Stephen Colbert gets wild with author Maurice Sendak

Jan. 26, 2012 at 12:24 PM ET

Comedy Central /
Children's author Maurice Sendak didn't hold back in his recent interview with Stephen Colbert.

Few can really stand up to Stephen Colbert when he's in his full "Colbert Report" character, but as it turns out, ornery author Maurice Sendak gives as good as he gets.

That's the lesson "Report" viewers learned this week as Colbert welcomed the man behind the kids' classic "Where the Wild Things Are" to his show for a two-part interview.

In part one, which aired Tuesday night, Colbert and Sendak swapped a series of rapid-fire barbs largely focused on children.

"(Kids) are just biding their time until we're gone and then they get our stuff," Colbert explained. "They take our place."

"It's an interesting point of view," Sendak said. "Not interesting to me, particularly …"

Not that Sendak was sticking up for kids with his quip. As he later revealed, he likes them about "as few and far between" as he likes adults. If that seems an odd stance from a children's author, he even grumped to Colbert that, "I didn't set out to make children happy!"

Wednesday night's follow-up made Tuesday's moments seem tame. During part two of the interview, or as Colbert called it, "The Grim Colberty Tales," the host inspired the 83-year-old author to argue, sing and give magic markers a magical try.

First Sendak gave his impressions of other writer's kiddie classics. His take on "Green Eggs and Ham"? "Good." And "Give a Mouse a Cookie"? "Ugh."

"I'm with you on that one," Colbert said. "You shouldn't give a mouse a cookie. The mouse should earn the cookie."

Or just go with Sendak's option: "You should open the door and say, 'Get the hell out of my house!'"

Later, Sendak set about the task of giving his interview rival some illustration tips, but even that took a strange turn.

"You ever sniff a marker?" Colbert asked.

"No. Is that a good thing?" Sendak responded while sniffing a marker.

"It's a cheap high," the host shot back.

Which might just explain Sendak's sudden urge to break into a few bars of "I remember Pearl Harbor…yadda-da-da-da-da."

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