Stephen Colbert’s tongue-in-cheek video take on Daft Punk’s hit song “Get Lucky” has become an Internet hit.
The comedian and host of “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central debuted the video Aug. 6 on his show, explaining that the electronic pop duo had cancelled their guest appearance at the last minute because of a contractual agreement to perform only on MTV leading up to the network’s Video Music Awards.
Colbert’s video, a dance extravaganza that featured appearances by star power such as Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, Bryan Cranston, the Rockettes and even U.S. statesman Henry Kissinger, was an immediate hit, but its smooth production and high-wattage star appearances led to speculation that the video was nothing more than an elaborate publicity stunt for the duo’s performance on the VMA’s, particularly because MTV and Comedy Central are owned by the same corporation (Viacom).
In a podcast interview with comedian Paul Mecurio, Colbert debunked that theory.
He explained that his show had been in weeks of negotiations with Daft Punk, whose members perform on stage in robot costumes and rarely do interviews.
His show and Daft Punk were going back and forth for weeks about the exact nature of their appearance. Daft Punk agreed to the show but said they would not speak or perform their hit song. Colbert told Mecurio that he respected the group’s artistic parameters and found himself intrigued by the creative challenge of having them on the show.
As part of that challenge, he got the idea to create a video of “Get Lucky,” which he would then play for Daft Punk during their appearance as a way to entice them to break down and perform their song, he said. The show started production on the video, and the first star they recorded for it was actor Jeff Bridges.
Then, the day before the duo was scheduled to perform, questions were raised about whether Daft Punk’s upcoming appearance on the VMAs would mean they couldn’t perform on the show. Colbert said he was “confident” it would be worked out.
It wasn’t. The next day, just hours before the show, he learned they wouldn’t be coming on.
“I really was, like, kind of gob-smacked …,” he said.
The show’s musical guest was Robin Thicke, who performed his hit “Blurred Lines.” Thicke had agreed to sing back when Daft Punk had said they would show up but not perform, Colbert said.
At that point, confident that he had guests and a musical artist, Colbert told Mecurio that he had considered pulling the plug on the “Get Lucky” video but one thing changed his mind: “They said, ‘Well, Henry Kissinger said yes.’”
They made the video, aired it and it went viral.
“I found the whole thing joyful,” Colbert said. “It was exhausting to have to do in a day but I remember we all said, ‘Yippee. Look at what we get to do!’”