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Stanley Tucci Critiques Stephen Colbert’s Late Show Impression of his Hunger Games Character

Every time a candidate departs from the presidential race, Stephen Colbert marks the occasion on The Late Show with his impression of Stanley Tucci’s character, Caesar Flickerman, from The Hunger Games … thereby drawing an obvious parallel between the media’s breathless coverage of the presidential race with Flickerman’s fictional television show about the harrowing competition in Suzanne Collins’ dystopian tale. Last night, Tucci “surprised” Colbert by appearing on set to take the host to task for not doing Flickerman justice (and to sneak in a plug for his upcoming film, Spotlight).

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“Caesar, for me, is a nuanced role. He’s a larger-than-life TV host who’s hungry for the adulation of the crowd, and whose effervescence masks his true vulnerability,” Tucci explained. Stephen Colbert then had the obvious opportunity to deadpan, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Caesar Flickerman is the role that I’m proudest of,” Tucci went on, before cracking another joke or two — but, as per usual with these sorts of segments, it wasn’t entirely clear whether Tucci was serious or not. Personally, I couldn’t help but feel a little strange seeing Colbert perform his impression of Tucci while face-to-face with the guy. Tucci laughed along, but he also seemed a little bit uncomfortable. The segment concluded with Tucci telling Colbert that his impression seemed more like Effie Trinket than Caesar Flickerman; Colbert gamely pulled out an Effie Trinket wig and put that on, and the audience laughed along, which helped smooth out any residual awkwardness. Still, though, the underlying criticism from Tucci seemed to be that Colbert’s impression was too flamboyant, which … is a fair point, albeit one that gets buried in jokes.

I defer to you, dear readers. Do you think Stephen Colbert’s impression of Stanley Tucci will return, after this? Do you hope that it will? Or did this segment make you feel kind of weird?

(via The Hollywood Reporter)

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Maddy Myers
Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (

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