By: E&P Staff
The long-awaited grudge guitar showdown between Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert and Chris Funk of the rock group The Decemberists lived up to its billing late Wednesday.
It was introduced by Morley Safer of “60 Minutes” and featured Dr. Henry Kissinger urging the pair to “rock” and “crank it up.” Colbert dubbed it “Rock & Awe.”
In the end, the judges were split — after New York’s governor-elect Eliot Spitzer recused himself, claiming Colbert had tried to bribe him during a commercial break. With that, Colbert left it to his audience, which gave him the win. Dr. Kissinger then pointed out that, actually, “America won.”
Earlier, after Funk played his solo, Colbert had actually bowed out, after purportedly bloodying his hands trying to play his guitar — which had five necks, in case he blew out four of them. But he had a fill-in ready: Peter Frampton.
The battle came about after The Decemberists, for a music video, copied Colbert’s groundbreaking idea of using a “green screen” that allowed fans to create their own videos of the stars and post them on YouTube. He issued a challenged which they accepted.
The show ended with a rocking version of the Colbert Report theme song with Funk and Frampton and Colbert on vocals. Colbert had torn off the arms of his suit coat to perform in bare arms and single tattoo. He noted that he had earlier this year sung on the show with Barry Manilow, Neil Young and congressman-elect John Hall.