Oct. 4, 2013 at 9:43 AM ET
Pretty much nothing stops Stephen Colbert, and that includes a government shutdown. So when a to-be-married couple (whose plight was covered by TODAY Wednesday) discovered their wedding location at the Jefferson Memorial was now off-limits, "The Colbert Report" host leaped into the breach — and married them on Thursday night's show.
Mike Cassesso and MaiLien Le had slated their October wedding for Saturday in Washington, D.C., and as Le had said to TODAY on Wednesday, she hadn't considered that the shutdown would affect them. "I wasn't worried about the government shutting down; I was worried about rain," she said.
Colbert said he was particularly moved by Cassesso and Le's story, noting, "It caused a shutdown in here," and tapped his chest.
"Well, Nation," Colbert (who is an ordained minister, and showed off his certificate from the American Marriage Ministries) told his audience, "I promised you on Night One of the shutdown that as leader of the Colbert Nation and Earl Lord of the Afterscape, I would provide all canceled government services, and that includes weddings."
After bringing out Cassesso and his groomsmen and doing a bachelor party round of shots, he got a celebrity to stand in as best man: Smokey Bear, who thanks to the furloughs has some free time on his paws. Next came Le's bridesmaids, another round of shots and the grand entrance of bride Le. Well, after a short delay in which Colbert had to track her down in a dressing room, where she admitted she was nervous about getting married on TV.
"Don't you ruin this for me!" he told her. "This is my special day!" So they did some more shots, and she found her courage, walking out carrying the show's recently-won Emmy as her bouquet.
But Colbert wasn't done: He'd invited guests to help with the service, including "Homeland's" Mandy Patinkin (who sang the Hebrew blessing "The Shehecheyanu" and got a plug in for the new season of his show) and Tony winner Audra McDonald (who sang Billy Idol's "White Wedding" as a ballad).
"Happy shutdown, everybody!" crowed Colbert at the end. And the happy couple? Very happy, based on Cassesso's tweet later: