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Colbert New Comic-in-Chief 939

scottzak writes "Hail to the Chief! Stephen Colbert addressed the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday (attended by the President, the elite of Washington politics, and the White House Press Corps) and told the truth. Jaws dropped. Eyes popped. The live audience gasped. Scalia laughed his ass off. You want to see a brilliant comic display some real courage? Look no further. Enjoy the reaction shots, and Colbert's audition for Press Secretary job." The BBC covers the act just prior to Mr. Colbert's, where the President and a look-alike took turns making fun of his speaking skills.
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Colbert New Comic-in-Chief

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  • Poor Colbert? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crazyjeremy ( 857410 ) * on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:34AM (#15235089) Homepage Journal
    I find it odd that the only people in politics that "say it how it is" can be found on the comedy channel. It's almost... funny.

    What's sad is, once he does say it how it is, he loses the room...

    • Re:Poor Colbert? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:45AM (#15235128)
      When there's more news content on Colbert/Daily Show than on the evening newscast, which is more dead, journalism or irony?
    • Worth a watch (Score:5, Informative)

      by lightyear4 ( 852813 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:54AM (#15235151)
      Oh he didn't entirely lose the room. Far from it, considering the exceptionally dry speakers preceding the Bushes and Colbert. (All praise the invention of fast forward). Colbert's greeting of Scalia, comments regarding Fox, boxing a glacier, DC the mallowmar city, Plame, and Helen-Thomas-the-stalker were all priceless. The interviews of the press corps in their little caves and 'presidential humor - cspan style' segments were great too. By all means watch it if you haven't.
    • by mindaktiviti ( 630001 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:02AM (#15235178)
      "People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke." --Will Rogers. Seems oddly appropriate.
    • Re:Poor Colbert? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Yst ( 936212 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:11AM (#15235367)
      I think Jon Stewart and Tucker Carlson cut to the heart of the matter in their famous exchange. Namely, when Carlson seemed to attempt to challenge Stewart on the basis of the contention that his comedy show had journalistic standards no better than those of mainstream journalism:

      CARLSON: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you're accusing us of partisan hackery?

      STEWART: You're on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls. What is wrong with you?


      STEWART: If you want to compare your show to a comedy show, you're more than welcome to ... If that's your goal ... I wouldn't aim for us. I'd aim for "Seinfeld." That's a very good show.
    • by jesterzog ( 189797 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:21AM (#15235386) Homepage Journal

      I find it odd that the only people in politics that "say it how it is" can be found on the comedy channel. It's almost... funny.

      It seems like a standard dilemma to me. Comedians such as Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart have nothing to lose. They're certainly not going to lose popularity with their audience, and if anything will gain more followers. They'll probably never have another chance to do what they've done, but they probably wouldn't have anyway.

      For journalists and news networks on the other hand, the nature of how the competition works means they have everything to lose. If a journalist steps too far outside the bounds of what the government considers "acceptable" for a journalist, they probably won't be allowed in again... unless everyone does the same thing at once making it impossible for the press secretaries to ignore, which seems unlikely. Access to high government officials is everything to many news networks, especially the larger ones, so getting the network rejected could spell a big demotion if not the end of a journalist's career.

      • by mrraven ( 129238 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:46AM (#15235466)
        When Edward R. Murrow brought down McCarthy he was lionized. When Cronkite read the number of soldiers killed in Vietnam he was lionized for telling the truth. It's not that modern reporters can't show guts, it's that they they don't chose to show guts, i.e. they are a bunch of sniveling cowards afraid of losing their fat corporate sponsored pay check. Ironically though as history shows those that show leadership don't end up losing their pay check but go on to greater rewards. Our current batch of blow dry "news anchors," though aren't real reporters and perhaps don't even have the mental tools to show leadership. Hopefully the rise of indy media, blogs, and being humiliated by "fake news," etc will shake them from their complacency in the long run, and they will hire some real reporters and we will receive some real news. One can always dream and in the meanwhile their is the internet and the comedy channel.
        • by demachina ( 71715 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:05PM (#15237588)
          "When Cronkite read the number of soldiers killed in Vietnam he was lionized for telling the truth"

          In fact the country had already largely turned on the Vietnam war by the time he acted. It would have been a bit braver if he had exposed Vietnam as a failed policy a few years earlier. Cronkite did help take down LBJ but the war continued on for another 5 years before it was lost, so he didn't really make much of a difference.

          In some respects it feels kind of like Iraq where the media didn't let out a whimper when the foundation was laid for the bloody and expensive disaster, they waited until it was obviously a bloody mistake and now they are piling on against it now that its too late to do anything about it (i.e. the two options now being stay the course or withdraw and watch Iraq explode in civil war).

          "When Edward R. Murrow brought down McCarthy he was lionized."

          On Murrow you are totally misrepresenting reality. Murrow, Friendly, "See it Now" and others at CBS paid a dear price for what they did.

          Don Hollenbeck, was another CBS news anchor who lauded Murrow's attack on McCarthy on air. He was eviscerated by right wing editorials for the next 3 months and branded as a communist. He then committed suicide in a gas oven.

          Murrow and Friendly continued attacking sacred cows in that 1954-1955 season, including an expose on a Texas land scandal that infuriated their main sponsor, Alcoa, which pulled their funding and put the nail in the coffin for "See it Now".

          Many of the people involved in the McCarthy expose were laid off.

          Walter Pally and CBS corporate felt Murrow and Friendly overstepped their bounds on McCarthy and throughout their controversial 1954-1955 season and that they were making news rather than reporting it. They pulled See It Now from their prime time slot and stuck them on Sunday afternoon in a form of putting them out to pasture as they ran out their contract.

          Murrow eventually became completely disillusioned with TV news, precisely because of the pressures to make it entertaining, profitable, to avoid controversy and to avoid alienating corprate sponsors.

          What Murrow and Friendly did was brave beyond belief but the retaliation that followed created a precedent that served to discourage journalists and networks from attacking the power that be, especially when it involved their sponsors.

          In a more recent CBS precedent there is Dan Rather's recent attempt to expose George W's borderline criminal National Guard record. Unfortunately they relied on a forged letter to support their story which was wrong. But ... it is likely the forged letter was essentially accurate, the commanding officers secretary said its content was quite plausible. Its just most of the incriminating evidence in his record was most probably purged by Bush operatives, something that was especiallay easy to do when Bush was governor of Texas and commander in chief of the Texas national guard. Rather was of course driven out of the CBS anchor chair and the producer was fired.

          "they will hire some real reporters and we will receive some real news"

          It would run completely counter to how news networks work today. They are competing for audience with 50 other TV channels, games, internet, etc. The only successful news shows are going to be the most sensationalist ones, pandering to what their audience wants to see, and most of their audience wants to see celebrity scandals. Most audience also have a massive case of cognitive dissonance, they want their news to reinforce their world view not disrupt it. Thats why Fox is the #1 cable network, lots of people watch Fox because Fox says what they want to hear, America #1 in particular.

          Journalists can only attack Presidents when their poll numbers are in the toilet because then they know the majority of their audience wants them to attack the President then. When a President's poll numbers are riding high they generally dont touch them. Journalists are at the head of the like supportinh going to war as long as their is a patriotic fervor whipped up for it, and then journalists can turn against the war when it turns long, bloody and costly and the public has already started to turn on it, like Cronkite did.
    • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:34AM (#15235423) Homepage Journal
      The story's premise was that it's possible to measure the percentage of truth in a statement.

      Physical science papers and textbooks were only in the 90-95% range. If you said the age of the Eath was 4,388,765,309 years, for example, that might be 100% true but you'd never get published. In other fields, the socially tolerable level of truth was far lower.

      The story's punch line was that only two groups of people were socially permitted to make 100% truthful statements: research mathematicians, and comedians.

      (Also look up the history of "court fools").
    • Re:Poor Colbert? (Score:3, Insightful)

      Actually no. Witty satire has often been an important part of exposing the public to political movements. (I've always been a fan of G.K. Chesterton) Your comment reminds me of a recent Article by ol' Dvorak:

      No sense of humor. Today's papers have no collective sense of humor or fun. This is partly because of the [Pulitzer style] J-schools and the need to be "professional." I haven't seen anyone laugh in a newsroom for decades. This may come from political correctness, or perhaps from some public-guardia

    • Re:Poor Colbert? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by orthogonal ( 588627 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:30AM (#15235536) Journal
      I find it odd that the only people in politics that "say it how it is" can be found on the comedy channel. It's almost... funny.

      There's historic precedent: in Imperial Rome, often the only public criticism of the Emperor came from comedians and satiric poets.

      Additional comparisons to Rome after the fall of the Republic are left to brave commentors. (But hint: never-ending Proconsulships in the Middle East, a rubber stamp Senate ignored by the Emperor [].)
    • Re:Poor Colbert? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @09:23AM (#15236334)
      Yeah, everybody I know adores the performance, someone even opened a website [], but look what I read New York Daily News:

      As for the after-dinner entertainment, the conventional wisdom was that Bush killed with his self-mocking routine -- "The President was fantastic," gushed staunch Dem Patricia Duff -- while the hired talent, Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert, bombed badly. "It was an insider crowd, as insider a crowd as you'll ever have, and he didn't do the insider jokes," said BET founder Bob Johnson

      WTF?! Bombed? Maybe with the crowd, but he was bloody brilliant. Fucking balls of steel to say what he did with the president a few feet away. Most other comediens would turn on the fake chuminess, "oh schucks, you know I'm just kidding" after every bland joke, and then kiss and make up with old Georgy boy.

      WTF is with the NY Daily! Really, every other blogger is praising Colbert like nobody's business.
      • Re:Poor Colbert? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by schtum ( 166052 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:53AM (#15237485)
        Well, they're right. He did outsider jokes. So outsiders, such as ourselves, ate it up while the insiders squirmed uncomfortably in their seats. He basically stood up there and told everyone in the room that they suck at their jobs, and then proved it by providing more insight in 10 minutes of comededic monologue than most of the people in that room have given us in their entire careers.
  • Torrent (Score:4, Informative)

    by remembertomorrow ( 959064 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:36AM (#15235096)
    Here is the torrent link: []
  • by nanop ( 155318 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:38AM (#15235102)
    Crooks and Liars doesn't have the full footage. Instead, check out the 3 segments on youtube: []

    The transcript is also available here: []
  • The BBC? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Steve Ballmer's Fat ( 641246 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:40AM (#15235110)
    WTF? That BBC article was not only pointless, but about three paragraphs long. At least post an article that discusses the topic, like maybe... E&P story []
  • Cajones (Score:5, Funny)

    by PaulQuinn ( 171592 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:40AM (#15235113)
    All I could think watching this, with Colbert never wavering, never holding back, never hurrying his words, was this man has balls.

    Big, brassy, get-put-on-a-no-fly-list, cajones.

    And kudos for being kinda funny too.
  • Torrent link (Score:4, Interesting)

    by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:43AM (#15235119) Homepage
    For the love of God, save this guy's poor server, and use a torrent [] instead. Remember to seed after you're done downloading. there's a pretty big demand for this clip.

    Be forewarned however... the torrent contains the entire C-Span broadcast of the event. Colbert's speech starts around the 54 minute mark. Some of the other bits are pretty funny, including bush playing along with an impersonator, although absolutely nothing can beat Colbert's speech. Watch it. It's funny on so many levels. I've never seen such a huge disconnect between a comedian and his audience -- it took some major guts to do what he did.

    I think this one's going to go down in the history books, and is by far the funniest thing ever broadcated on C-Span's airspace.
  • by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:46AM (#15235129)
    I gotta give him credit. He stood up there and pointed out failures not just with the administration, but with the Media as a whole.

    Well done.
  • Isn't it funny? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greg_barton ( 5551 ) * <greg_barton@y[ ] ['aho' in gap]> on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:47AM (#15235134) Homepage Journal
    Ain't it funny how Colbert is being ignored? This happened on Saturday. It was a biting, harsh criticism of Bush, to his face, in front of the nation's journalism establishment. Did it make the major news sites? Type "Colbert" into google news [] and see what pops up first thing. []
    • Re:Isn't it funny? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:36AM (#15235277)
      Two reasons its being ignored:

      1. The press is, generally, in Bush's pocket. Part of it is 9/11. Part of it is that war makes news organizations (and their parent companies) money. Its well known the Jack Welch pressured NBC news while he was CEO of GE. I would wager this has continued and expanded. (aside - It really says something about a president who can have such backing in the press and still manage to go down to the thirties in approval rating.)

      2. Colbert skewered the press as much as the president. He called them on not raising a fuss, not making waves. Why would they want to bring attention to their own short-comings?

      "But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!"

      A real journalist would probably recognize Colbert's performance as the only news-worthy thing to happen during the event. Here Colbert is providing the best politically satirical speech in years (a generation?) right in front of the bubble boy president. Of course, a real journalist would probably not attend these sort of "buddy up to the administration" events. The fourth estate (ideally) should provide a check on those in power.

      P.S. I love Colbert, but whats this doing on slashdot? I guess it is "news that matters" but not in any tech sense AFAICT.
    • by ShakaUVM ( 157947 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:00AM (#15235342) Homepage Journal
      Ignored? It's front page on the drudge report. []
    • NY Times (Score:5, Insightful)

      by caitsith01 ( 606117 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:27AM (#15235393) Journal
      Surprisingly enough, the article, which appears on the font of the NY Times website, doesn't even mention Colbert's name or make any reference to his performance. Instead it rambles about the Bush impersonator bit for the entire article.

      The Times can hardly be called a part of the great right wing conspiracy - so one must conclude that Colbert has pissed off the media establishment, rather than the conservative political establishment. Wait, I mean "as well as" the conservative political establishment.

      When you think about it, he's the only guy other than John Kerry who's had the opportunity to stand (effectively) face to face with Bush and tell him what he really thinks of 6 years of lousy policies. And he did a much better job than Kerry.
  • It is really worth the watch. Colbert starts about 40 minutes into the video. Get the torrent [] or watch it on youtube (part 1 [], part 2 [], and part 3). [] If you haven't seen the Colbert report - it is quite good. Comedy central has a bunch of videos []up - my favorite is the "know a district" ones.

    The Colbert Report is really high quality political humor, like the Daily Show with Jon Stewart - it is funny because so often it is true.
  • by DeadPrez ( 129998 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:00AM (#15235168) Homepage
    Is that the mainstream press coverage has mostly covered the Bush lookalike and not the pure political embrassment Bush suffered at the hands of Colbert. Perhaps the educated guess for this strange disconnect would be that the press hosts the event and it would be less noteworthy if the President stopped attending.
    • by DoctaWatson ( 38667 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:03AM (#15235181)
      Colbert skewered the press pretty strongly too. I'm thinking the news blackout has more to do with the mainstream media's own shame than any courtesy to the President.
      • I felt a similar feeling in my gut watching this as I did when watching the movie "V for Vendetta" ... that painful truths were being told in the guise of entertainment. And not enough attention has been paid to either, I'm afraid.

        In honor of Colbert's speech, I went and saw "V for Vendetta" again, and it's even better the second time. Given it's relatively lukewarm box-office numbers, here's hoping it does better on DVD. "Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November... The gunpowder treason and plot. I see
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:00AM (#15235172)
    The best part about this is that the funnier and more incisive he gets, the quieter and quietier and quieter the laughter gets.

    Too bad that nobody will hear about this except the people who read Slashdot, the people who watch Comedy Central, and the people who watch C-SPAN on saturday night. In other words, the exact people who are most likely to already agree with what Colbert is saying. Everybody else, well, everybody else will just hear about that part the BBC covered-- you know, the bit where Bush demonstrated what a down-to-earth, wouldn't-you-just-love-to-have-a-beer-with-me kind of guy he was by getting up on stage with a body double and deliberately mispronouncing words.

    Which means Colbert's little song and dance here doesn't really matter. All right, so somebody criticized the president to his face for the first time in four years. (No, Kerry at the 2004 debates doesn't particularly count.) Okay, so what? The 32% who still approve of Bush's job-- who are, after all, the only people who matter-- won't hear about this, and if they hear about it, they won't listen. The 2006 elections still will go to the Republicans, because even if everyone gets pissed off at Mr. Bush, they still won't like the incompetent, spineless democrats any better.

    The Republicans will continue to hold congress after 2006; nobody will ever investigate any of the laws Bush has broken; Bush will quietly leave office in 2008, Iraq will someday eventually get electricity and running water, and talk show hosts and revisionists will nostalgically talk about what a great leader Bush was until nobody remembers him as anything other than a second Reagan. (And how well do you remember the Reagan administration? Yup, that's what I thought.) Nobody will remember that freakish, depressing third half of the Bush presidency where major american cities were destroyed and the President was admitting to impeachable offenses on national television and nobody did anything about it. Everyone will just remember that first, inspiring part of the Bush presidency after september 11, when Bush said that God told him how to lead the country, and everyone believed him.
    • Really, now, if that 32% listened to *anything*, they'd have stopped approving of Bush by now. Colbert didn't imply anything that wasn't already public knowledge.

      We're down to the religious nutbags now. It's interesting, really, to see what percentage they make up, and I'm glad it's only 32... at one point I was worried it was in the 40s. Bush will have a really hard time losing these people, because they're the ones who believe that he was sent by God (as opposed to, say, reelected in a questionable and
      • by geminidomino ( 614729 ) * on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:07AM (#15235360) Journal
        It's interesting, really, to see what percentage [the religious nutbags] make up, and I'm glad it's only 32...

        You know, it scares the hell out of me that we've reached the point that we're glad only 1/3 of the population is composed of these fuckwits...
      • We're down to the religious nutbags now.

        The reason the Democrats will lose the White House again in 2008 is because they keep deluding themselves that only religious nutbags can possibly vote for a Republican. The Democrat Party is slowly but steadily losing its core, and if doesn't do something to stop the hemorrhage, the only thing left in a few years will be the fuzzy lunatic fringe. It's almost as if they want a single party state for the entire next generation.
        • Although religious nutbags are not the only ones who vote republican they all vote republican. If Jesus ran as a democrat the religious nutbags would vote against him.

          Who else votes for the republicans? Mostly idiots who believe the republicans when they say they are for fiscal responsiblity and smaller govt despite the fact that the only presients who ever shrank the govt in my lifetime were democrats and even Carter ran the economy better then Bush.

          So there you have it, religious nutbags and idiots. Alas
    • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:25AM (#15235526)
      Who care if the Republican are voted in again. Your answer seems to be the Democrats.

      Political Parties are not where it's at. It never was and never will be. And by "it", I mean answers for the future.

      In his farewell address as President, the other George (Washington), warned us against political parties. And since then, we promptly split into party lines: /49.htm []

      Have political parties ever spearheaded any worthwhile movement? Woman's suffrage? Civil Liberties? Hell, even Slavery? Not, if it cost them votes or it became the "right thing to do" with the public, meaning they got so late into the game as not to make a difference any longer. Look what parties make of issue these days to see the lack of courage in Washington to take any definitive action.

      Have political parties caused you to stop looking at who you are voting for, and instead make you vote down the party line? Congratulations, you played into their hands. Are all Republicans really that bad, as to be always worse than their Democratic counterparts? Or the other way around?

      Will it matter if the Democrats come in? Other than unions, won't they get funded by the same corporations as long as they follow corporate interests? And they will.

      Hell, Jesse Ventura was one of the better Governors that there was in a long time. I wouldn't have believed it if I haven't seen it, but he was. And he was independent and not a career politician.

      Why can't we vote more people like him in?

      Think Independent. And Vote Independent. The parties won't fix jack shit. They have all their fingers smeared by the same pie and are beholden to the same interests.
  • by Hamster Lover ( 558288 ) * on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:04AM (#15235182) Journal
    Stephen was in great form with such lines as:

    "Wow, what an sit here, at the same table as my hero, George W Bush. To be this close to the man. I feel like I'm dreaming. Somebody pinch me. You know what? I'm a pretty sound sleeper, that may not be enough. Somebody shoot me in the he really not here tonight?" (in reference to the Vice President) "The one guy that could have helped."

    That killed me. Later:

    "I believe in democracy. I believe that democracy is our greatest export. At least until China figures out a way to stamp it out of plastic for three cents a unit. As a matter of fact, Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong, uh welcome. You're great country makes our Happy Meals possible."

    Huge groan from the crowd on that one.

    He got some huge laughs, but some got no reaction and I can only assume that either those in attendance were brain dead and didn't get it or offended by his frankness. Either way, he was dead on and hilarious.
    • by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:07AM (#15235362) Homepage
      Yah, because the audience is *really* likely to laugh a Valerie Plame joke with Karl Rove (who could very well be indicted by the end of the month) sitting right there.

      No, they didn't laugh at what Colbert said because a lot of it cuts pretty close to home for those sitting in attendance. Case and point - when Colbert thanked the press for all the hard work they did during Bush's first term ignoring all his lies and misdeeds.

    • by courtarro ( 786894 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @08:47AM (#15236170) Homepage
      Part of the "illusion" of minimal crowd reaction was likely due to CSpan's audio configuration, which leaned heavily on the speaker and very little on the crowd. Since most comedy shows mic the crowd for cheering and laughter, it's somewhat strange to watch a comic when you can't hear that live reaction. I think that this is the case here, and I'm guessing the laughter was quite a bit stronger than it seems in the video.
  • by wh0me ( 823744 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:08AM (#15235197)

    I'm all for a skewering of authority, whoever happens to be at the helm. But, after viewing the whole video, while some of it has got to make some of the audience decidedly uncomfortable (note the camera cutting to Joe Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame!) I got the feeling that this is de rigeur for this kind of event, simply that we're paying more attentino because it's featured on Slashdot, BoingBoing, and wherever the hell else.

    So, how accurate is that perception?

    Has anyone seen one of these from years past? Even last year, with the war in full swing, there would have been sufficiently biting grist for a ballsy comic. Is older video of these annual press club dinners on C-Span or somewhere else? How biting is that commentary? How was it during Clinton's run? Or Nixon's?

    That's what the 'net is so great for... putting something like this into a very broad context, not just believing that Steven Colbert doing a bang up job here is the first and last time it's ever happened.

  • This cracked me up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:41AM (#15235290) Homepage
    I watched the video and this comment cracked me up: "I mean, nothing satisfies you. Everybody asks for personel changes. SO, the White house has personel changes. And then you write "oh, they're just re-arranging deck chairs on the titanic." First of all, that's a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. if anything, they are re-arranging deck chairs on the Hindenburg"
  • Colbert on 60 mins (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stalyn ( 662 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:46AM (#15235300) Homepage Journal
    Stephen was on 60 Minutes this Sunday. Link to video []. And the CBS text. []
  • by TheFlyingGoat ( 161967 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:48AM (#15235306) Homepage Journal
    Normally I like Colbert's stuff. Most of the time he's witty, intelligent, and makes me giggle like a schoolgirl.
    I watched the bit live on TV after I got sick of listening to the draft coverage. I don't blame most of the dignitaries for not paying much attention. His whole presentation must have gone on for 20 minutes or more, with 6-7 minutes of it being about that crazy (and fugly) White House reporter that always asks really stupid questions. Well this bit had him running across the entire Eastern seaboard just to get away from her questions about Iraq. Ok... I can understand turning that into a 30-60 second clip, since there were a few funny parts, but the remaining 5:50 was just him running and screaming. It was very underwhelming. There was actually almost a minute of him fumbling with his keys, trying to get it unlocked and started, just for the punchline of realizing he had remote keyless entry (funny, but not worth 60 seconds of leadup).

    As for the rest of his jokes, there were a few good ones, but they came after listening to a handful of poor ones. I actually wondered outloud to my wife that his normal writers must have been unavailable.

    Keep in mind when you watch the video that 99% of the guests at the press dinner were press, meaning they probably agreed with most of the things he said. However, there was audible laughing only a handful of times during the whole presentation. It was really a poor comedy routine to say the least, even if it did "stick it to the Administration".
  • Who'da thunk it? Here I was, smug that Monty Python exemplified very british values like self-mockery, and that the canadian export of comedians was because we're always trying to make up for coming last, and then americans go and prove that excessive blind jingoistic patriotism doesn't exclude a little poke in one's own eye now and then.

    Really! I've been saying that one thing that sets Canada apart from our important southern neighbOUrs is that we regularly have our leaders immolate themselves on the pyre of national comedy television, and you'll not see something like that in the land of the brave. I mean, it isn't entirely a hair shirt kind of penance that GW did, since it was an elite gathering for the Gang, and not explicitly a guest appearance at one's own national skewering, like Chretien letting Rick Mercer put extra pepper on his burger (Jean once commented on the pepper sprayings at APEC that he just liked it on his steak).

    Giving Colbert the lectern without a trap door, and doing the mumbling chimp routine with his doppleganger, that really took cojones. I haven't had that much political fun since Mary Walsh got Chretien to whack her with a golf club, in his own office.

    "By the way Mr. President, thanks for agreeing to be on my show" --one of the jokes. I mean why not? It's not like he doesn't have time. The guy gets more holidays than a perfesser.

  • Not his best form (Score:3, Interesting)

    by btempleton ( 149110 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:04AM (#15235353) Homepage
    Actually, I watch The Colbert Report fairly regularly, and I don't think he was as funny in this as he is on the show. The audience was laughing (the C-Span audio does not provide the audience at fairly high volume) though I would agree it probably wasn't as strong as the time I went to the correspondent's dinner during the Clinton years when Al Franken roasted Clinton. Franken dug pretty hard at Clinton for a democratic comic. ("You're going to take some hits," I remember him saying to the President.)

    This seems to happen a lot. You get somebody who has to be funny every night and does a good job, and then you give a big job, like this dinner or the Oscars with lots of time to prepare, and it doesn't seem like they do as well. Happened to Jon Stewart, to David Letterman and many others. Is it because of expectations? Or pressure?

    Anyway, watch the show for the real Colbert. The main thing that's interesting about this routine is that Bush is there taking it in, not entirely happy. But as I said, the time I got to go there were icy stares from Hilary at Franken's Whitewater jokes.
  • Colbert's routine reminded me a lot of Jon Stewart's performance at the Oscars (one of the only times I've ever even watched). What I saw that night was a decent and funny performance delivered to a crowd that was so full of itself that it could not emit a laugh. They were present for awards sans comedy.

    In Colbert's case, though, the crowd was most certainly attending for comedy. However, I think their blank stares were the result of hearing something they'd rather not. The dinner is always a roast and fun is always "poked." But... I think perhaps this went to a new level.

    I see one of two possibilities. One is that Colbert misjudged his audience and that's why his routine did not do well. Or, Colbert recognized that he was given a rare opportunity to speak directly to the President, in a public setting, and in a place where the President could not simply leave. *If* that is the case, then yes, it did take balls. Huge balls.

    Of course, unless Colbert actually comes out at some point in the future and makes known what his intentions were that night, we may never really know.

    I have to wonder what I might do in such a situation. Like many Americans, I do hold a certain respect for the office of the President, or for any elected office, I suppose. It's that respect which keeps most (though it seems less so lately) political discourse civil. But surely there comes a time when transgressions like Bush's reach a point where you need to take a stand, respectable office or no.

    Maybe this dinner was one of those times.

  • by grokgov ( 972024 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:39AM (#15235549)

    For serving as an example, telling it like it is, I've thrown together a site to collect thank yous for Mr. Colbert.

    Hopefully this site will help boost awareness of this story, which is already being distorted in the mainstream press.

    Go over and say thanks.
  • by ecorona ( 953223 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @04:41AM (#15235551) Homepage
    This video along with John Stewart's appearance on "Crossfire" should go into textbooks. As much as I like Colbert and John Stewart, how I wish they were not needed. How I wish the press were half as dedicated to the American people as they are to keeping their jobs. How I wish that fake news organizations that push the Government's agenda only existed in dystopian futurstic worlds in sci-fi novels. Fox news uses logical fallacies to justify Republican led efforts and demonize Democrats in general. Fox news is unofficially the Republican news channel. I stress that this wouldn't be as big an issue if they weren't dishonest in the way that they present their arguments. There is nothing wrong with having a different opinion, but convincing others of such opinions via malicious distortions of the truth is insidious. It should be called out with the full ferocity and scandal the press is capable of. This is dangerous for a "news channel" to do because some people don't even know what a logical fallacy is (maybe like 32% of people?).
  • by layer3switch ( 783864 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @06:20AM (#15235767)
    You guessed it (or not), Fox News. Not CNN, MSNBC or Bloomberg (yeah, I watch all of them). All of them except Fox News just mention Bush duble and that's it. Only Fox News had a take on Colbert's rip on Bush and Administration. Although the take was pretty much saying Colbert went overboard and bombed, but at least Fox News mentioned it in the news.

    Yeah, Fox News.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @07:35AM (#15235950)
    I saw it live, and when Colbert came on I said to myself "are they fucking stupid?!" Stephen Colbert is of course no fan of the president and I was suprised to see him hold his own up there as the audience refused to really laugh. Stephen bombed, not because he wasnt funny, or truthfull but because the audience seemed affraid to laugh.

    The whitehouse bit with Helen Thomas stalking him wasnt that funny. Stephen was funny overall though. It was interesting to see him be polite towards the president after having just said "the country doesnt like you and this whole thing is a mess"

    Stephen did well considering the audience...

    And thats what i'm really insulted by... (I'm not insulted by Stephen, i loved it) but the audience, the members of the press, the celebrities, the politicians, lawyers, judges, lobbiests... :)

    Something just feels off when the press has a dinner with the whitehouse administration, plus celebrities. It just seems like a big get together of the wealthy and powerful for no reason.

    For example, anyone that watched it on C-span, you would have seen George Clooney surrounded by 10 or more girls at a time after the dinner. There were no guys around Clonney, and i just found it histerical because they let 30minutes pass before showing clooney on tv again, and there he was with another 10 girls surrounding him wanting pictures :)

    OK Clooney has political motives, but what about Phil Simms? Tiki Barber? Ludicris?... What could they possibly have to do with the whitehouse reporters?

    It just seems like a slap in the face to the public. I dont think the Press should be "hanging" with the press. And i certainly dont think it should be a big celebrity dog and pony show.

    What i found histerical is the number of old white men with young hot dates :)

    The whole thing is rather phoney, and by that i mean the government, and the press
  • by Simulant ( 528590 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @11:57AM (#15237519) Journal
    This one [] talks about Colbert's performance

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