How Did the Colbert Report "Yard Sale" Actually Go Down?
December 22, 2014 2:41 PM   Subscribe

Rather fervid googling turns up not a single first-hand report of attendance at the Colbert Report yard sale. Obviously, it wasn't a big advertised thing (which would have created an unwieldy mob at odds with the intentionally low-rent vibe of the bit), but the customers certainly did seem like regular folks. Has anyone seen reports re: how it actually went down?
posted by Quisp Lover to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Two answers to this:

1. Notice how the actual yard sale is held indoors? Most likely it's just a little set they built with a bunch of random junk from the run of the show. They'd have cast extras to be the people shopping at the yard sale. (Or it could be Colbert Report staff? That's very common for comedy show background actors.) Anyone with a speaking role in the bit is an actor and most likely a SAG member.

2. This is an actual thing TV shows and movies do when they shut down. Usually people shopping are other people from the entertainment industry, as these things are typically spread by word of mouth. I'm on a few listservs that spread info about this sort of thing, and usually if you know people involved with the show, or you work on a show that shoots nearby, you'll find out about it. IRL very few people are going to want the items shown, though, so I'm still pretty sure the "yard sale" was staged as a bit. If they had an actual sale, they'd be selling things like mugs, couches and chairs, costume pieces, and random props and set dressing from other bits they've done over the years.

Nobody actually wants most of what is actually shown in this bit. Most of that type of stuff (random ephemera from old bits) just gets thrown out or recycled unless people who worked on the show want it for sentimental reasons. I have a book with a cover I designed for an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and a toy cow we used to block a sequence in the movie Admission. Mostly, though, nobody actually wants this stuff.
posted by Sara C. at 3:01 PM on December 22, 2014 [7 favorites]

Oh, and needless to say, when real shows really have sales to get rid of costumes and set dressing, they are not hosted by the star(s) of the show. In that scenario it would be the costume and set designers running it, or one of their underlings.
posted by Sara C. at 3:42 PM on December 22, 2014

nobody actually wants it? One guy got his People's Choice Award! And someone else got his original script for the WHite House Correspondent's Dinner... Michael Stipe was on sale for a dollar. The way they presented it, it looked like each person was allowed to buy two items, and many of the people who came by just didn't realize how valuable the stuff there was. I don't know if they really did it - if they had wanted to I think they would have had to just keep it under wraps, and hope that only non-fans check it out, like that Banksy sale over the summer. I don't think that would be impossible, but I don't know if it happened.
posted by mdn at 3:45 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: comments here seem to confirm it was real.
posted by mdn at 3:49 PM on December 22, 2014 [4 favorites]

And I had totally forgotten that about Amy Sedaris but I remember that "sell stuff from her house" thing from some special, so makes sense as inspiration. I thought it was such a great way to end, just free, absurd, anti-materialist and down-home all at once.
posted by mdn at 3:55 PM on December 22, 2014

Best answer: Tumblr page mentioned in the comments that mdn linked to is now empty, but this cached version shows the legit goods.
posted by pjenks at 7:51 PM on December 22, 2014

This is an actual thing TV shows and movies do when they shut down

Indeed it is. My father-in-law has a bed from Signs in his house.
posted by kindall at 2:57 PM on December 23, 2014

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