When Stephen Colbert first announced the slate of Late Show guests for his premiere week, one act especially stood out: Troubled Waters, “the world’s preeminent Paul Simon tribute band” that was scheduled to perform Friday night. As it turned out, the Paul Simon tribute band was none other than Paul Simon, who was joined by the host for a joyous rendition of “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard.”
As Colbert told the audience, it was always a dream of his to whistle on the 1972 single live, but when he reached out to Simon about appearing on the show and letting him whistle during “Julio,” he was turned down. Thankfully, the Troubled Waters tribute band was able to step in. Colbert and Simon push the ruse to its limit as the host forces the singer to say out loud, “Paul Simon is a bit of a jerk.” For the performance itself, Simon opened things up before Colbert took over, expertly whistling, energetically dancing and even singing the track’s second verse.
Almost immediately after Colbert announced Troubled Waters would close out his opening week, rumors about the mysterious group’s true identity began to circulate. Troubled Waters had no Internet presence outside of an obviously spoof website listing their 2012 tour dates as “Private Function (open to public)” and “Rosen Bar Mitzvah [canceled].” A 1-800 number for Troubled Waters led to an automated mailbox saying that the lawnmower that they had been posted on Craigslist was sold.
It soon became clear that Troubled Waters was a Late Show-concocted prank and not a real Paul Simon tribute band. In the end, they turned out to really be Paul Simon.