Stephen Colbert Answers the Age-Old Question: What Is Porn?

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As Stephen Colbert explained on The Late Show, he was watching the Bloomberg Channel (as one does), and noticed that during their story about a Modigliani painting being sold, the painting was censored because it featured a nude woman. From there, this sketch about censorship and what constitutes porn (according to the FCC) really took off.

Colbert began by showing different paintings that also featured bare breasts. Georgia O’Keeffe? All good. The Birth of Venus: totally fine. Michelangelo’s David? You can only have it on screen for two seconds.

A Picasso that sold earlier this year? Also fine, but inexplicably censored by the news outlet that reported on its sale. With a snap of his fingers, Colbert uncensored the painting and–viola, no censor. Strangely enough, not even Colbert is allowed to show the full Modigliani.

The inconsistency of these rules is downright ridiculous, and Colbert knows it. I mean…

colbert censorship sketch


(via Vulture)

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Jessica Lachenal
Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (, and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters ( She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.