Daft Punk Didn’t Play Colbert Because They’ll Appear At The MTV Video Music Awards

UPDATE: Due to the fact that Robin Thicke’s performance was taped last Tuesday, at which point he made a prescient comment about Daft Punk cancelling, some have questioned whether the robots were ever scheduled to appear at all. But Colbert’s report still holds up. According to NY Times negotiations between MTV and Comedy Central had been “intense” ever since the duo was booked for Colbert last month. Comedy Central put their back-up plan in motion well in advance of yesterday’s show. Ultimately, says the Times, Columbia convinced Daft Punk not to risk its VMAs appearance and they officially dropped out Monday.

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Last night, Stephen Colbert’s crew capitalized on the challenge of a botched booking (and some contractual Viacom-sibling rivalry) and churned out a fairly ambitious, last-minute pop cultural mashup. Daft Punk were scheduled to appear on the Report as part of the annual StePhest Colbchella, but found themselves enjoined by MTV, who had booked the French robots for a (now spoiled) surprise VMAs appearance under a contract stipulating some period of TV exclusivity. Exclusivity, even from their Viacom brethren at Comedy Central. Here’s how Colbert explained it at the top of the episode:

“Here’s the story and it’s a true story. We booked click and clack over here about a month ago, but there was a problem. This network is owned by Viacom, which is also the owner of MTV… Apparently, and this is a deeply guarded secret, Daft Punk are going to make a surprise appearance on the MTV Video Music Awards, spoiler alert. Don’t tell anybody, because fun fact: no one told me until 2 o’clock yesterday.”

Colbert handled it humbly. First, he had “MTV Networks”‘ Ashton Kutcher out to confirm he’d been “Daft Punk’d” (instead Kutcher insisted Stephen got “Daft Fuck’d”). Then, Stephen danced to DP’s “Get Lucky” anyway, in a pre-recorded bit featuring lots of lifechampions in suits: Hugh Laurie, Jimmy Fallon, Henry Kissinger, Charlie Rose and the presently ubiquitous cast and creator of Breaking Bad, Jeff Bridges, the Rockettes, Matt Damon, and Nick Cannon and the America’s Got Talent judges. Not everyone dances — that’s primarily the job of Stephen and Bryan Cranston, Hugh Laurie, Fallon, Bridges, and Damon. And of those that do, it is a staggeringly poor ratio of life accomplishment to dancing ability. They’re a lovable lot, though! Watch it here:

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It’s also worth nothing that Colbert had Robin Thicke perform “Blurred Lines” as a last minute substitution for StePhest, which about as good as you can do if you’re trying to swap one Song Of Summer for another.

Meanwhile, across town “Get Lucky” collaborator Nile Rodgers played Fallon.