Stephen Colbert awesomely calls out Iowa Republican and avowed homophobe Steve King – who says gays and lesbians need to have their sexual orientation “independently verified”– by suggesting people send King “photos and / or videos proving that they’re gay.”
Of course, the Battle of New York is the first time everyone actually sees Captain America since the 1940’s.
Media predictably goes apeshit. Rumors are flying. Some people think it’s just a new guy wearing the suit - and okay, it’s not as if it wasn’t tried before. Everyone still remembers the eventual catastrophe that was William “Steve Rogers” Burnside in the 1950’s. It had taken Director Carter and the early SHIELD everything they had to bring him and his false Bucky down. And even in the end, there’s still a bit of mystery as to the mysterious sniper who had first killed the fake “Bucky” and then taken the fatal shot at Burnside that sent him into the waters below the Hoover Dam. Burnside’s body was never recovered.
But eventually, grainy pictures of Cap unmasked during the Battle of New York make it onto the Internet and that face is unmistakably the original Steve Rogers. There’s fancy face-matching programs that talking heads bring into the newsrooms showing that this isn’t somebody who had plastic surgery done. It’s either Cap somehow has an identical grandson or he is the real thing, somehow surviving all those years frozen in the ice.
So eventually, Captain America has to face the press and he has a very long talk with SHIELD’s PR people and eventually ends up consulting the lovely Pepper Potts, who, in Steve’s own words, is the one voice of sanity in this entire mess. Tony has Grand Ideas of how Steve should come out to the press but seriously, baldly walking down Main Street with “Back in Black” blaring and with red, white and blue balloons and streamers is just not Steve’s thing, ever, okay? Miss Pepper - Tony’s not serious, is he?
However, much to everyone’s amusement and Clint, by the way, was all “BWAHAHAHA, YOU GO, CAP” at this, Steve Rogers decides to formally announce his identity and lay all the rumors to rest in “the one news show in the entire country that actually makes sense and actually reports accurate news!”
Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show.
And okay, since Steve’s also supposed to do a “fluffier” interview kinda thing, he agrees to appear on the one other show that was “truly American.” That he manages to say this with a straight face, not cracking up until Clint and Tony thought he was actually fucking serious, was the first lesson the team learned that Steve Rogers was not completely the perfect “sweetheart” everyone thought he was.
Yep, Steve Rogers was going to appear on The Colbert Report too.
Okay, no, really, Steve’s aware that The Daily Show and its sister show The Colbert Report are comedic satires but he likes Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
That particular DailyShow episode was one of the most epic in its history. Yes, I’m really Steve Rogers. Yes, the original Steve Rogers - I fought with the Howling Commandos in World War II and yes, I did survive that plane crash in the Arctic. Super Soldier Serum did the work. I did get to punch Hitler 200 times but I never got to do that in Berlin. Well, I don’t miss polio, the Internet is incredibly helpful and I am so glad we don’t have to boil everything before we eat it now.
The Steve Rogers America meets in the Daily Show comes off as funny, endearing, charming and more than surprisingly snarky and sassy. Jon Stewart, after the initial fanboy reaction (can’t help himself), sasses and snarks back in typical fashion and he almost, almost gets Steve to say the word “fuck” on national television because of the Dodgers. They do, however, bond over New York pizza and Steve’s Brooklyn accent comes out in full force, which Jon matches.
The Colbert Report episode is known as “When Steve meets Stephen” and Rogers is outed as a fellow Tolkien geek, which nearly sends Colbert into an orgasm. Colbert manages to secure a promise from Rogers on lessons in how to throw the Captain America shield properly, gets Cap’s signature on his shield and the crowning moment of Colbert’s career is an actual sketch of Colbert himself, drawn by Steve Rogers.
Colbert lords this over Jon every chance he gets. “Rogers likes me better than you, Stewart! I’m breaking up with you now and I’m running away with Captain America and we’re going to raise our red, white and blue babies together!”
Steve ends up guesting occasionally on both shows, although these are shorter appearances, usually in some gag or the other or in response to some Fox News idiocy and soon enough #CaptainSassmerica is trending. It’s priceless.
The next time Steve Rogers appears for a longer interview on The Daily Show is when he officially ended the long speculation - so hotly debated in scholarly circles and in fandom - about his relationship with Bucky Barnes.
This happens some considerable time after the Triskelion and Ultron Incidents. The identity of the infamous DC Shooter is revealed to be the Winter Soldier a.k.a James Buchanan Barnes. Steve Rogers himself confirms that Barnes was essentially tortured, brainwashed, experimented on and deprived of all agency and choice in his time as HYDRA’s weapon and is pretty much the country’s longest held POW.
He gets most of the country’s support - though there are, of course, always people calling out for blood and less interested in the actual truth as they are in vengeance. #BuckyBarnesisNotaTraitor and #SaveBuckyBarnes become trending. After a long recovery, Bucky does eventually join Sam Wilson as one of the newest Avengers.
Of course, photos of Steve and Bucky being out and about in New York make it to the press and the internet and the fandom loses their collective minds. The affection between the two is “obvious” and “absolutely adorable” according to some. Homophobic trolls stoutly deny everything on the comms and blogs, some going for anonymous hate messages. The others plead for sanity and point out that Rogers and Barnes don’t owe anyone anything - forcing someone to out themselves is a shitty thing to do, this is nobody’s business but their own and both men have already been through enough.
But everyone knows that Rogers hates bullies with a passion, has appeared to support LGBTQIA+ groups, especially art programs, education and shelters for disadvantaged LGBTQIA+ youth and Barnes, who normally doesn’t talk to the press at all, finally breaks his silence after an idiotic, insulting question by a clearly homophobic reporter. “Steve and I used to live in one of the queerest neighborhoods in Brooklyn. They were our neighbors and our friends. What makes you think the two of us would have anything against ‘em?”
Bucky Barnes hated bullies too.
That quote, accompanied by a very Winter Soldier-y glare ends up turning into an internet meme.
And after that, both men end up being very active in their support for LGBTQIA+ rights. The rest of the Avengers have their backs.
So Steve appears on The Daily Show after a particularly blistering, offensive segment on Fox News that openly wondered as to whether he should be “stripped of his rank/title because clearly, Steve Rogers no longer represents America as it should be.”
For once, Jon Stewart actually sets aside the comedy and goes for an actual serious interview, that shames a lot of real news shows for the astonishing amount of research put into it and the sheer professionalism. He raises the fact that lately, Steve has been very visible in rallies supporting the Marriage Equality Act.
Steve responds. “You know, back in the day, this kind of thing wasn’t spoken about. I know good, decent people who had to hide who and what they are, had to watch their backs every day of their lives and all because they loved another man - “
“ - or another woman,” Jon adds.
“Yes, exactly. I know that there are people out there, right now, who still have to live in fear, who still face the kind of hate we went through in the 1940’s, who still wonder every day if there’s something wrong with them, if they need to be fixed." Steve’s expression clouds. "It ain’t right. Everyone deserves a chance to live their lives and be happy.”
"Gay marriage is legal in New York,” Jon points out. “And you said… we.”
"Yeah, I’m glad that Bucky and I could get married here in our city if we wanted to. Everyone else all over the country deserves that same chance.”
After a stunned silence, Jon stammers out, “You mean you… and Bucky Barnes?”
Steve’s mouth quirks that familiar, slightly lopsided, movie-star smile. “Yeah. Took us a while to get here but we made it, eventually.”
That moment ends up breaking Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube, to say nothing of The Daily Show website itself.
On The Colbert Report, a “heartbroken” Stephen Colbert congratulates Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes on their upcoming nuptials. Colbert starts sobbing noisily and ends up with several boxes of Kleenex and a tub of Ben and Jerry’s.
“I thought we were going to run off into the sunset together…. but! But! I can’t stand in the way of your everlasting love with Barnes. I’m…. so…. happy for you.”
Jon ends up “crossing over” and brings him more ice cream. They end up cuddling on the couch together.
- end -
Note: I just read the GLORIOUSNESS that is idrilka’s Tin Soldiers and I badly wanted to see Steve Rogers on my two favorite American news shows. Since we can’t actually have that, I did the next best thing. :P