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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Stephen Colbert is never out of ideas for Trump jokes 

The Late Show has vaulted to the top of the late-night comedy heap with Colbert's sharp, topical humour about US president Donald Trump

The Late Show host Stephen Colbert. Lucas Jackson / Reuters
The Late Show host Stephen Colbert. Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Trump fatigue? No such thing in comic Stephen Colbert's world.

"He is president of the United States," Colbert said on Saturday. "There is no escaping it. It's like having oxygen fatigue."

Colbert and his CBS Late Show vaulted to the top of the late-night comedy heap with his sharp, topical humour about US president Donald Trump. Now he's expanding into the world of animation with a Showtime series, Our Cartoon President, that debuts later this month.

The series is an outgrowth of an occasional feature on Late Show. Colbert and his executive producer, Chris Licht, developed it into a stand-alone series and hired a team to execute it that works out of the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, where the Late Show is filmed.

While the late-night show finds comedy out of day-to-day news, Our Cartoon President seeks to develop characters of the president, his family and administration figures. Each episode takes two to three months to write, animate and voice, although there is flexibility built in for some rewrites based on new events, the creators said.

Showtime will stream an episode on January 28 that features the cartoon Trump preparing to deliver his State of the Union address. The 10-episode series debuts on the television network on February 11.

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The rapid comings and goings of figures in the administration presents an ongoing challenge for top executive RJ Fried and his team.

"We're not investing a lot of animation time into Rex Tillerson at this point," Colbert said.

Others have more staying power. The president's sons Donald Jr and Eric are "our Beavis and Butt-Head," Fried said.

The three-anchor team of the Fox & Friends morning show — regular watching for the president — will also be featured in Our Cartoon President.

"They're very much a part of the White House, we believe," Fried said.

"So does Trump," Colbert responded.

They may not always make it on the cartoon, but Colbert was up-to-the-minute in his comic references. He said the series will try to capture "just how stable his genius is," a reference to a Saturday tweet by the president about his mental state.

And Colbert also joked about Michael Wolff's new book about the administration, Fire and Fury, stealing material.

"There is nothing in the book that's not in our show, and we just guessed," he said. "The great thing about the Trump administration is whatever you can imagine, you're right."

But Colbert said he didn't want to describe Trump's actions as a gift to comedians.

"I love my country more than I love a good joke," he said.