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Here’s a brief recap for anyone who missed Stephen Colbert’s Very Special two-part interview with children’s book author Maurice Sendak:

“Maurice Sendak, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ Author, Calls Newt Gingrich An Idiot” —The Huffington Post
“Author blasts the GOP presidential contender as ‘gross and vile’” —The Hollywood Reporter
“Maurice Sendak Does Not Care for Newt” —The Atlantic Wire
“Stephen Colbert Huffs Marker Fumes with Maurice Sendak” —Comedy Central Insider

It’s a small sample (and technically they’re referring to different parts of the interview) but Comedy Central’s headline clearly trumps the others. It hits the facts, but doesn’t squelch your curiosity. (Points to The Atlantic for restraint.)

Note that CC did NOT go with: “Maurice Sendak is ‘in favor’ of kids’ getting their faces bitten off!” Interesting choice, because that is also an intriguing headline, and, in typical Colbert fashion, there was a logical progression that would have made it (sort of) true.

COLBERT, after getting Sendak’s take on Green Eggs and Ham (good), and Give a Mouse a Cookie (bad) : “Curious George?”
SENDAK: “Great.”

COLBERT: “Curious George, OK. Now, I don’t believe in monkeys in the house either.”
SENDAK: “You don’t like it?”

COLBERT: “No, no. They throw their feces. They’ll bite your jaw off. The monkey will bite your face off.
SENDAK: “He wouldn’t have done that…”

COLBERT: “No. No, but he could have at any moment.”
SENDAK: (laughs)

COLBERT: “OK. So have I changed your mind on Curious George?”

COLBERT: (jotting in notebook) “So you’re in favor of children getting their faces bitten off.”

Sendak took it like a champ. In fact, if you take away his remarks on children, adults, the current state of children’s book publishing, and Newt Gingrich, Sendak seems like a pretty good egg. He likes anything Seuss, Curious George, and even Colbert’s latest work-in-progress, I Am a Pole (And So Can You). Laughing (a little incredulously) after Colbert read it to him, he said, “The sad thing is, I like it.”

But just when he got Sendak all softened up with the uplifting story of a pole finding his purpose (as an American flag pole, after trying and failing at every other gig a pole could get)….

COLBERT: “Folks, once I get a publisher, I Am a Pole (And So Can You) will be available in bookstores everywhere. In hardcover. Paperback. Maybe even an eBook. What do you say about that, Maurice?”

SENDAK: “(BLEEEP!) them is what I say. I hate those eBooks. They cannot be the future. They may well be. I will be dead. I won’t give a (BLEEP).”


Click above to see “literature’s favorite grump*” getting interviewed by “the 2nd Sexiest TV News Anchor**”

* The Washington Post
** After Melissa Theuriau of France, by Maxim Online in 2006.