The Colbert Report: Oui, Oui

ColbertThe Colbert Report tests the boundaries of just how long one can stand arch irony. Or maybe I mean satire and "arch" is just what Stephen Colbert's eyebrow does the entire show. In any case, the Colbert Report's shtick will be familiar to any Daily Show viewer -- Colbert's fatuous, arrogant character deadpans nonsense and near nonsense in the exact low tones of our most trusted (or, uhm, at least highest-rated) news anchors. His showy "gravitas" (as Colbert congratulates himself) targets loofah-lover Bill O'Reilly most explicitly, right down to the bullet-pointed commentary on his opening spiel against "the word police." (On the screen: "Head bad, heart good.") This first show was probably long-planned so we won't hold its relative lack of currency against it, especially since rants against elitism are pretty much evergreen. Just plug in the President's latest decision: "If you THINK about Harriet Miers, of course her nomination is absurd. But the president didn't think about her nomination -- 'I know her heart' -- notice how he didn't mention her brain."

Stone Phillips was the first guest, good naturedly bearing Colbert's absurdities ("I've been in Brokaw's studio...smells like a monkey cage....kept him in the chair too long.") and even submitting to a gravitas-off (to prove the point, "If you possess sufficient gravitas, what you're saying doesn't have to mean anything at all."). Colbert's unrelenting smoothness is almost disturbing; he is always in character -- we longed for a flicker of Jon Stewart's stunned earnestness in the face of wicked absurdity. Then we realized: "The Colbert Report" isn't supposed to be "The Daily Show," it's the cracker "Ali G." We can't wait for the Pat Buchanan interview.

The Colbert Report [Comedy Central]


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