Stephen Colbert rips embattled ‘Jeopardy!’ host Mike Richards

Stephen Colbert was fired up at the start of Thursday’s “Late Show.”

“They wanna hear me talk about the big story everyone is talking about right now, which continues to be the chaos surrounding the poorly handled regime change – over at ‘Jeopardy!’,” he said.

He was referring to the waves of controversy around the new host of the venerable game show, executive producer Mike Richards, who was accused of harassment and discrimination when he was a producer on “The Price Is Right.” In a statement to the “Jeopardy!” staff, Richards said the characterization of those claims “did not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on ‘The Price is Right.’”

But then this week, a new report from The Ringer detailed numerous offensive comments Richards made while hosting his own podcast in 2013 and 2014. 

Colbert thought it was curious that Richards’ search to find the next host of “Jeopardy!” led him right to himself. “What are the odds?” Colbert said of the executive producer, who was involved in the selection process before he emerged as a candidate, the New York Times previously reported. “Exactly the same as me getting named Stephen Colbert Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive.” 

“It’s only getting worse for Richards after resurfaced podcast audio revealed that in 2014, Mike Richards made crude comments about women, Jews, and Haiti,” Colbert said. “Looks like Richards’ job might be in…Jeopardy!” 

In response to his resurfaced comments, Richards apologized, saying “it’s more than clear that my attempts to be funny and provocative were not acceptable, and I have removed the episodes.” 

“That’s an interesting apology,” Colbert said. “‘I know I drove drunk and plowed through your rose garden, and to prove I’m sorry, I recycled my empty liquor bottles.’” 

Colbert then segued into the other big story of the week with a “Jeopardy!” joke. “Speaking of disastrous transitions, what is Afghanistan?” he said, dinging a “Jeopardy!”-style buzzer.

Hours later, Colbert’s assumption was proved accurate. Richards stepped down as host and will no longer serve as emcee for the quiz show.

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