If President Trump is looking for a celebrity to host the White House Correspondents Dinner, Stephen Colbert is available.
On Saturday, the late-night host was at a 1980s dance party fundraiser benefiting the upcoming Montclair Film Festival. Colbert, a Montclair resident, has long been a booster of the event, which is going into its sixth year in April.
Before he went onstage to perform Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime,” Colbert reminisced about taking the Correspondents’ Dinner to a whole new level back in 2006 when he skewered then-President George W. Bush.
“Everyone who wasn’t in that room loved (the speech),” he quipped. But despite the heated controversy the speech sparked, Colbert said “it would be an honor” to headline this year. “I’d love to do it (again). I mean, when else are you going to stand next to the President and make jokes? But no one will ever ask again.”
While Trump’s first two weeks in office have produced a wealth of material for Colbert’s “The Late Show,” it hasn’t exactly been an easy 14 days.
“The speed at which the news changes with President Trump is extraordinary,” Colbert said. “We tape the show at 5:30 p.m., but sometimes we have to change the show at 5 p.m. — after rehearsal, when everything is done — we are writing a whole new first act based around something that he has said or done in the last half hour. The balls are coming over the plate so fast with him and I think that’s intentional. They (the Trump administration) want their actions to be almost un-discussable. They want to swamp the real media.”
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At the event, Colbert was joined by his wife, Evelyn Colbert, who serves as board president of the Montclair Film Festival.
“The hardest part is raising money,” Evelyn Colbert said. “People think they bought a ticket (to a film) so why do you want more money? But what they don’t realize is that we do a lot more than the programming of the festival. We have a whole educational program component.”
As for this year’s fest, MFF executive director Tom Hall said that Netflix and Amazon’s spending spree at Sundance has changed the way he programmed this year’s festival due to the streaming sites’ lack of interest in the festival circuit post-Sundance.
“We don’t want to re-program Sundance,” Hall said. “But for film festivals in general, it’s going to be a real sea change.”