Colbert and Daily Show on the Asiana pilot-names joke snafu (video)

Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report, and John Oliver of the Daily Show, both delved into the matter of the NTSB confirming for a San Francisco TV station a series of joke-names for the pilots of the Asiana plane that crashed in San Francisco last week.

As we reported at the time, the TV station claimed that the pilots were:


The names are a phonetic joke:

Captain Something Wrong
Way too low
Holy f*ck
Bang, ding, ow!

Colbert and Oliver were on vacation last week, so they couldn’t cover it then.  They’re covering it now :) Colbert was outraged that…. the fake names were Chinese for a Korean airline.

Here’s Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report – and check out our Stephen Colbert archives of more videos:

The Colbert Report

Here’s John Oliver on the Daily Show:

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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28 Responses to “Colbert and Daily Show on the Asiana pilot-names joke snafu (video)”

  1. qivucuzusywa says:

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    In the case of the Asiana flight, the SFO systems were off for
    maintenance, a decision based on the fact the weather was fine. So you
    have a pilot who isn’t used to visual approach landings in general, and
    unfamiliar with the handling of the Trip-7 aircraft because he was in
    training for that model… I’d be happy to be proven wrong, but I’d
    wager pilot error will be deemed the cause of the crash.

  2. FUFatherEisenman says:

    I guess that is “was” one of the top 5 airlines in the world…

  3. BeccaM says:

    I knew both those roads so well, I could anticipate every turn before I got to them. And in the early 00s, I had a gorgeous Miata that made driving in those mountains a total joy. (Sold the car in ’06 when we were getting ready to live in India, a decision I both regret and know was necessary.)

    Actually, more often, we’d take the even shorter route from our former home in Boulder Creek when venturing into what we locals called “The Pit” (Silicon Valley and points north) — Bear Creek Road. If you want a twisty road, it’s that one. Until I got used to it, I literally would get carsick if I was a passenger.

    We did experience earthquakes, which was interesting, but nothing hugely destructive. And one reason we were able to buy a house is because in ’98, prices were still somewhat post-Loma depressed. Rain though… During our first winter there, it was an El Niño year, and we got so much rain, there were several times when literally there was no passable road out of Boulder Creek. Rt 9 closed in both directions, Bear Creek Road gone in places. Although no year was as bad as that one when we were still there, the winter rains almost always brought road closures with them, and a need for us to be sure to keep the trees around our house well-trimmed. (A redwood branch once smashed our parked car, totaling it; we built a super-strong carport after that.)

    One winter a few years later, we had some heavy rainstorms which toppled an entire stand of mature redwoods on our 10 acre property. We had ’em hauled up and milled into lumber, and as a consequence, I also found a really old downed old-growth log (lightning struck, looked like, and in the woods easily for 20 years or more, because a lot of it was rotten), which we had milled and slabbed. Last summer, I finally turned one of the slabs we’d been saving (we sold off most of them, but kept the best four) into a desk for myself. Photo below–

  4. Ninong says:

    I used to love driving down Hwy. 9 instead of 17 every now and then because of all the redwoods, but 9 is so twisty and you have to watch out for drunk drivers who can’t judge the turns. I had a friend who lived in Los Gatos and another one who taught at UCSC who lived close to Boulder Creek. The problem with that area, as I’m sure you know, is the mudslides in the winter. And the occasional 7.0 earthquake.

    I lived in SF during Loma Prieta in a one-year-old, 10-story, condo building and we had only very minor damage but from my bedroom window I could see the fires burning in the Marina District and hear the sirens of all the emergency vehicles. And, of course, nobody had power for a little over two days. That meant no elevator service.

  5. SkippyFlipjack says:

    They underwent a complete revamp a decade ago, specifically because their flight reputation was so bad and as a nation wanted to be a global player. Asiana has been one of the top 5 airlines in the world in terms of safety for the past five years.

  6. BeccaM says:

    No, I moved to the area in ’97.

  7. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Apologies. Proceed.

  8. Monoceros Forth says:

    A FOX affliated station is “liberal”? On what planet?

  9. Ferdiad says:

    Ah, once it again we see that the liberal media has no problem making racist jokes about Asians or anyone that isn’t black.

  10. zorbear says:

    Although it seems obvious in this case, “pilot error” is the go-to excuse for all incidents. And if the pilot dies, it’s pretty much guaranteed…

  11. zorbear says:

    I found out a long time ago that if you don’t read your copy out loud, you’ll miss a LOT of stuff that should be obvious.

    Just saying…

  12. Ninong says:

    Were you living there for Loma Prieta?

  13. Ninong says:

    Just setting the record straight for John and other journalists who keep calling KTVU a San Francisco station. I lived in Oakland in ’78 and ’79 and that was enough. That was back when East 14th Street was called East 14th Street. Changing its name doesn’t seem to have helped any.

  14. Julien Pierre says:

    I’m not so sure how good South Korean airlines’ safety record really is.

  15. SkippyFlipjack says:

    um.. I actually happen to live in Oakland, but thanks for the geography lesson.

    I was quoting the Daily Show’s joke. I guess you didn’t watch the video.

  16. BeccaM says:

    Gah… I wish embedded Comedy Central videos didn’t start automatically playing.

    Anyway, I remain amazed that those Oakland station broadcasters — and their producers, and the chyron typists and everybody else — didn’t see the obvious (and extremely juvenile and racist) joke.

  17. BeccaM says:

    True, but that’s because they maintain their planes much, much better than American airlines (generic, not the specific company…but they’re included) do, plus they don’t run their pilots into the ground with ridiculous schedules and crappy pay.

    On the other hand, I was reading an account over on dKos that one thing the South Korean pilots don’t do is learn to truly fly their planes without all of the automatic aids. American pilots are well-trained in visual approach landings because, well, quite a few of our airports don’t have the automatic glide path systems… or will turn them off during good weather.

    In the case of the Asiana flight, the SFO systems were off for maintenance, a decision based on the fact the weather was fine. So you have a pilot who isn’t used to visual approach landings in general, and unfamiliar with the handling of the Trip-7 aircraft because he was in training for that model… I’d be happy to be proven wrong, but I’d wager pilot error will be deemed the cause of the crash.

    I’m just glad there were so few casualties. It could’ve been far, far worse.

  18. BeccaM says:

    As a former Bay Area resident (Santa Cruz mountains), I often ran into people who assumed I actually lived in San Francisco, when in fact we were roughly equidistant between San Jose and Santa Cruz.

    I imagine folks in all the towns near NYC get the same thing.

  19. Ninong says:

    Do you remember when that BART cop shot and killed Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale station in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009?

    The name San Francisco or San Francisco Bay Area kept popping up in the news in spite of the fact that B.A.R.T. stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit — San Francisco isn’t even part of the name. Yet the national news insisted on calling the cop who did the shooting “a San Francisco transit police officer” or “a San Francisco Bay Area transit police officer.” He was a BART cop! The shooting took place in Oakland, California.

    By the way, the BART cop in question was released from prison in L.A. last month after service one year of his two-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter.

  20. stardust says:

    Don Henley – “Bubble headed bleach blondes come on at five, telling us about a plane wreck with a gleam in her eye”
    does this lyric apply to her or what?

  21. Indigo says:

    Good to know.

  22. Ninong says:

    Once and for all, the crash happened at SFO but the station that is making all the news for reporting joke pilot names is in Oakland. It’s not a San Francisco station and never has been. It’s an Oakland station. It claims to cover San Jose/San Francisco/Oakland but all Bay Area stations cover the Bay Area.

    No one would think of calling Channel 4 or Channel 5 or Channel 7 an Oakland station, because they’re not, they’re San Francisco stations: NBC, CBS and ABC. I can’t blame Channel 2 for trying to pretend it’s not in Oakland, but it is. To paraphrase Bette Davis: But you *are*, Channel 2! You *are* in Oakland! And you’re a Fox station!!

  23. karmanot says:

    OAKLAND! Fox affiliate.

  24. Ninong says:

    It was Oakland, so don’t expect too much. And, they’re the local Fox affiliate. Maybe that anchor lady is in training to join Fox and Friends?

    The crash was at SFO but the station that Fuk’d up is in Oakland. That’s in the East Bay. It’s not part of San Francisco.

  25. Ninong says:

    Oakland, not San Francisco. Channel 2 is an Oakland station. They are located in Oakland and that’s where they have always been located since the 1950’s. They have NEVER been a San Francisco station. They brag that they cover San Jose/San Francisco/Oakland but they’re still in Oakland, in spite of the fact that there is no there there.

  26. SkippyFlipjack says:

    funny, “you stay classy, San Francisco” was the joke that basically everyone whose ever seen ‘Anchorman’ made after hearing about the pilot name screwup. sort of expected more…

  27. Indigo says:

    Real grown up, San Francisco. Real grown up.

  28. nicho says:

    Oliver was good, but Colbert left something to be desired. Despite this accident, South Korean airlines still have a safety record that is head and shoulders above the US and way above the aviation industry in general.

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