With the onset of what he called "Fiscal Cliffmas" season upon us, Stephen Colbert advised his audience on Tuesday to settle in for the long haul.
"I don't want to talk about the 'Fiscal Cliff,' and you don't want to hear about it," he conceded. "But for the next 20 days, all pundits are contractually obligated to talk budgetary policy."
Not only that, he said, but the viewers were obligated to listen.
"Check your cable contract," he explained. "It's right below the part where Comcast gets your kidneys. They'll be there to pick them up tomorrow between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Wear something loose."
Of course, the relatively exciting name didn't mean the actual debate would be that exciting, as Colbert learned when a series of clips detailing the numbers (President Barack Obama's call for $1.6 trillion in new revenue and Republican opposition to that idea) put the host right out.
"I'm up, I'm up," he insisted after a brief nap. "Is it over?"
Actually, Colbert said, it's just beginning, since the stalemate between the GOP and the president over increasing tax rates for the rich could signal a rash of spending cuts on Jan. 1 that both sides say will threaten the economy. In response, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) challenged Obama to identify where he wants to cut spending in the federal budget, a move that, while being criticized by others, Colbert saw as a chance for some fun.
"It makes the budget into a giant Mad Lib," he offered. "For instance, 'We agree to cut ten bazillion from the program to give ukeleles to the sticky poor. Toilet boobs!'"
Watch Colbert come to grips with having to discuss the "fiscal cliff," as aired Tuesday on Comedy Central, below.