AceShowbiz - Stephen Colbert feared a misjudged Twitter joke that offended Asian-Americans had cost him his career.
Back in 2014, the funnyman mocked Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins American football team, for starting a team foundation to help Native Americans while refusing to drop his franchise's racially insensitive moniker.
In character as the right-wing host of his old faux news show "The Colbert Report", Stephen joked that he would start his own offensively named foundation, saying: "I am willing to show Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever."
The joke was originally well received, but provoked a storm of outrage when it was repeated out of context on the show's Twitter account - prompting Stephen to worry he'd inadvertently wrecked his career.
Stephen Colbert appears on our latest cover. Click the link in our bio to read the story in full. In the in-depth interview, he discusses Louis C.K., his approach to Trump, the #cancelcolbert incident and more. "There are days, there are weeks, where I go, 'That was fun, I could do this for 10 years,'” he tells us. "And there are times when I’m like, 'I won’t make it to next week.'" Photograph by Peter Yang (@yopeteryang)
"I was getting in a car to go home, and I saw that it exploded," "The Late Show" host tells Rolling Stone magazine. "And I went, 'Uh-oh.' What happened was, just that one line, absent any context, was tweeted out by someone who the week before had been an intern. There was nothing I could do; I wasn't on the air for three days. And I went, 'I've lost complete control of the context of my joke, and maybe I've lost a 25-year career with a single line.'"
The controversy caused the hashtag #cancelcolbert to go viral that weekend - prompting bosses at U.S. network Comedy Central to delete the offending tweet, a decision that enraged Stephen.
"It was the only time I ever really got mad at the network,"he says. "Because they took the tweet down, and I go, 'What're you thinking? Now you've apologised before I can contextualise my response, and now I'm 100 per cent f**ked.'"
The 54-year-old refused to break character until he was back on the air on Monday, when he addressed the incident by admitting that tweeting the joke without context was a mistake. Stephen did leave "The Colbert Report" later in 2014, to take over from David Letterman as the host of "The Late Show".