It’s safe to say Stephen Colbert isn’t too concerned about his job security.
After the hashtag #FireColbert reached trending levels of popularity on social media earlier this week, “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” posted its best overnight ratings since the show’s 2015 premiere week on Thursday night.
Days before, the late-night host told an off-color joke about President Donald Trump being Vladimir Putin’s “cock holster,” which many deemed to be homophobic. The crack sparked the hashtag #FireColbert, which was quickly co-opted by conservative types, who were less concerned with the joke’s problematic implications and instead rallied to get Colbert fired for his anti-Trump views.
It turns out that the backlash only made him stronger. The show scored a 2.5 rating, according to CBS, easily outpacing its late-night competition, NBC’s “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” which topped out the night with a 1.9 rating. The margin between the two shows was the largest to date. The episode was also up 19 percent from the previous Thursday and a whopping 32 percent from the same night a year ago.
On Wednesday, Colbert took the opportunity to address the response to his Trump joke but refused to walk back his statement, aside from admitting that he would “change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be.”
“If you saw my monologue Monday, you know that I was a little upset with Donald Trump for insulting a friend of mine,” Colbert told the audience. “So, at the end of that monologue, I had a few choice insults for the president in return. I don’t regret that. I believe he can take care of himself. I have jokes, he has the launch codes so it’s a fair fight.”