Stephen Colbert's 'Westworld' Parody On The Emmys Is Just As Unsettling As The HBO Series Itself
During Sunday night's 2017 Emmys ceremony, host Stephen Colbert packed the show full of political commentary and, predictably, jokes. But the live show was interrupted briefly when Colbert cut to an Emmys Westworld parody that poked fun at all of the ridiculous elements of the hit HBO show. And, true to the show itself, the parody was nothing short of unsettling — and not only because it features a naked Stephen Colbert.
Here's what went down in the two-minute parody: It opens with Colbert, completely naked — save a black bow-tie — as he sits on a metal chair in front of Bernard, played by Jeffrey Wright. Colbert comments that while he doesn't know where he is, it looks a lot like, "an abandoned Apple store." Wright assures him that he's in a diagnostic facility at Westworld. For fans of the show, this setting will look all too familiar. It's where countless hosts, such as Delores, Maeve, Teddy, and Clementine have had their parts and minds scrutinized by the facility's staff.
The parody continues as Wright says, pointedly, "You're a host, and you're glitching." Of course, the real joke is that Colbert is a host — of the 2017 Emmys — and some of his jokes, which featured heavy political commentary, could be considered "glitches" just by how outlandish or offensive they may sound to some. But the political jokes didn't stop in the parody. Wright, as Bernard, asks Colbert, "Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?" Colbert cheekily responds, "Every day since November 8."
This response, which of course references the presidential election, proves that Colbert isn't letting anyone forget that the current state of America is just as important as who takes home tonight's golden trophies.
The pair also address the line, "these violent delights have violent ends," which is frequently quoted on the show. As Romper points out, the line is from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (specifically, Act 2, Scene 6) when Romeo is advised against marrying Juliet by Friar Lawrence. He tells Romeo: "These violent delights have violent ends. And in their triumph die, like fire and powder."
Bernard asks Colbert if these classic and weighty words mean anything to him. He says, quite frankly, no, and Bernard surprisingly agrees with the statement, stating that he guesses the writers threw in the line to "sound smart."
The parody then has Colbert "access" certain parts of his programming, just like hosts are required to do on the hour-long show. He eagerly gives his responses to requests such as, "Emmys acceptance speech," and "gracious loser face." Bernard concludes the test with: "engage tuxedo mode." And with that, Colbert is fully dressed (finally) and ready to host the rest of the show. But there's a small hiccup that's keeping him from returning to the stage.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's Tituss Burgess shows up in the last minute, sitting in the corner of the small room, drinking a cocktail and trying to convince Colbert he's a robot, too. "Bleep, bloop... whatever" he says, unconvincingly. Then he breaks his own cover: "Now if you'll excuse me Stephen, I've gotta go rope me some cowboys." Clearly, Burgess is the type of Westworld visitor who would be enjoying the park's many delights — not sitting in cold, clinical rooms.
It's clearly a very silly parody, especially when juxtaposed to the serious nature of the show. But it is the parody's comedic nature highlights just how disturbing and unsettling the themes of Westworld — such a mortality, ownership, and inequality — really are.
Though fans will have to wait until 2018 to see their favorite hosts back in action, hopefully this parody, as silly as it may be, can help sate fans until the show's Season 2 return.