Watch The Genius Way Stephen Colbert Trolled CBS Censors

Even though network television has, on occasion, been known to show off a little bit of nudity – usually when Steven Bochco’s name is behind the show – it’s not like any of the Big 4 are waving genitalia around willy nilly. In fact, even nudity in art can’t be shown in full, and Late Night host Stephen Colbert decided to test the censors at CBS in a culturally salacious way. Check it out!

That was about as glorious as it gets, and it’s probably the most art that some portions of late night audiences have seen in years. (I may or may not be included in that bunch.) Colbert is a master at toeing whatever line he happens to be standing in front of, and though he isn’t actually doing anything majorly offensive, it’s still a revealing look at what counts for objectionable material for some broadcast networks. I mean, it’s not like the show is live, so even if he’d have done something completely awful, it just would have been removed before the show aired. Wait, what if that actually happened?

As far as I can tell, it’s frowned upon to show realistic breasts and vaginas, or even pubic hair, but CBS is okay with having Picasso’s cubist version of naked women shown. I wonder if Nu Couché could have been shown in its natural state had it been set in the back of a frame or something, the way that Michelangelo’s David can be shown. It seems like there’s a hashtag revolution just ready to happen over the fact that a penis can be viewed in some form, but not a vagina. Speaking of…


The weirdest part about any of this is that CBS won’t allow visuals of two drawn circles with dots in the middle. Circles and dots, people. Circles and dots. But, as he says, it’s perfectly fine for CBS crime procedurals to show audiences a bunch of dead bodies on a nightly basis. So long as they’re clothed, of course.

One might have thought that this country would have matured to the point where nudity would be treasured more than violence and corpses, but it’s like Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl boob-cident set us back a few hundred years, to the point where everyone goes berserk over what Miley Cyrus’ wardrobe might be any time she’s on TV. Until this matter gets fully settled – which will likely be “never” – at least we have Stephen Colbert to make us laugh about it.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.