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Colbert dares Sweden: 'Take a chance on me!'

David Landes · 22 Jun 2012, 22:59

Published: 22 Jun 2012 22:59 GMT+02:00

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"If I’m not granted control of the Twitter feed by this time next week… The Colbert Nation will cut off all diplomatic relations with Sweden," Colbert said during the Thursday night broadcast of his Colbert Report television programme.

"So before things get ugly, let me make a last appeal with the words of Sweden's greatest living poets, Benny and Björn."

The ultimatum, referencing Abba members Benny Anderson and Björn Ulvaeus, came following Thursday's report in The Local that officials in charge of the @Sweden Twitter account would decide next week on whether or not to give Colbert control of the account.

For the past six months, Sweden's official Twitter account has been handed over to a different Swede every week as part of the Curators of Sweden project.

After former @Sweden curator Sonja Abrahamsson kicked up a storm by tweeting "whats the fuzz with jews", Colbert launched a campaign dubbed #artificialswedener in an effort to pressure officials at Visit Sweden and the Swedish Institute to give the US comedian a turn as curator of Sweden's official Twitter account.

"Operation #artificialswedener" appeared to gain traction when officials from both agencies confirmed on Thursday they were "in discussions" about the prospect of Colbert taking over the @Sweden account.

Colbert in turn jumped on the development in order to "to claim what's rightfully mine", striking a rather combative tone to emphasize he had no plans to let up in his bid to tweet in the name of Sweden.

"I’ve got Swedish fever, I’ve got Stockholm syndrome,” he said.

He also took aim at Johannes Karlsson, the head of PR and Social Media at Visit Sweden, calling him the "one obstacle standing between me and the Swedish tweeting supremacy" after Karlsson expressed concerns that Colbert "may not be able to give an authentic view" of Sweden.

“How dare you sir," Colbert retorted.

"I have made a long study of your nation’s history, from its founding by Hagar the Horrible to its renowned herds of snow giraffes.”

Colbert also accused Sweden of being the "aggressor" proclaiming that, in contrast, he was "a man of peace".

He then delivered his threat to "cut off all diplomatic relations" before proceeding to grab a microphone and break into a heartfelt and hilarious rendition of Abba's hit song, "Take a Chance on Me".

Story continues below…

After crooning a couple of verses of 1978 Abba hit, accompanied by four Abba member look-alikes, Colbert, closed the segment with one final plea.

"C'mon Sweden, gimme the feed!"

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Operation Artificial Swedener - C'mon Sweden, Take a Chance on Stephen
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David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

01:07 June 23, 2012 by nickknock
I am sorry, I must stand with the Colbert Nation. Give into Colbert Sweden!
01:40 June 23, 2012 by prince T
Please dont give him sweden
03:09 June 23, 2012 by klassIII
A fair trade for Sweden would be if Mr.Colbert was willing to never step in front of a camera again. He's horrible as is his nation.
04:18 June 23, 2012 by expatjourno
klassIII hates it when Colbert mocks right-wing folly.
07:06 June 23, 2012 by klassIII
Well Expat, I don't watch enough Colbert or John Stewart to get offended by it.They both have made millions mocking the right wing which is all they seem to be good at.After awhile they come off as petty whiners.I'm sure that must get tiring to hear even to a left wing Pinko such as yourself. Give your soul a treat, watch RED EYE on fox.
08:31 June 23, 2012 by Trenatos
Fair trade: Colbert gets the Sweden account for a week, and in turn the random Swede who would have controlled the Swedish account gets to control Colberts account for the same week.
10:23 June 23, 2012 by StockholmSam

What is so horrible about his nation? I have yet to hear a generalization about such a large group of people that holds true.
13:56 June 23, 2012 by imbad005
@Stephen Colbert.,, How far are you willing to go for this?,

Lets make a trade, LADY GAGA for Sweden's twitter account!?? are you ready
18:32 June 23, 2012 by AHA
I say/write it agin : A stupid man addressing a gullible audience who think that he is funny. EH, why do I care to comment on that anyway.
19:55 June 23, 2012 by cablues
This Colbert thing is meant to be all in good fun... I think some Swedes are being a little too sensitive about this. It's not meant to be critical of anything Swedish. Perhaps Americans are sometimes overly protective of the Jews... and perhaps Swedes sometimes lack a sense of humor. No offense but you can be a serious lot at times. Maybe it's the lack of sun.

@imbad005 - I like your GAGA trade idea.
20:55 June 23, 2012 by skogsbo
who is he? is he or was he ever funny? Why is he now fascinated with Sweden? does he know where it even is on a map of world?
21:30 June 23, 2012 by expatjourno
No, klassIII, YOU are the one who comes across as a "petty whiner."
21:40 June 23, 2012 by calebian22
Sarcasm is lost on Swedes. Unless it is peepee or poopoo humor forget it.
23:03 June 23, 2012 by cablues
@skogsbro Colbert is very well known political satirist in American. He has his own TV show in which he does a parody of a right-wing pundit. Even right-wing folks find him funny at times depending on the topic.

For a people who seemingly strive to be politically correct about everything, it can be surprising to an American mind that the Sweden twitter feed woud muse 'whats the fuss with Jews'. What may not be well understood by Swedes (or many Europeans) is that in a country with over 5 million Jews (many with ties to the Holocaust), many Americans are personally acquainted with them are and generally sensitive to their history of persecution whereas many Swedes (living in a country with only about 15 thousand Jews) are less familiar with Jews personally are more concerned with the current condition of the Palestinians. It's all perfectly understandable.

I think Colbert, who tries to make a point through humor, is trying to say that such a wonderful country and people shouldn't let random individuals represent their country and make politically insensitive remarks. The satire comes in when he maintains that even he could do a better job at representing Sweden.

Of course it's perfectly understandable why Sweden would let random individuals represent their country if one understands the concept of Jantelagen which most Americans do not.
04:54 June 24, 2012 by triodethom
The idea of the twitter thing was to promote tourist to come to Sweden . Tell Colbert if he want the Twitter blog then he has to do it from Sweden . Then you have him there for the week or 4days that how many show he does a week . This is a win win offer . He thinks he won but the goal of tourist come to Sweden is the real victory . This beats him at his own game !
08:50 June 24, 2012 by cogito
"who is he? is he or was he ever funny? Why is he now fascinated with Sweden? does he know where it even is on a map of world?(#11)

Skogsbo, you need to get out of the woods now and then.

Yes, it is funny to be fascinated by Sweden.

As for that tired cliche "can't find Sweden on the map." Here the news: most of the world cannot find Sweden on a map.
09:35 June 24, 2012 by towns
@ cogito

You'd actually be surprised how many people there are who can't even find their own country on a map.
10:00 June 25, 2012 by Marc the Texan
@#15 Great idea! If Colbert does the show from Sweden, then let him have the account. It would be a real coup if they could pull that off. Colbert has a global audience, probably bigger than all Swedish media combined.
15:15 June 25, 2012 by 007
it would be fantastic for sweden to get stephen colbert to twitter for a week. the account is all about drumming up attention for sweden and this is doing it. kudos to visit sweden for coming up with such a brilliant idea.
21:24 June 25, 2012 by dizzymoe33
Poor ABBA they just don't get any respect!!!

Stephen Colbert is an idiot and no he is not funny!!
19:46 June 30, 2012 by Michael Whitfield
@dizzymoe33 You are correct on your statements
15:18 July 15, 2012 by seattlerik
Stephen Colbert is a political satirist, but it's entirely cultural because without knowing U.S. cable news I think it would be impossible to fully get him. His whole persona is an act, but he's brilliant. He's always good natured at the core though. It's a wink and a nudge, and that's all it is. It's all in good fun.
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