashing three other shows (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, America’s Got Talent and Charlie Rose), and shocking exactly one political dignitary (Henry Kissinger).
“The universe conspired for us to have a show that seemed highly planned, but it was actually a series of extremely happy accidents,” Colbert says. Though the cancellation was a producer’s nightmare, he loved the challenge of figuring out how to fill Daft Punk’s place: “You do 1,300 shows, and anything different is like a holiday.” EW spoke with Stephen Colbert (decidedly out of character) about the logistical hurdle of filming guests in both New York and Washington D.C., as well as how The Big Lebowski and Michael Jackson served as inspiration. As for his thoughts on Daft Punk’s VMA performance? Colbert still hasn’t seen it. “I never watch the VMAs. I think I was probably helping my kids with their homework,” the comedian said. “I got nothing against the Daft Punkers, and they wrote me and said they really liked [the video], and I hope they did. I’d love to have them on.”
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As told by: Stephen Colbert
The video itself came about starting three weeks before the show. We had already booked Daft Punk to come on the show, and we were pretty excited because they don’t do TV and they don’t talk. We thought “Oh great, they’ll come on and talk into a [fog] and this’ll be a real coup.” And then they said, “Well, they don’t wanna talk.” So I said, “Oh I can get around them not talking. We can figure out something.” And then the next week they called and said, “Oh, and they also don’t wanna do the song.” [Laughs]