The show's logo and the ceiling of the Ed Sullivan Theater were in blue-white-red. Jean Baptiste and Stay Human performed "La Marseillaise." And the tilt-shift opening credits were changed from New York City scenes to Parisian scenes (you can watch the full episode here).
Colbert sat behind his desk, counting how the French have helped Americans over the years: "Aid to General Washington on our fight for independence, key intelligence on how to put potatoes into boiling oil, my favorite way of kissing, half the continent at a bargain price—no take backs, guys—and France gave America our enduring symbol of freedom," showing an image of the Statue of Liberty. "Thank you, because we have used freedom foam versions of it for drunk people to wear on New Year's Eve." Then he cut to a Photoshopped image of the Statue giving the middle finger, "And today, in a tribute to its mother country, Lady Liberty offered ISIS a fitting gesture."
He also reflected on the outpouring of support from around the world, from landmarks being illuminated in France's colors to people who Tweeted, "In support of what is happening in Paris - My wife and I are watching #ratatouille" and "Watching Ratatouille... to honor all the citizens of Paris." Colbert said, "Is that wrong? No. Is Ratatouille a French film? No. Is it a valid expression? Absolutely, because watching a cartoon Parisian rat make soup is certainly as valid as anything I say tonight."
The talk show host revealed that he contemplated cancelling one guest, the wondrous Acro-Cats, but then decided to keep them on, "I don't think ISIS would like Acro-Cats. They are cute and they're silly, two things ISIS hates. In fact, the only thing Acro Cats have in common with ISIS is that they're a bunch of pussies."
And that they are:
Other late night talk show hosts also addressed the attacks during their shows; Trevor Noah and Seth Meyers both acknowledged the Beirut attacks that killed dozens the day before the Paris terror. Meyers said, "I realize there are other places where things like this happen all the time. Beirut also had a terrible bombing by ISIS last week as well, and I certainly was guilty of not paying the same level of attention to that atrocity. And when you think about the place where these terrible things are happening the most right now, it would be Syria, a place where the people who live there, who are trying to live normal lives, are so desperate to leave."
He continued, "For those refugees, whose lives are so difficult right now, I think one of the many, and there are so many sad things about what happened in Paris, but certainly one of them is how much harder life is going to be for those refugees because of this."