Daft Punk’s Colbert Vs. VMAs Debacle: Who’s To Blame?

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Daft Punk

It was the late-night TV musical booking of the year: The Colbert Report snagged the elusive robots of Daft Punk to appear on his special “StePhest Colbchella 13 – The Song of the Summer of the Century” episode, slated for Aug. 6.

Instead, the dream booking quickly turned into a nightmare for host Stephen Colbert, who had to open the episode by explaining why the band, still riding high on the stratospheric success of single “Get Lucky,” would not be making the highly publicized appearance. This was followed by a star-studded video montage set to “Get Lucky,” after which Robin Thicke filled in for Daft Punk with a performance of his own contender for song of the summer, “Blurred Lines.”

MTV president Van Toffler took a brunt of the blame, with Colbert skewering the exec for pulling Daft Punk from his show due to their “surprise” performance on this year’s MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 25 (both MTV and Comedy Central, which airs The Colbert Report, are owned by Viacom).


Fallout from the last-minute cancellation has been fast and furious. Some, including Pitchfork, questioned whether the band’s no-show was a promotional stunt to pump up their VMAs appearance, a claim Colbert sarcastically debunked on his show: “Now that I’ve come clean, I can do what I love: promote the VMAs.”

Colbert went on to discuss Daft Punk’s cancellation in a more serious manner on Daily Show writer Paul Mercurio’s podcast, revealing the ongoing and difficult process of getting the duo to confirm the appearance, as well as what they would and would not do on the show, with the robots nixing any suggestions of a performance or even speaking.

Despite settling on a concept they could all agree on, the appearance was still called off, allegedly by MTV. The network, however, fired back yesterday (Aug. 13) by saying that it was Daft Punk’s decision to perform on the VMAs and cancel the Colbert appearance.

“We don’t put restrictions on anyone. I just think that we’re talking to them about a moment and then things sort of change,” VMAs executive producer Jesse Ignjatovic told The Hollywood Reporter. “I would not describe that as MTV putting restrictions on people — it was up to that artist and their management what they wanted to do.”

For all of the discussion around the last-minute cancellation, there is still no clear indication what exactly is the case. Was it all really an elaborate stunt to promote this year’s VMAs, or did Daft Punk really decide at the last-minute to save their first big TV appearance of 2013 for the VMAs instead of Colbert? Inquiring minds want to know!

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