Back to IndieWire

‘Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ Staffers Arrested at Capitol While Filming Sketch

It is unknown when the seven were released, though it's presumed they were let go that same evening. 

Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert


With the hearings from the January 6th Committee in full swing, it’s a fairly contentious time in Washington D.C., to say the least. But networks are still trying to find a way to put their stamp on what’s going on, including late night news shows. Unfortunately, for the staff of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” an attempt at humor ended with arrests.

It was announced last night that seven people from Colbert’s show, including veteran comic writer Robert Smigel, were arrested by Capitol Police on June 16 while filming a sketch involving Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. The show was authorized to shoot in Congress but were detained after they were found “unescorted and without Congressional ID, in a sixth-floor hallway,” according to Capitol Police in a prepared statement.

The statement went on to say, “The building was closed to visitors, and these individuals were determined to be a part of a group that had been directed by the USCP to leave the building earlier in the day. They were charged with Unlawful Entry. This is an active criminal investigation, and may result in additional criminal charges after consultation with the U.S. Attorney.” It is unknown when the seven were released though it’s presumed they were let go that same evening.

CBS responded with their own statement that appeared to downplay the severity of events. “On Wednesday, June 15 and Thursday, June 16, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog was on-site at the Capitol with a production team to record interviews for a comedy segment on behalf of ‘The Late Show.’ Their interviews at the Capitol were authorized and pre-arranged through Congressional aides of the members interviewed. After leaving the members’ offices on their last interview of the day, the production team stayed to film stand-ups and other final comedy elements in the halls when they were detained by Capitol Police.”

This isn’t the first time Colbert’s series has found itself at the center of controversy. Back in 2017, Colbert responded to #FireColbert, a social media movement asking for CBS to fire him following a series on insults against Donald Trump, which some people considered homophobic.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox