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Shoppers stormed the stores today to kick off the holiday shopping season with a day of trampling, violence and other forms of mayhem, all in the name of getting a good deal. The traditional post-Thanksgiving retail bonanza known as Black Friday has long been a favorite of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, which has humorously skewered the day (along with its more recent digital counterpart Cyber Monday). As you read about the lengths to which shoppers went to save a few bucks or recover from your own experience going after those door-busters, check out five of the Comedy Central late-night shows’ best Black Friday segments.
The Colbert Report
“Stephen’s Thanksgiving & Holy Black Friday” (Nov. 26, 2012) Two years ago, Colbert cracked a particularly amusing joke about the importance of Black Friday, referring to it as “the holiest day of the year.”
“When Americans come together to bow before their lord, the Walmart rollback guy. ‘Cause Jesus isn’t the only one who saves,” Colbert said, going on to reveal the Biblical roots of the shopping frenzy. In this bit, Colbert also lamented that Black Friday was becoming too commercialized. “What happened to trampling people for the love of the game? Or just the pure joy of throat-punching an old lady over that last $20 Dirt Devil?”
“Violent Black Friday” (Nov. 28, 2011) Three years ago, Colbert began his first show after Thanksgiving doing some online shopping on Cyber Monday, adding that he camped out in front of his computer the night before, “waiting for The Internet to open.” He then transitioned from his hunt for digital deals to the old-school shopping bonanza of Black Friday, citing a report that Americans spent a record $52.4 billion on the day after Thanksgiving, using this as an indication that America had recovered from its recent recession. “We are once again spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need to give to people we don’t like,” he said, leading the crowd in a “U-S-A!” chant. That was also the year that one L.A. shopper was so determined to get a good deal that she pepper-sprayed fellow shoppers to get her hands on an Xbox. “Good for her,” Colbert said, suggesting that her behavior be used as the inspiration for a game: Call of Duty: Black Friday Ops.
See more Stephen Colbert’s Career in Pictures
“Black Friday Interpretation” (Nov. 29, 2010) The year before Colbert revealed he made a terrible mistake in what he believed Black Friday to be about, thinking it was connected to a traditional Christmas story. “I’d like to extend sincere apologies to everyone at my neighborhood Walmart who may have been offended by my wrongful interpretation of what Black Friday means,” he said.
The Daily Show
“Turkey Day” (Nov. 26, 2012) Two years ago, Stewart suggested that the violent behavior exhibited on Black Friday might really just be pent-up hostility from an uncomfortable experience with one’s extended family the day before. After an intro explaining the stress of having, “people you spend all year avoiding … in your house, hovering in the kitchen, opening drawers, pitching you ideas,” Stewart explained, “I didn’t pin the guy from the [Best Buy] Geek Squad against the wall by his neck because I really cared they were out of 50-inch TVs. I pinned him there because for some reason my family thought my brother-in-law’s cousin should carve the turkey that I spent all day cooking because ‘he’s been struggling.’ “
“Shopping Maul” and “OK Consumer” (Nov. 28, 2005) Way back in 2005, The Daily Show‘s “Senior Retail Analyst” Rob Corddry claimed he spent 3 days at a Walmart spanning Tennessee and North Carolina, where he revealed that he really embraced the competitive nature of Black Friday. “I have seen unprecedented scenes of violence, mayhem and raw human greed that bode very well for America’s economy,” Corddry reported. “I’m bullish, Jon, and by ‘bullish’ I mean using sharp horns and a bucking motion to clear other shoppers from my path.” Indeed, this take-no-prisoners approach carried over into Corddry’s online shopping on Cyber Monday, as hidden-camera footage revealed him throwing a co-worker from his chair and pulling a gun on him.
In his intro, Stewart explained, “All over the United States, shoppers spent Black Friday sending a message to the world: America is very interested in buying things.”
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