When we first heard about the possibility of The Colbert Report having Daft Punk on the show in some capacity, we were skeptical. Many thought that the androids were set to perform “Get Lucky,” as this year’s Colbchella carried that “the song of the summer of the century” tag directly on the logo. Mind you, Daft Punk has shot down numerous rumors of doing any touring this year, including in a litany of interviews leading up to the release of Random Access Memories earlier this year. We figured they would come out, do some Interstella 5555-esque crowd shot (or a video package ala the Coachella “Get Lucky” ad) and be done with it. Based on reports from a number of different publications, however, we’re leaning more towards the idea that Daft Punk being announced to appear on the Comedy Central program could have been one of two things: the biggest troll of August 2013 or a blow-up over contract exclusivity.
The New York Times‘ account points to this being an issue between MTV and Comedy Central. They spoke to multiple sources that say that negotiations with Daft Punk and The Colbert Report were stressful, as the androids were only planning on appearing in costume, but wouldn’t perform or do an interview. It wasn’t until during a flight from Paris to New York that Daft Punk apparently contacted the producers, canceling due to the contract with MTV to appear at this year’s Video Music Awards. That exclusivity turned into a heated negotiation that Viacom (the parent company to both Comedy Central and MTV) did not want to get involved with. MTV did not budge on the androids appearing first on the VMAs, and it got to the point where Columbia Records (the label Daft Punk is signed to) informing the duo not to risk the MTV appearance. Ultimately, it looks like MTV and Columbia won.
Now, if you head over to Billboard, you get a slightly different take on the situation. They reported that the Robin Thicke performance of “Blurred Lines,” which was billed as a replacement for Daft Punk not being on the program, was actually filmed on July 31. It looks like it could have been recorded around the time Late Night With Jimmy Fallon had Thicke on as a guest (ironic, since it was on Fallon that Colbert’s “Get Lucky” dance aired, starting this entire whirlwind). If this is truly the case, one could firmly believe that Colbert never intended for Daft Punk to show up at Colbchella. And furthermore, since both Comedy Central and MTV are under Viacom, one could deduce that this was set up to announce Daft Punk’s “surprise” appearance at the 2013 MTV VMAs which, like most things Daft Punk in 2013, hasn’t even been 100% confirmed yet.
Even more peculiar, Billboard states that Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” has topped both the Billboard Hot 100 and 200 charts. Maybe THAT’S the true “song of the summer of the century.”
In any case, we’re wondering how the numbers for The Colbert Report did on Tuesday night. We’re also wondering how the numbers for the 2013 MTV VMAs will do. Daft Punk means eyeballs, as we’ve seen all year, and with the slightest hint of mystery, you can get loads of people watching. We did. If it’s any consolation, here’s Colbert’s celebrity-riddled “Get Lucky” dance video: