This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor ," January 18, 2007.
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Thanks for staying with us, I'm Bill O'Reilly. In the Culture War segment tonight, "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central is a very successful program that owes everything to me. Each night host Stephen Colbert tries to convince Americans that he is me:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, COMEDY CENTRAL'S "THE COLBERT REPORT": This show is not about me. No, this program is dedicated to you, the heroes. And who are the heroes? The people who watch this show. Average hard working Americans. You're not the elites; you're not the country club crowd.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Now who does that remind you of? With us now is Stephen Colbert.
COLBERT: Bill, thank you for having me on. This is an amazing honor. I want you to know that I spend so much time in the world that is spinning all the time, that to be in the No Spin Zone actually gives me vertigo.
O'REILLY: OK. Are you ready for the interview?
COLBERT: I'm ready for anything. My life is an open book. I've been waiting my whole life for this, sir. I'm here at the heart of O'Reilly-dom right now. This is the holy of holies. Hit it. I'd love to be nailed.
O'REILLY: Colbert, that's a French name, is it not?
COLBERT: It's a French name, just to get the cultural elites on my side, Bill. I'm as Irish as you. I'm a Cormie, I'm an O'Neal. I'm a Tuck. I'm a Phee. I'm a Connolly.
O'REILLY: Because I talked to...
COLBERT: I could sit toe to toe at a potato table with anybody.
O'REILLY: I talked to your third grade teacher, Miss Crabtree. She said back then you were little Steve Coal-bert. Is that right?
COLBERT: In South Carolina, I was Steve Coal-bert.
O'REILLY: But you, once you got here to Manhattan from South Carolina, changed from little Steve Colbert to Stephen Colbert.
COLBERT: Bill, you know you've got to play the game that the media elites want you to do. OK? Some places you can draw the line. Some place you can't. You and I have taken a lot of positions against the powers that be, and we've paid a heavy price. We have TV shows, product lines and books. OK? It's not the price we pay.
O'REILLY: It is tough being me. Is it tough being you?
COLBERT: It's hard for me to be you. I'll tell you that much.
O'REILLY: It is? It is? Don't you owe me an enormous amount of money?
COLBERT: Well, if I were imitating you I would, Bill. But there's a difference between imitation and emulation. Let me tell you the difference. OK? If you imitate someone, you owe them a royalty check. If you emulate them, you don't. There's a big difference. Check your lawyer.
O'REILLY: I will. I will. Now what is it exactly that you do on your program?
COLBERT: What I do, Bill, is I catch the world in the headlights of my justice. OK?
O'REILLY: Your justice?
COLBERT: I shine my lights — OK — I shine my light no matter where that light takes me. OK? I'm not afraid of anything. Might be afraid of you. But other than that I'm not afraid of a thing in the world. Nothing. We, on my show, and by we I mean me, usually.
O'REILLY: Yes, it's just you. Right?
COLBERT: That's it.
COLBERT: Turn the cameras on. I go. All right? Nothing...
O'REILLY: No writers.
COLBERT: Nothing prepared. I improvise the show every night, just like you do, Bill. There's nothing in these prompters. You're making this up as you go.
O'REILLY: It's all me. It's all me. Now who watches you? What's your audience? Do you do research? Do you know who...
COLBERT: Well, Bill, that's one of the reasons I want to do my show. OK? I emulate you.
COLBERT: And I want to bring your message of love and peace, which I understand that is your message.
O'REILLY: It is.
COLBERT: I want to bring the message of love and peace to a younger audience. People in their 60s, people in their 50s, people who don't watch your show.
O'REILLY: OK, so people in the 50s and 60s, too young for "The Factor" are watching your show.
O'REILLY: Because we did a study of Jon Stewart's show.
COLBERT: Yes. That guy?
O'REILLY: And it was stoned slackers that were watching his show.
COLBERT: Absolutely. You have to be high to understand Jon Stewart. That guy is pinker than an Indian River grapefruit.
O'REILLY: How does Stewart handle the fact that you are now more famous and successful than he is?
COLBERT: I don't know. We don't talk.
COLBERT: We don't talk at all.
O'REILLY: Does that drive him to smoke more substance, now that you have overtaken him?
COLBERT: It might. It might. He was high most of the time I worked there. But I had to leave, Bill.
COLBERT: I didn't want to do my own show. I loved "The Daily Show". I loved the people who work there. I had to get out for me.
O'REILLY: You — you emulating me, you were outraged by the conduct of Stewart and his mignons, were you not?
COLBERT: Absolutely. Here's what I love about you, Bill. OK? You give. OK?
O'REILLY: I am a giver.
COLBERT: You give and give.
COLBERT: I do my show half-hour — this is why I could never even hope to be you. I do my show half-hour a night four nights a week. I haven't seen my kids in 18 months, and I am losing calcium in my bones. Doctors say I should stop. I'm not going to. OK?
You go five nights a week, an hour.
O'REILLY: An hour.
COLBERT: Plus "The Radio Factor", Bill. What are you on? What gives you the strength? Jesus Christ or Pat Robertson's protein shakes?
O'REILLY: I'm motivated by the fact that you need material, that the more I'm on, the more successful you will be.
COLBERT: Could I just get a feed from your show into my ear?
O'REILLY: I don't know. We have some kind of buzz thing.
Now look, I just want to tell the audience that every left-wing critic in the country loves you. There are no right-wing critics.
COLBERT: I don't read them, Bill. I don't read them.
O'REILLY: But every left-wing critic loves you. Why? Is it because you're French? Is that why?
COLBERT: That must be it, Bill. I'm using that to pull the wool over their eyes. So they — see, that's the sugar that puts my medicine into the system.
O'REILLY: You must be doing something. You must be doing something.
COLBERT: I'm doing you, Bill.
O'REILLY: They hate me. The New York Times hates me, but they love you.
COLBERT: It's the New York Times, Bill.
O'REILLY: That's the difference?
COLBERT: They hate George Bush. Of course they're going hate you. They're haters, Bill.
O'REILLY: They are. They're scum. I have a sheet here that says you dislike and you are afraid of bears and owls. Is that true?
COLBERT: I am afraid of bears. I think owls are a waste of time.
O'REILLY: OK. You don't think about owls?
COLBERT: No, I don't.
O'REILLY: They're in the Jon Stewart category.
COLBERT: They are, absolutely.
O'REILLY: Right. You won't have anything to do with owls.
O'REILLY: But you do fear bears?
COLBERT: I do fear bears.
O'REILLY: OK. The other thing is...
COLBERT: They're giant, marauding, godless killing machines.
O'REILLY: There's one right there.
COLBERT: Right there. That's not a real bear, right?
O'REILLY: No. That's the editor of the New York Times.
OK. Now, your middle name is Tyrone.
COLBERT: It is.
O'REILLY: How could that possibly happen?
COLBERT: Because I'm Irish, Bill. Have you ever been — have you ever been...
O'REILLY: There isn't one Irish named Colbert.
COLBERT: Have you ever been — have you ever been — Colbert. Com (ph) Colbert of the east rebellion
O'REILLY: Now you're Colbert again.
COLBERT: I thought you had good researchers.
O'REILLY: Who are you? Are you Coal-bert or Colbert?
COLBERT: Bill, I'm whoever you want me to be. Coal-bert. I'm at the foot of the mat here.
O'REILLY: All right. I don't want you to be a French guy.
COLBERT: Make me a spaniel. That's OK, Bill.
O'REILLY: You want to be Irish you can be Irish. I don't want you being a French guy.
COLBERT: You know what? You know what I hate about people who criticize you? They — they criticize what you say but they never give you credit for how loud you say it.
O'REILLY: That's true.
COLBERT: Or how long you say it.
O'REILLY: As loud as I am. I'm giving you the last word. Is that a wise thing to do?
COLBERT: I'd give it to me.
O'REILLY: Yes. What is the last word?
COLBERT: I want to thank you for not asking me about that thing that we pre-agreed you wouldn't ask me about.
O'REILLY: OK. The kid — the thing that happened.
COLBERT: Yes, that thing. OK?
O'REILLY: That's the kind of guy I am. A sensitive, kind guy. I'll be on your program tonight. Right? Watch it: 4:30 in the morning, that's when you guys are on?
COLBERT: Yes, that's Pacific Time. Looking forward to that.
O'REILLY: Stephen Colbert everybody.
COLBERT: Thank you, Bill.
O'REILLY: Owes his whole life to me, and I'm happy to give it up for him.
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