As Stephen Colbert responded to the Notre-Dame fire on Tuesday night, he did something a little unusual: the lifelong Catholic directed his audience to look up at the Ed Sullivan Theaters domed ceiling. “I was shocked and horrified to watch the fire yesterday at the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris,” Colbert said. “It was hard to watch such a beautiful piece of civilization go up in flames.” But although the roof and spire of the building were destroyed by the flames, Colbert noted, the rest of the cathedral survived—including its gorgeous stained-glass rose window, which The Late Show reproduced on its own ceiling “in honor of our friends in Paris and around the world just heart-stricken by this,” Colbert said. (When Colbert took over The Late Show, one of the renovations he made was to reveal the theaters dome ceiling, using digital projection to place images onto it.)
Although The Late Show released a new episode on Monday, when the fire ravaged the church, that episode was pre-taped, as Colbert noted in his opening monologue. (On Monday, Colbert was in London interviewing Michelle Obama.) The comedian praised Frances vow to rebuild the cathedral, and French moguls donations of over $700 million toward that effort. After a while, though, Colberts focus shifted to Donald Trump, who couldnt help but offer some unsolicited advice to France as the fire raged.
“So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris,” the president tweeted Monday. “Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!”
“Does he think every time theres an emergency in France theyre like, Claude, the cathedral is on fire! We must check Donald Trumps Twitter feed! What is going on?!” Colbert marveled. . . . “Why did we not think of water; weve been using cheese!”
The French, for the record, do not appear to need Colberts help in ridiculing Trump for his remarks. Hours after the presidents tweet, Frances civil security and crisis management Twitter account appeared to subtweet the president, writing—in English, a break from the accounts typical use of French—“Hundreds of firemen of the Paris Fire Brigade are doing everything they can to bring the terrible #NotreDame fire under control. All means are being used, except for water-bombing aircrafts which, if used, could lead to the collapse of the entire structure of the cathedral.”
As Colbert put it, “For firefighters, they really know how to give a sick burn.”
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