Stephen Colbert Hits Rain-Soaked NYC Rally To Support WGA, SAG-AFTRA & Animation Guild: “We Have To Win”


The hand-drawn picket signs were, like several of the people carrying them, wrapped in waterproof plastic at a rain-soaked march in New York City on Tuesday afternoon. But a passer-by could still see the images: Bender, the cranky robot from Futurama; BoJack, the half-equine hero of BoJack Horseman; Courage, the pink-hued canine star of Courage the Cowardly Dog; and several more beloved cartoon and animation characters going back the original, Mickey Mouse. 

The sky opened up on a Writers Guild of America’s march celebrating animation writers, but the toon-themed demonstration with about four dozen picketers outside the Manhattan offices of Warner Bros. Discovery went on right through the deluge. Naveh Halperin, aka DJ Subway, provided weather-themed tunes, and there was free ice cream being served from under a tent by The Late Show host Stephen Colbert. 

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Colbert told Deadline that he was at the rally to lend support to striking writers, actors and animators and that as a kid he watched a lot of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullkwinkle and Friends. Here he is peaking with Deadline about the strikes:

On the 85th day of the writers strike, and the 12th day of the SAG-AFTRA strike, the refusal to quit a scheduled WGA protest in the face of bad weather was a heartening sign for one marcher. “It’s, what, Week 13 of the strike, and people are out here in a thunderstorm,” said Greg Iwinski, a WGA East council member and writer for talk shows including The Late Show

One animation writer, David Steven Cohen, called both the occasion and the whole strike “unfortunate fun.” 

“I can’t think of better people to walk around in the rain [with] and celebrate the work we do while stating our case to the world,” said Cohen, a head writer for Courage in 1999-2002. Cohen noted that he acquired his Writers Guild membership not through animation but from his previous work writing live-action programming. The scribe, who spent Tuesday afternoon marching or playing a melodica along to tracks on DJ Subway’s playlist, said that a lot of the script work in animation is freelance, with writers earning a few thousand dollars per episode and trying to string enough episodes together to make a living. Whether any of them belongs to WGA or another union, The Animation Guild, is determined on a show-by-show basis.

Cohen wants all of his peers in animation writing to have the same deal he does. “These are dedicated people … and they deserve all the protections that the Guild can provide them,” he said.

Scott Shilstone and Natalie Sitek contributed to this report.

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