Brow Beat

Watch Stephen Colbert Troll the Censors by Demonstrating What You Can and Can’t Show on CBS

It’s no secret that TV censors can be arbitrary, bewildering, and sometimes downright goofy. But on Thursday’s Late Show, Stephen Colbert demonstrated just how bizarre—and specific—some of these policies can be. As he discussed the recent sale of Modigliani’s “Nu Couché” (“Reclining Nude”), Colbert noted that several networks, CBS included, won’t display the painting without blurring out, as Colbert put it, “both Hootie and the Blowfish.”

From there, Colbert launched into an exhaustive breakdown of CBS’s censorship policies, which range from puzzling to painstakingly absurd—as with their rule on Michelangelo’s statue of David, which he says allows them to show “only a distant picture of the David for a total of two seconds.” Of course, Colbert took full advantage.

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