Five shows a week requires Stephen Colbert and his team to constantly come up with new ideas for sketches. As with any brainstorm session, not every concept makes the cut. Colbert revealed on his Wednesday show that the writers’ room comes up with several ideas that even make it as far as prop acquisition before getting axed at the last minute, for whatever reason. The host even brought out the show’s supervising producer, Liz Levin, to go over some of their unused props.
First up was the adult-sized tricycle Colbert had wanted to use for a Shining reference, but never went through it. A bummer since Colbert also had an Apollo rocket sweater like Danny in that movie, but he said making blood pour out through the office doors would’ve been too expensive.
Ernest Hemingway once famously wrote an entire story in six words: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Now Colbert can give that a run for its money with “Human-corn hybrid costume, never used.” Colbert had planned to interview a genetically modified human-corn creation about the Iowa caucus, only to have his interviewee repeat over and over again, “Please kill me.”
There were also giant action figure boxes, meant for Harrison Ford and J.J. Abrams. The problem with this idea was it turned out not to be complicated enough for Colbert.
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“The day before we were gonna shoot with Harrison Ford and J.J. Abrams, you actually came up with a more complicated concept,” Levin said. “It had six different camera setups and four wardrobe changes, one of which included you carrying Harrison Ford around on your back like a tauntaun.”
The show did indeed make a blue-screen suit for Colbert to wear, so he could later be digitally replaced by a more tauntaun-looking figure. These were fun reminisces, but Colbert still needed to find a way to justify the props’ purchase. His solution? Unused prop theater!
In order to integrate all these unused props into a segment, Colbert chose an American pilgrim setting. The two giant toy boxes became a stand-in for Plymouth Rock, while an actor dressed in the blue-screen suit played Pocahontas meeting the human/corn hybrid (“Or as you may call me, ‘maize’ “). The two were quickly showered with roses and applause for their performance.
“I hope you enjoyed that,” Colbert said, “because CBS is gonna show it every Thanksgiving for the next 30 years.”
Watch the clip below.