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May 05, 2006


Drink two beers and watch it again. It was funny.

Colbert's roast had its good and bad moments, and it is true that some people are overreacting. But I just don't understand why you obsess about that.

Furthermore, Colbert's routine may have gone over the edge as far as Washington standards, but if you (as in Bush, etc.) can't laugh at a joke, that probably just means there's more truth to it than you'd like. It takes little courage to bash Bush around friends, family, and the internet community; however, it takes a lot to do it in front of Bush and a large number of administration officials.

...Scalia was laughing.

I agree with Alan, the monologue is actually quite funny. The press conference video after it isn't that amusing, but the first segment is generally excellent satire (and I'm not some far-leftie either). One heavy influence on the perception of public humor is public reception-- if an audience is laughing, material seems funnier, and with no laughter, material seems stale. The awkward response Colbert received from the group he was lampooning heavily determines many viewers' responses. I'd say the same principle would apply if Colbert were presenting in front of a bunch of cheering (not laughing) Kos fans. If audience reaction strongly affects your perception of the material, try reading the transcript, where audience reaction (and Colbert's sometimes questionable delivery) have no effect. In the written work, absurd jokes and clever touches abound.

With that said, I'd agree with the larger observation that what the left likes about the speech is not the humor but the reaction of the press and the president. I think the Colbert bit would be nowhere near as popular as it is now had Bush et al been cracking up throughout. There's definitely a sense of catharsis and "speaking truth to power" in the posts on this topic on lefty blogs. The Daily Howler had a good post a few days ago about the left's reaction to the speech and complaints that the press paid more attention to Imus's bashing of Clinton.

Have we considered the possibility that "was it funny?" is not really the right question to ask to evaluate this performance? Although some of the material is taken directly from episodes of the "colbert report" i actually think the meaning changed becuase the genre and the context did. I wouldnt compare this to latest The Daily Show shenanigans, The Colbert Report, or, say, "Spin City" but rather in style and tone to A Modest Proposal... ie not entertainment but political satire. And when political satire is on point, its "jokes" are not always funny, they can be, instead, direct and grim, interspersed with occasional laughs, which is exactly what this speech was.

The significance of the event is related to how the Bush administration has controlled the media and Bush's message and image.

Here's a quote from a little book called All the President's Spin:

Dan Bartlett, Bush's Communications Director, was more explicit: "At press conferences, you can't control your message."

It was a rare moment that was similar. Colbert controlled the moment, and Bush was helpless to respond. He couldn't control the message. That's what's significant about the speech. And the way it was crafted, the Whitehouse was unable to respond.

It's hilariously funny, unless you're the butt of the jokes. That would include the Kewl Kidz of the media elite, and, it appears, those youngsters whose greatest ambition is to someday sell out and join them.


I haven't seen Stephen Colbert's performance, actually I had never heard of this guy before I read your posts about him and the response he got from liberals. Still I agree that liberals become increasingly as one-sided, intellectually dishonest and mean-spirited as the conservatives they despise. Just look how "Barry" for an example calls you a sold-out because you don't find Colbert funny.

I laughed pretty hard. Humor is in the eye of the beholder I suppose. (shrugs)


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