Stephen Colbert took aim at Kid Rock‘s transphobic response to trans activist Dylan Mulvaney’s team-up with Anheuser-Bush’s Easy Carry Contest in the cold open to Tuesday night’s (April 11) The Late Show in a parody ad for “Shaft Beer.”
The piece began with a brief bit of news footage of the backlash against the beer giant issuing a personalized, commemorative gift can for influencer Mulvaney. It then cut to the now-infamous video posted by Rock in which he attempted to obliterate 12-packs of Bud Light with a semi-automatic rifle.
“Are you tired of woke beer that blurs gender lines?” a manly voiceover asks amid images of a rainbow Bud Light float at a gay pride event in the Colbert video. “Want to drink the beer that you were assigned at birth? Then reach for Shaft Beer, the only brew that comes in a can shaped like a penis so you know just who it’s for,” it continues as manly men grab a hold of the cans and raise the hyper-masculine brew to their lips.
“Pop one open and put it in your mouth,” the narrator encourages amid an image of two dudes hanging out around a grill with their fingers wrapped tightly around the phallic cans. “Shaft harkens back to a golden time when men knew how to do man stuff, like grab-a–ing in the shower. So tug on a Shaft today.”
And, if that’s too much for your beer gut, the fake promo adds another option: Shaft Light. “It’s the same beer, but in a can the size of Kid Rock’s penis,” it promises of the two-inch mini version.
Though Rock never mentions Mulvaney (or the word “trans”) in his video, the brew-ha-ha appears to have been kicked off earlier this month when transgender TikTok star and social media influencer Mulvaney shared a video of herself participating in Bud Light’s Easy Carry Contest for the end of the NCAA’s March Madness. In the clip, she revealed that the company helped her celebrate her “365th day of womanhood” with “possibly the best gift ever” — a commemorative can of Bud Light with Mulvaney’s face on the side.
Bud Light parent company Anheuser-Busch told Billboard in a statement that the commemorative cans bearing Mulvaney’s face are “not for sale.” That didn’t stop right-wing commentators and country stars including Travis Tritt and John Rich from saying that they would boycott the many products from the world’s leading beer seller, which also include the brands Busch, Stella Artois, Michelob Ultra, Hoegarden and dozens of others.
Colbert also hit on the topic in his monologue, alluding to the raft of “toilet stuff” Republican lawmakers have been laser focused on lately as conservative politicians in Iowa, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee have passed bills addressing bathroom use for trans people amid other attacks on the rights of trans people.
He also mentioned a recent anti-trans bill in Florida, noting that Republican lawmaker Webster Barnaby referred to living in a society with trans people as akin to watching an X-Men movie earlier this week. “It’s like we have mutants living among us on planet Earth,” Barnaby said in a hearing. “We have people that live among us today on Planet Earth that are happy to display to display themselves as if they were mutants from another planet. This is the planet Earth!”
Colbert noted that the X-Men are from planet Earth. “Second, if you are against trans people, why would you compare them to incredibly cool superheroes with laser eyes, indestructible skeletons or who control the weather with sexiness?” he wondered. “Most importantly, the entire message of all these movies is that society should accept everyone, no matter their differences.”
Colbert also said that late Marvel genius Stan Lee said that he created the X-Men characters as a metaphor for civil rights, and that the franchise is explicitly a “gay-rights parable.” The host, who played a clueless conservative blowhard for a decade on The Colbert Report, then reported that “right-wing nutjobs” are not just focused on bathrooms, but also on beer.
He ran a headline showing some conservatives calling for a boycott of Bud Light over its celebration of Mulvaney, then doubled down on Rock’s video. “The charge was led by conservative thought leader Kid Rock,” he said before playing the video again and adding that Texas congressman Dan Crenshaw also tried to “get in on the dumb” with his own viral video attempt.
In Crenshaw’s case, though, the video didn’t mean what he thought it meant. The former Navy SEAL tried to prove his anti-Bud bona fides by saying that he was going to throw out every Bud Light in the house. After fumbling around and failing to find a Bud in his mini fridge, though, Crenshaw mumbled, “Well, I guess that was easy.” Colbert then cited some internet sleuths who saw some Karbach beers front and center in the shot — like Bud and Bud Light, Karbach is made by Anheuser-Busch.
Check out the Late Show videos below.