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‘War Between the Carolinas’ ignites on ‘Late Show with Stephen Colbert’

Why do people get so defensive about BBQ in the Carolinas?

Charlotte Observer food writer Kathleen Purvis explains what happens every time she writes about BBQ - and tells us the one thing that astonishes her every time she eats a barbecue sandwich.
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Charlotte Observer food writer Kathleen Purvis explains what happens every time she writes about BBQ - and tells us the one thing that astonishes her every time she eats a barbecue sandwich.

A “War Between the Carolinas” ignited on the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Monday night.

Colbert, who grew up in Charleston, S.C., traded barbs with guest Zach Galifianakis, the actor, comedian and writer from Wilkesboro, NC.

“Now, you and I have something almost in common,” Colbert said, before noting how outsiders often confuse which of the states a particular city or town is in.

When he tells people he’s from South Carolina, Colbert said, some reply, “ ‘Oh, yeah, I have some friends from Charlotte.’ “

“No,” Colbert said he tells them. “Go to hell. They’re very different states.”

To which Galifianakis replied: “I’m more proud of being from North Carolina than you should be from being from South Carolina.”

“Oooh,” Colbert replied. “Wow. Wow!”

Zach Galifianakis.JPG
A ‘War Between the Carolinas’ ignited on the ‘Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ this week. SC native Colbert couldn’t resist trading barbs with guest Zach Galifianakis, the actor, comedian and writer from Wilkesboro, NC. Screenshot of YouTube video

“Yeah, this is some inner-Carolina fighting right now,” Galifianakis said.

“The funny thing of it is, they think we are joking,” Colbert replied.

“We’re not,” Galifianakis agreed, before asking Colbert if he is biased against North Carolinians.

“No,” Colbert said. “I only have a thing against your barbecue.”

“Oh, now those are fighting words,” Galifianakis said.

Colbert recounted how NC Gov. Roy Cooper invited him to North Carolina to taste its barbecue “and I will punch you in the face, or something like that,” Colbert joked to audience laughter.

In January, Cooper responded to Colbert’s deriding NC barbecue lovers as “flavor-deprived bastards.”

Y’all have a mustard problem,” Cooper told him, McClatchy reported at the time.

On Monday night

On Monday night‘s show, Colbert said: “They’re really mad at me down in North Carolina. I love North Carolina. I love the Outer Banks. I love the mountains. I love everything about North Carolina other than that damn vinegar stuff that y’all put on the barbecue.

“You have perfectly fine, dry-rubbed smoked barbecue and then you come in there and just (expletive) all over it with vinegar. What are you doing?”

The tirade prompted Galifianakis to ask what South Carolina barbecue is, and Colbert replied that its sauce is mustard-based.

Galifianakis then defused the mock tension. “We can be different,” he told Colbert, before prompting audience laughter again by adding: “We don’t have to build a wall between us.”

What exactly IS Carolinas' BBQ? Here's what stands out (hint: it's not just the pork). Charlotte Observer food writer Kathleen Purvis explains.

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