About Mr. Colbert
Colbert is my favorite human on TV
I sometimes get e-mailed from a diehard Republican who disagrees with most of what is on this site. But I still consider him a nice enough guy..
He thinks the White House Press Corps is "hardly consertvative".
I said they were power groupies. They love power and politics are second.
Jon Stewart went after Crossfire like a boxer. Which is why he's unlikely to host such an event any time soon. He's nice enough to Republicans, defusing them with earnest humor, genuinely interested in their loopy argument. But I doubt he's angry at pols. He did a commercial promoting USA amateur soccer on Fox (he played in college), I know some people who hate Fox uniformly.
But his humor is more sly than ironic. He can listen well, but he can't hide his contempt.
Which is why Tucker Carlson was left gasping for air. It was like going 15 rounds and losing badly. A man who deals with drunks for a living is no one to play with.
Colbert is a different sort of person. He's a Catholic from a large Charleston family, who had a very hard time making money in comedy. Stewart has been successful since the mid-1990's. He was the talk show host in waiting for years, with a host of patrons from Howard Stern to MTV. He did movies. His success was a matter of being in the right place and time, But the talent was always there.
People wondered why he got the Daily Show gig, because he was supposed to be doing some kind of Late Night show. But he changed directions and made it not only his own, but the first real American counterpart to Not Necessarily The News, but original. They cut back on mocking celebrities and took on the media and the news, raising the IQ in the room by 75 points.
As late as 1997, Colbert was dirt broke. Stewart had already lost a late night series by then and been in a couple of movies.
The Daily Show was his big break.
As a Southerner, he's far more familiar with the world of true believer Republicans than most comics, especially the New Jersey born Stewart. So he can fake that creepy enthusiam of blind loyalty because he knows it.
But beneath that is real anger. Stewart managed to host the Oscars and not piss off the room.
Colbert hosted the White House Correspondent's Dinner and pissed off the entire crowd and loved it.
Washington likes their political humor lame, like MarkRussell and the Capitol Steps, which only people in Washington actually like. They want court jesters, not people playing for keeps. Which he was.
The fact was that his great offense was not in attacking the President. Bush can get pissy at the drop of a hat. It was going after the media. Laura Bush got huffy as well.
Thye self-image of Washington reporters is that of heroes who are protecting the Republic. They are deeply offended when people suggest otherwise.
Colbert called them cowards and suckups and that hurt. They aren't used to being attacked so directly, in such an indirect way. He didn't rant, but he sure as shit showed his contempt for these people.
The smart thing he did was to ridicule the true believers, the fawning folks who Bush loves to hear from.
Colbert could have just tossed some nasty comments at them, but that would have been artless. Instead, he took Bush's favorite form of communication, unlimited praise, and turned it on them with the skill of a commando, sneaking in, setting the charges, then walking away to watch the mayhem.
Whereas Stewart can be brutally confrontational when he chooses, Colbert does it in a different way, a much more humiliating way. Instead of coming out swinging, he uses obsequiousness to shame you, to point out your flaws and errors in a way which people cannot miss. Before you realize it, you're on the the floor, staring up, with his hand on your throat.
When you get beat by Stewart, you know you've had your ass kicked. There's blood on the floor, and he still looks pissed. When you get beat by Colbert, and he beat that room, you know something bad happened, but he's got a smile on his face and you hurt bad, but aren't sure
Update: Our friend Robert George, defender of racists, didn't like Colbert either
Huffington Post colleagues Peter Daou and Chris Durang are frustrated and incensed at the media for ignoring Stephen Colbert's ascerbic routine at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.Oh please, he liked Straight out of Compton like I think Joe Torre is a great manager. He says that, but I bet he hasn't played it in years. My bet is that Amerikka's Most Wanted, a better album on every count, was too much for him. But then, he can endorse meaningless issues of black culture while defending whites calling for the genocide of black babies with a clear conscience. Which is kinda like being part of a German WWII reenactors group but missing Saturdays to go to temple.
They chalk it up to the (in their view) compliant MSM and its preference for buying into the preferred conservative view of politics:
The media's ignoring Colbert's effect at the White House Correspondents Dinner is a very clear example of what others have called the media's penchant for buying into the conservative/rightwing "narrative."
The rest was really forgettable: What should have been an applause line -- "Misery accomplished" -- just bombed because his timing was off. He admitted to blowing the set-up of his "glass half-empty" joke about polling. And then, the ridiculous clip at the end where he is supposed to be the new White House press secretary being stalked by a vigilant Helen Thomas? Huh?
I say this not as an ideologue. I am someone who has enough of an appreciation of popular culture that I will praise good art/entertainment whether I agree with the political or philosophical view point expressed.
I loved NWA's Straight Outta Compton, though I don't necessarily ascribe to the notion of takin niggaz out with a flurry of buckshots or doing whatever it was with the police.
Colbert was awful because -- to use a sports metaphor -- he didn't have a second pitch. His schtick on The Colbert Report is to be a pompous faux right-wing/populist talk show host, an ersatz Bill O'Reilly. And it works in a one-on-one setting for half an hour, regardless of whether the other "one" is the camera, or whomever is the guest foil.
Robert, Bill Bennett doesn't like black people, no matter how much he smiles in your face. And Colbert was funny because he went after those puffed up assholes who report on the White House, whom most Americans, regardless of party, hate.
I don't think you found him funny because he was too close to the bone for you. After all, he's making fun of your supporters, the Bush loyaltists glad they have you on their side, so they can say "they're not all like Jackson and Sharpton". And they do say that, not to your face, but it's there and we both know it.
Oh, and as the son of immigrants, I bet you stand with your friends as well, even though they could turn your relatives into felons for being in the US.
You know, you can pretend, like many Latinos, that the conservatives are equal oppoirtunity, and they have an open door for all people. But when they talk about immigrants, are they talking about the people you know, hard working people who chose to be Americans? Like the ones you see every day, or a brown tide coming to take back California for Mexico.
Well, they got a shock. And so did the Washington Press Corps.
posted by Steve @ 5:44:00 PM