3 Times Colbert’s Political Humor Did Conservatives ‘Proud’
Stephen Colbert, the well-loved comedian with dual personalities is leaving behind his show, The Colbert Report and moving on to new things. It is of course a very sad day for fans of humorous but intense political commentary, and a more aggressive interview style. Jimmy Fallon is all very well, but he doesn’t ask some of the more pushy questions we’ve come to expect from Colbert, likely because their shows serve two very different comedic purposes.
Fallon leaves you with a warm, simple, fun sort-of feeling before you go to bed at night. Colbert makes you laugh at the absurdity of politics, while still leaving an important point behind — however sneakily he goes about it. There’s a reason Rush Limbaugh referred to him as a “covert assault on traditional American values.”
In honor of his departure — he’s headed into the last of his interviews — let’s look at some of the best political humor and satire from Colbert — starting with discussion even Fox-news-conservatives can get behind.
1. Relationship with Bill O’Reilly
Even if you aren’t a fan of Stephen Colbert or his political leanings, which are quite liberal, you have to admit that some highly amusing and conversations have been sparked by the sometimes-faux-sometimes-not animosity between the two political commentators. Each of them has taken aim at the other at one time or another. Colbert and O’Reilly banter over Colbert’s “imitation” of O’Reilly, with Colbert calling it instead an “emulation” in one rather memorable interview on The O’Reilly Factor.
They are the Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake duo of the Colbert Report (if Timberlake and Fallon hated each other a bit more, and Fallon was pretending to be Timberlake, but hitting flats and sharps with every song). It doesn’t quite rival the animosity between O’Reilly and Jon Stewart, but it has its moments.
It’s a relationship even Colbert has acknowledged as he prepares to leave, in a recent show saying “Oh, I am going to miss that good man,” then adding, “but no one’s going to pay me to watch him anymore, so fuck that noise!”
2. Roasting President George W. Bush
In 2006, Colbert took a break from his Republican critique on Comedy Central to critique Republicans at the White House. It’s hard, even with the help of numerous writers, to find the right balance of critical and airable, but he managed to do so while still hitting on the NSA, Iraq, and the president’s reputation as all guts and no brains. Not only does he have a rather tough audience, but he’s speaking to the president face-to-face throughout.
“I believe the government that governs best, governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq,” Colbert said, “I believe in pulling yourself up by our own bootstraps I believe it is possible. I saw this guy do it once in Cirque Du Soleil.”
Given the similar jokes we now hear about President Barack Obama, his humor on George W. Bush’s approval ratings were well-timed and witty, even having the President chuckling along — not that he had much of a choice. “Guys like us, we don’t pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in reality. And reality has a well known liberal bias,” said Colbert.
3. Interview with Jon Stewart
Liberals love both Colbert and Stewart, but while Stewart goes for the jugular, Colbert has a more indirect method of criticizing conservative ideas. He plays his character, and his character — a conservative — is jokingly critical of Stewart. Colbert previously worked under Stewart, which comes up during the interview, and it’s interesting to see the two very different styles mix. Both are witty in their own way, but it highlights their comedic tactics, and Colbert seems to call on some of his roasting talent for Stewart as well.
Discussing Iran and America’s relation to the Middle East, Colbert’s clever, comedic play-acting is highlighted quite clearly.
Stewart: “I know you’ve spoken about this before — that you very much want America to be the only country.”
Colbert: “Well, there is America, and then there are ‘countries.'”
Stewart: “It’s an admirable plan but rather than … killing everybody else, what if we were to co-exist with them in some type of fashion … but not in the sense of necessarily bending them to our will?”
Colbert: “But they will do what we say?”
One thing is for certain, Colbert, and his intelligent, unique take on political commentary, will be sorely missed, .
More Politics Cheat Sheet:
- The End of an Era: Saying Farewell to ‘The Colbert Report’
- Republicans and Women: Colbert Suggests Avoiding Eye Contact
- 7 Reasons We Love the New Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon
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