Stephen Colbert once slapped Jim Belushi in front of a live audience during his Second City days. The current host of CBS’ “The Late Show” spilled about the “fantastic” encounter in the second episode of the “Strike Force Five” podcast.
During the episode, Colbert was asked about the most famous person he saw while he was at Second City, the improv school that claims stars like Colbert, Amy Poehler and Bob Odenkirk as alumni. After initially answering Robin Williams, Colbert noted that the “According to Jim,” “K-9” and “The Blues Brothers” star “sticks out” because he liked to “slap people onstage”
“He would slap someone onstage to get like a shock reaction from the audience,” Colbert said. “He has these big old meat hooks of these hands. So he would pick someone who he felt like, ‘That guy’s not gonna hit me back.’ And he would jack them.”
Though Colbert noted that he “1,000%” got why Belushi did what he did, he also recalled the one time he stopped the younger Belushi’s onstage habit.
“One night it went, in my opinion, a little bit too far. Obviously, Mr. Belushi was not aware it had gone too far. It was all in good fun,” Colbert recalled.
On the night in question, the Second City group was playing the improv game freeze tag in front of a live audience. Also known as clap, switch or freeze, the game starts with two players acting out a scene. When another performer offstage yells “freeze,” both actors have to freeze in the positions they’re in. The third offstage performer then tags themselves into the scene, replacing one of the onstage performers and starting a new scene. During this particular game, Colbert called freeze after Belushi hit another performer. Only this time, he didn’t take over anyone’s position.
“I said to the guy, ‘Hit him back. This is never going to stop unless you hit him back.’ Like a dad who’s talking to a kid who’s being bullied,” Colbert said. After a big reaction from the audience, the man Belushi hit refused to touch the star.
“So I turned to Belushi and I said, ‘Like this,’ and I gave him the swiftest crack I could give him from a short distance,” Colbert said.
According to the late-night host, there’s was “chaos in the house.” The two men had to be pulled away from each other, and the lights went on in the theater. “We’re backstage yelling at each other. It was fantastic,” Colbert said. “He was a little upset.”
Strangely enough, that wasn’t the only Jim Belushi story “Strike Force Five” had up its sleeve. During the early days of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Belushi was the guest while Mr. T was co-hosting the series with Kimmel.
“And they did not hit it off,” Kimmel said.
According to the ABC host, Mr. T was doing his “tough guy thing” and Belushi was not going along with it.
“I don’t remember exactly what he said, but what resulted was the two of them facing each other and kind of grappling a little bit. They were about to fight,” Kimmel said. “It became apparent to me right away that Jim was going to be able to overpower Mr. T, and that would be the end of Mr. T.”
Kimmel added that he thought Belushi would have the advantage because Mr. T is “not that tall, and he’s a good deal older.” The late-night host later broke up the fight. When pressed by Colbert on who he thought the aggravator of the incident was, Kimmel immediately said, “Belushi, 100%.”
Hosted by Colbert, Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers and John Oliver, “Strike Force Five” is a podcast from the biggest names in late night about the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. All proceeds from the recently launched podcast go to out-of-work staff from the hosts’ respective shows.
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