Stephen Colbert: The Funniest Man In America

by alphamonkey on May 1, 2006 · 44 comments

in Short Film,Uncategorized

Unless you’re one of the six people who watch CSPAN regularly, you probably missed Stephen Colbert’s performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday.  In fact, you might not even know who Stephen Colbert is.  As of today that needs to change, because he’s proven himself to be the bravest, ballsiest, and sharpest satirist in America.

How else can you explain his 20 minute bit in which he completely demolished Bush’s administration while standing 15 feet from the President, and then topping it off by completely belittling and humiliating the White House Press corps along with the mainstream media in general.  While being hysterically funny, no less.

Truly, the King of Truthiness has cajones the size of the Liberty bell, and they ring with the sweet sweet sound of freedom.

I’d love to paraphrase some of his jokes, but really you must see this for yourself.  Take note, dear readers, because this performance is going to go down as the greatest (and bravest) stand-up bit in history. 

If this doesn’t make you want to lay down and make sweet constitutional love to the First Amendment, I will fight you.

(If you don’t have 20 minutes handy, there’s a transcript of the bit in the extended)

Transcript courtesy of the Daily Kos

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Before I begin, I’ve been asked to make an announcement. Whoever parked 14 black bulletproof S.U.V.’s out front, could you please move them? They are blocking in 14 other black bulletproof S.U.V.’s and they need to get out.

Wow. Wow, what an honor. The White House correspondents’ dinner. To actually sit here, at the same table with 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 face. Is he really not here tonight? Dammit. The one guy who could have helped.

By the way, before I get started, if anybody needs anything else at their tables, just speak slowly and clearly into your table numbers. Somebody from the NSA will be right over with a cocktail. Mark Smith, ladies and gentlemen of the press corps, Madame First Lady, Mr. President, my name is Stephen Colbert and tonight it’s my privilege to celebrate this president. We’re not so different, he and I. We get it. We’re not brainiacs on the nerd patrol. We’re not members of the factinista. We go straight from the gut, right sir? That’s where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. I know some of you are going to say I did look it up, and that’s not true. That’s cause you looked it up in a book.

Next time, look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that’s how our nervous system works. Every night on my show, the Colbert Report, I speak straight from the gut, OK? I give people the truth, unfiltered by rational argument. I call it the “No Fact Zone.” Fox News, I hold a copyright on that term.

I’m a simple man with a simple mind. I hold a simple set of beliefs that I live by. Number one, I believe in America. I believe it exists. My gut tells me I live there. I feel that it extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and I strongly believe it has 50 states. And I cannot wait to see how the Washington Post spins that one tomorrow. I believe in democracy. I believe democracy is our greatest export. At least until China figures out a way to stamp it out of plastic for three cents a unit.

In fact, Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong, welcome. Your great country makes our Happy Meals possible. I said it’s a celebration. I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.

I believe in pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. I believe it is possible—I saw this guy do it once in Cirque du Soleil. It was magical. And though I am a committed Christian, I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion, be you Hindu, Jewish or Muslim. I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe it’s yogurt. But I refuse to believe it’s not butter. Most of all, I believe in this president.

Now, I know there are some polls out there saying this man has a 32% approval rating. But 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.

So, Mr. President, please, pay no attention to the people that say the glass is half full. 32% means the glass—it’s important to set up your jokes properly, sir. Sir, pay no attention to the people who say the glass is half empty, because 32% means it’s 2/3 empty. There’s still some liquid in that glass is my point, but I wouldn’t drink it. The last third is usually backwash. Okay, look, folks, my point is that I don’t believe this is a low point in this presidency. I believe it is just a lull before a comeback.

I mean, it’s like the movie “Rocky.” All right. The president in this case is Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed is—everything else in the world. It’s the tenth round. He’s bloodied. His corner man, Mick, who in this case I guess would be the vice president, he’s yelling, “Cut me, Dick, cut me!,” and every time he falls everyone says, “Stay down! Stay down!” Does he stay down? No. Like Rocky, he gets back up, and in the end he—actually, he loses in the first movie.

OK. Doesn’t matter. The point is it is the heart-warming story of a man who was repeatedly punched in the face. So don’t pay attention to the approval ratings that say 68% of Americans disapprove of the job this man is doing. I ask you this, does that not also logically mean that 68% approve of the job he’s not doing? Think about it. I haven’t.

I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound—with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.

Now, there may be an energy crisis. This president has a very forward-thinking energy policy. Why do you think he’s down on the ranch cutting that brush all the time? He’s trying to create an alternative energy source. By 2008 we will have a mesquite-powered car!

And I just like the guy. He’s a good joe. Obviously loves his wife, calls her his better half. And polls show America agrees. She’s a true lady and a wonderful woman. But I just have one beef, ma’am.

I’m sorry, but this reading initiative. I’m sorry, I’ve never been a fan of books. I don’t trust them. They’re all fact, no heart. I mean, they’re elitist, telling us what is or isn’t true, or what did or didn’t happen. Who’s Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was built in 1914? If I want to say it was built in 1941, that’s my right as an American! I’m with the president, let history decide what did or did not happen.

The greatest thing about this man is he’s steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man’s beliefs never will. As excited as I am to be here with the president, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America, with the exception of Fox News. Fox News gives you both sides of every story:  the president’s side, and the vice president’s side.

But the rest of you, what are you thinking, reporting on NSA wiretapping or secret prisons in eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason:  they’re super-depressing. And if that’s your goal, well, misery accomplished. Over the last five years you people were so good—over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn’t want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.

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!

Because really, what incentive do these people have to answer your questions, after all? I mean, nothing satisfies you. Everybody asks for personnel changes. So the White House has personnel changes. Then you write, “Oh, they’re just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg!

Now, it’s not all bad guys out there. Some are heroes: Christopher Buckley, Jeff Sacks, Ken Burns, Bob Schieffer. They’ve all been on my show. By the way, Mr. President, thank you for agreeing to be on my show. I was just as shocked as everyone here is, I promise you. How’s Tuesday for you? I’ve got Frank Rich, but we can bump him. And I mean bump him. I know a guy. Say the word.

See who we’ve got here tonight. General Moseley, Air Force Chief of Staff. General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They still support Rumsfeld. Right, you guys aren’t retired yet, right? Right, they still support Rumsfeld.

Look, by the way, I’ve got a theory about how to handle these retired generals causing all this trouble:  don’t let them retire! Come on, we’ve got a stop-loss program; let’s use it on these guys. I’ve seen Zinni and that crowd on Wolf Blitzer. If you’re strong enough to go on one of those pundit shows, you can stand on a bank of computers and order men into battle. Come on.

Jesse Jackson is here, the Reverend. Haven’t heard from the Reverend in a little while. I had him on the show. Very interesting and challenging interview. You can ask him anything, but he’s going to say what he wants, at the pace that he wants. It’s like boxing a glacier. Enjoy that metaphor, by the way, because your grandchildren will have no idea what a glacier is.

Justice Scalia is here. Welcome, sir. May I be the first to say, you look fantastic. How are you?  [After each sentence, Colbert makes a hand gesture, an allusion to Scalia’s recent use of an obscene Sicilian hand gesture in speaking to a reporter about Scalia’s critics. Scalia is seen laughing hysterically.] Just talking some Sicilian with my paisan.

John McCain is here. John McCain, John McCain, what a maverick! Somebody find out what fork he used on his salad, because I guarantee you it wasn’t a salad fork. This guy could have used a spoon! There’s no predicting him. By the way, Senator McCain, it’s so wonderful to see you coming back into the Republican fold. I have a summer house in South Carolina; look me up when you go to speak at Bob Jones University. So glad you’ve seen the light, sir.

Mayor Nagin! Mayor Nagin is here from New Orleans, the chocolate city! Yeah, give it up. Mayor Nagin, I’d like to welcome you to Washington, D.C., the chocolate city with a marshmallow center. And a graham cracker crust of corruption. It’s a Mallomar, I guess is what I’m describing, a seasonal cookie.

Joe Wilson is here, Joe Wilson right down here in front, the most famous husband since Desi Arnaz. And of course he brought along his lovely wife Valerie Plame. Oh, my god! Oh, what have I said? [looks horrified] I am sorry, Mr. President, I meant to say he brought along his lovely wife Joe Wilson’s wife. Patrick Fitzgerald is not here tonight? OK. Dodged a bullet.

And, of course, we can’t forget the man of the hour, new press secretary, Tony Snow. Secret Service name, “Snow Job.” Toughest job. What a hero! Took the second toughest job in government, next to, of course, the ambassador to Iraq.

Got some big shoes to fill, Tony. Big shoes to fill. Scott McClellan could say nothing like nobody else. McClellan, of course, eager to retire. Really felt like he needed to spend more time with Andrew Card’s children. Mr. President, I wish you hadn’t made the decision so quickly, sir.

I was vying for the job myself. I think I would have made a fabulous press secretary. I have nothing but contempt for these people. I know how to handle these clowns. In fact, sir, I brought along an audition tape and with your indulgence, I’d like to at least give it a shot. So, ladies and gentlemen, my press conference.

NOTE BY FREDERICK: The “audition tape” I have transcribed below is available here.


Colbert shows a video of a mock press conference. It opens with him at a podium, addressing the assembled Washington press corps.

COLBERT: I have a brief statement: the press is destroying America. OK, let’s see who we’ve got here today.

COLBERT (acknowledging various reporters): Stretch! (David Gregory nods)

Sir Nerdlington! (reporter nods)

Sloppy Joe! (reporter nods)

Terry Lemon Moran Pie! (Terry Moran nods)

Oh, Doubting Thomas, always a pleasure. (Helen Thomas smiles)

And Suzanne Mal—hello!!

(Suzanne Malveaux stares at Colbert, looking unhappy. Colbert mimics putting a phone to his ear and mouths “call me.”)

REPORTER: Will the Vice President be available soon to answer all questions himself?

COLBERT: I’ve already addressed that question. You (pointing to another reporter).

REPORTER: Walter Cronkite, the noted CBS anchor, . . .

COLBERT (interrupting): Ah, no, he’s the former CBS anchor. Katie Couric is the new anchor of the CBS Evening News. Well, well, how do you guys feel about that?

You, tousle-haired guy in the back. Are you happy about Katie Couric taking over the CBS Evening News?

DAN RATHER: No, sir, Mr. Colbert. Are you?


COLBERT: Boom! Oh, look, we woke David Gregory up. Question?

DAVID GREGORY: Did Karl Rove commit a crime?

COLBERT: I don’t know. I’ll ask him.

(Colbert turns to Rove) Karl, pay attention please! (Rove is seen drawing a heart with “Karl + Stephen” written on it.)

GREGORY: Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003 when you were asked specifically about Karl, and Elliott Abrams, and Scooter Libby, and you said “I’ve gone to each of those gentlemen, and they have told me that they are not involved in this.” Do you stand by that statement?

COLBERT: Nah, I was just kidding!

GREGORY: No, you’re not finishing. You’re not saying anything! You stood at that podium and said . . .

COLBERT (interrupting): Ah, that’s where you’re wrong. New podium! Just had it delivered today. Get your facts straight, David.

GREGORY: This is ridiculous. The notion that you’re going to stand before us after having commented with that level of detail and tell the people watching this that somehow you’ve decided not to talk. You’ve got to . . .

(Colbert is seen looking at three buttons on the podium, labeled “EJECT,” “GANNON” and “VOLUME.” He selects the “VOLUME” button and turns it. We see Gregory’s lips continue moving, but can’t hear any sound coming out.)

COLBERT: If I can’t hear you, I can’t answer your question. I’m sorry! I have to move on. Terry.

TERRY MORAN: After the investigation began, after the criminal investigation was underway, you said . . .

(Colbert presses a button on the podium and fast-forwards through most of Moran’s question.)

MORAN (continuing): All of a sudden, you have respect for the sanctity of a criminal investigation?

COLBERT (seen playing with rubber ball, which he is bouncing off attached paddle): No, I never had any respect for the sanctity of a criminal investigation. Activist judges! Yes, Helen.

HELEN THOMAS: You’re going to be sorry. (Laughter)

COLBERT (looking vastly amused, mockingly): What are you going to do, Helen, ask me for a recipe?

THOMAS: Your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands (Colbert’s smile fades) of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime.

COLBERT (interrupting): OK, hold on Helen, look . . .

THOMAS (continuing): Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is why did you really want to go to war?

COLBERT (again interrupting): Helen, I’m going to stop you right there. (Thomas keeps talking.) That’s enough! No! Sorry, Helen, I’m moving on. (Colbert tries to turn her volume off, but the knob falls off his controls.)

(Various reporters start shouting questions at Colbert.)

COLBERT (agitated): Guys, guys, please don’t let Helen do this to what was a lovely day.

(Reporters keep shouting at him.)

COLBERT (putting his fingers over his ears and shouting in a high-pitched voice): Bllrrtt! No, no, no, no, no. I’m not listening to you!

Look what you did, Helen! I hate you!

(Helen Thomas glowers at Colbert.)

COLBERT (frantic): I’m out of here!

(Colbert pulls back the curtain behind him, desperately trying to flee. He says, “There is a wall here!” The press corps laughs. Colbert has difficulty finding a door from which to exit the room, echoing Bush’s experience in China. He finally finds the door and hurries through it.)

COLBERT: It reeks in there! Ridiculous! I’ve never been so insulted in my life! Stupid job.

(Colbert continues walking away. We hear sinister-sounding music playing. We see Helen Thomas walking behind Colbert.)

(Colbert looks behind him, sees Thomas, and starts running.)

(Colbert trips over a roller skate, and yells “Condi!” We see a close-up of Helen Thomas’ face, looking determined and angry. Colbert, increasingly panicked, gets up and continues running, running into a parking garage. He reaches an emergency call box, and yells into it.)

COLBERT: Oh, thank God. Help me!

ATTENDANT: What seems to be the problem, sir?

COLBERT: She won’t stop asking why we invaded Iraq! ATTENDANT: Hey, why did we invade Iraq?

COLBERT: NO!!! (runs toward his car)

(We see Helen Thomas, still walking toward him.)

(Colbert reaches his car, and fumblingly attempts to open it with his key. He is in such a desperate hurry that he fumbles with the keys and drops them. When he picks them up, he looks back and Helen is even closer. In his frantic rush, Colbert just can’t get the keys into the lock.)

(Just as his anxiety is getting completely out of control he suddenly remembers that he has a keyless remote—so he just pushes the button on the keychain and the car unlocks immediately with the usual double squeak noise. Colbert jumps in and locks the door, and continues to fumble trying to get the car started. He finally succeeds, and looks up to see Helen standing in front of the car, notepad in hand.)


(Colbert puts the car into reverse and drives off, tires squealing. Thomas smiles.)

(Colbert is shown taking the shuttle from Washington, D.C. to New York. A car and driver are waiting for him at Penn Station. The uniformed man standing alongside the car opens the door and lets Colbert in.)

COLBERT: What a terrible trip, Danny. Take me home.

(The driver locks the doors, turns around, and says, “Buckle up, hon.” IT’S HELEN THOMAS!!!)

COLBERT (horrified face pressed against car window): NO!!!


STEPHEN COLBERT: Helen Thomas, ladies and gentlemen. Mr. Smith, members of the White House Correspondents Association, Madame First Lady, Mr. President, it’s been a true honor. Thank you very much. Good night!

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  • elkciN

    How does he walk? Those things have got to be heavy.

  • .alphamonkey.

    Intrestingly enough, there’s been little to no mention of Colbert in the major media outlets reports on the dinner.  All the attention went to the decidedly unfunny George Bush/Steve Bridges painful stab at vaudeville.

    The NYT, ABC News, Times UK, BBC Online, Chicago Tribune, and Washington Post barely mention Colbert appeared, let alone his material.

    If satire is designed to piss off those who hold power, Colbert just knocked it out of the park.

  • Funkdaddy J

    Wow. Fantastic. How is it possible to muster that kind of courage? Loved the shots of the audience, 75 percent of which appeared to be seething or totally awkward. I will now watch Colbert’s show every night.

  • elkciN

    I’m a religious watcher of Daily Show/Colbert Report. Everyone should be. It’s really strange to feel that the best place to get news is on fake news shows.

  • Shemp

    Colbert is awesome.  This routine was pretty good, but not among his best, though there were a few great lines.

    I think the reason that this wasn’t reported much in the media is just that it wasn’t particularly noteworthy.  The comic guest at the annual WHCA dinner is _expected_ to roast the president and press core.  It’s an explicit part of the agenda.  Think of it as a sort of a milder, toned down version of the Friar’s Club roasts – and that’s exactly what Colbert delivered.  Colbert’s routine was quite a bit tamer than many in the past, which is yet another reason why it didn’t garner much press attention (other than a few reports that it was “mediocre”).

    Also keep in mind that the audience is primarily journalists, with a a mix of politicos and celebrities.  It wasn’t like he was performing for a crowd at a Republican party convention.  This is a largely liberal crowd.

  • Shadow Stalker

    Wow, what were they thinking when they hired him?  I’ve never gotten into Colbert Report, it just feels too rehearsed.  After this though, I’ll have to give it another chance.

  • Haserhud

    This is amazing and great

  • TooFarGone

    If this is mediocre, find us some of the good stuff!

  • Travis Twitt

    Yawn. What a bunch of over-hyped crap. And please spare me about how brave Colbert had to be to do this. I haven’t heard of a single person who has been arrested because they criticized President Bush. Also spare me how this sort of thing has never been done before. Every year the comedian rips the sitting President.

  • mrcookieface

    I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion, be you Hindu, Jewish or Muslim. I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.


  • Your Good Twin

    re: Travis Twitt

    10 feet from the president at a White House Correspondent’s dinner while having everyone’s attention?  Nobody’s saying he’s going to get arrested, we’re just saying that is some impressive guts on display.

  • .alphamonkey.

    Combine that with the fact that he was belittling a notoriously insular and vindictative President who gets his news through a couple levels of vetting so that all the really harsh stuff is taken out.

    Double points for really slamming the media, not for being liberal or conservative, but for being cowards, while having the publishers and editors of every major news outlets IN THE ROOM.


  • daemoneyes

    I’m thinking they must be made of stainless steel.  I wonder how he keeps them from clanking when he walks.

  • Travis Twitt

    Re: Having everyoine’s attention and having impressive guts on display.


    The vast number of crowd shots during his routine showed any number of bored people talking amongst themselves not paying him the slightest bit of attention.

    And please explain why it would take guts for him to stand 10 feet from the president and do his schtick? Do you seriously think Shrub would have motioned some Secret Service agents over and had them rough Colbert up after he was done? Shrub couldn’t give two shits about what Colbert said and neither could the vast majority of those in attendance as they found Shrubs bit with the impersonator much, much, much more funny and worth paying attention to.

  • .alphamonkey.

    Can you name even a single other individual who has talked to President Bush that way in public?

  • Travis Twitt

    Colbert wasn’t “talking” to the President. “Talking” means that a conversation took place. As I said before, all this was was Colbert using a bunch of recycled and stale material that virtually no one in attendance found funny or bothered paying attention to after the first few minutes. It was nothing more then a “comic” monologue, which doesn’t meet or fit the definition of conversation.

  • .alphamonkey.

    Talking doesn’t imply a conversation. Talking means ‘conveying via speech’.

    You still don’t get that he wasn’t playing to that audience.  He was playing to the rest of America.  He didn’t go there to be chummy and make the President and the press laugh.  He was doing what so many others wished they could do.

  • Boss Robot

    Did I just see lawrence Fishburne?

  • .alphamonkey.

    Yes.  Sadly the dinner ended before he could give his rousing pre-rave speech.

  • Funkdaddy J

    From Editor & Publisher:

    As Colbert walked from the podium, when it was over, the president and First Lady gave him quick nods, unsmiling. The president shook his hand and tapped his elbow, and left immediately.

    Those seated near Bush told E&P’s Joe Strupp, who was elsewhere in the room, that Bush had quickly turned from an amused guest to an obviously offended target as Colbert’s comments brought up his low approval ratings and problems in Iraq.

    Several veterans of past dinners, who requested anonymity, said the presentation was more directed at attacking the president than in the past. Several said previous hosts, like Jay Leno, equally slammed both the White House and the press corps.

    “This was anti-Bush,” said one attendee. “Usually they go back and forth between us and him.” Another noted that Bush quickly turned unhappy. “You could see he stopped smiling about halfway through Colbert,” he reported.

  • BADD

    Well not to throw a monkey wrench into the Bush bashing, but I see no reason to give Colbert such credit.

    I also don’t like the comment that Bush gets his information filtered for him.  Perhaps some evidence to back that claim up would be in order.  I do know that he has people who organize the news into reports for him, but to say they are somehow filtered to keep negative remarks from him is silly.  How could that possibly be benificial for him?  Personal opinion aside, do you really think he would want it that way?  Think logically.

    I am somewhat apalled by Colbert’s behavior.  I love satire.  I love it when a comic uses wit and knowledge to criticize our government and its weaknesses.  IMHO Colbert missed the mark.  Compare him to Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, or Bill Hicks.  He comes no where near their ball sizes.  It is not how close you get to the president that defines your ability to criticize.  It is how close to home you hit him, and our government in general. 

    To me this is as impressive as the kid who got in a fist fight with the principal in grade school and as immature.

    Note:  I do not like Bush.  He has not fufilled many of his campaign promises for this term, and he has proven to be sloppy with his use of information.  He has also admitted to these things in public.  Lets not let others bitter angry opinions cloud our minds from the facts.

  • .alphamonkey.

    Most of the major news outlets have reported on how insular Bush is, with a couple of different White House sources discussing how filtered the news gets before hitting Bush’s desk. So yes, I give Colbert credit for speaking to the president (and to the media) in a manner of which they are wholly unacustomed.

    Also, bear in mind that the most biting commentary most White House Correspondents dinners get is from the likes of Jay Leno, who just softballs a ‘ain’t we quirky’ kind of clubhouse humor that just reinforces already held beliefs.

    Colbert wins points not just for taking shots at Bush, but doing so in Bush’s own language and terminology.  His brillance isn’t in making fun of the ridiculous right wing ideology, but in how he does so: Namely, his character BELIEVES the party line, and won’t deviate from it even a single iota, which is a perfect vehicle for pointing out the absurdity of how this administration (and the current GOP thinkers) enforces their points and agendas.

    Sure, there have been a couple of people who’ve managed to take Bush to task in public (most notably, Helen Thomas), but no one has done so by so perfectly subverting the party line, nor so publicly. 

    What I find most brilliant about this piece is that Colbert not only perfectly sums up how ridiculous the Bush ideology really is, but he simultaneously managed to shame the media who allowed it to continue, all poking a massive hole in the ‘liberal media’ myth.  After all, the subtext of his joke wasn’t that the media was needlessly bashing Bush, it was that the media wasn’t bashing Bush for the stuff that really deserves it.

    I don’t expect to change your opinion about this, but I do feel that it’s important to note that, whether or not you found this funny, it’s an utterly impeccable use of irony and satire as a means to speak truth to power. 

    Hicks, Carlin, and Bruce weren’t brave.  They made their reputation as ‘edgy and underground’ comics by speaking to an audience that normally already agreed with them.  Were they great?  Sure.  Were they influential?  Of course, but there’s a world of difference in railing against the machine in a surrounding that will cheer you on and pointing out the emperor has no clothes right in front of the throne, on camera, and without apology.

  • eurolames

    Stephen Colbert’s performance was brave and disturbing.  The Bush impersonator was funny in a campy sort of way because it was light-hearted kidding of the man; like when he said Laura Bush is hot…funny, but hardly a skewering. 

    Colbert, however, made fun of the man, his actions in Iraq, the wiretapping procedures he unilaterally decided to make “legal,” his declining poll numbers, etc.  In other words, the things he has DONE and their consequences.  He attacked them with an amazing wit and irony.  I agree to some extent that it was not all that funny at times.  But I think that is because of the gravity of the issues.  For example, that bit about “the government that governs least governs best” and Iraq was an amazing way of getting at 1) the fact that Iraq is a hell-hole and 2) the fact that Republicans seemed to have pulled a 180 on their stance against a big government.  While an amazing show of wit to point out the absurdity of the situation, it’s not all that funny because it’s so damn true…Iraq is a hell-hole.

    Walking up to a podium knowing that you’re going to attack the policies and decisions of a sitting president of the United States (following an f’ing impersonator for god’s sake!) who is sitting 10 feet from you requires incredible cojones. 

    I applaud Stephen Colbert.

  • fealty2dahriyah

    the bush doppleganger was fucking retarded. the man barely picked up on the real nuances. and I did get to see some of this and colbert is hillarious. and I’m not a big fan of his.

  • Travis Twitt

    “Hicks, Carlin, and Bruce weren’t brave. they made their reputation as ‘edgy and underground’ comics by speaking to an audience that normally already agreed with them”

    First off, Hicks is a non-player since he never was relevant in any way, shape or form.

    But to claim the Lenny Bruce wasn’t brave shows a complete and utter ignorance of not just American history buy American popular culture. Lenny Bruce willingly went to jail because he felt that the things he said were covered under the first amendment, and he said them at a time when such things just weren’t talked about, even in impolite company.

    Carlin never did that, in fact Carlin could and is rightfully considered a coward by many both in and out of the coedian brotherhood for running away and only playing underground clubs after he was thrown out of his Vegas casino gig and threatened with a beating by both the casino manager and some patrons at the gig.

    And I have yet to read ANY explanation as to precisely why it took Colbert such guts/balls/courage/bravery to do what he did. There was NEVER any hint or chance that he’d be arrested or threatened in ANY way and I publicly challenge anyone to prove otherwise.

    All of that aside, what exactly did his bit accomplish? I can guarantee you that the Teeming Millions all across the fruited plain weren’t rabidly tuned itno C-Span/MSNBC/FAUXNews/CNN to watch this. The vast majority of americans could give a shit, and judging from the response of those few who did see it, Colbert comes across as a smarmy mean spirited Asshole. It certainly failed to galvanzie support against Shrub and failed to cause an upswelling of people so outraged at Shrub that they took to the streets bleatind and shrieking that he either be impeached or resign immediately.

    I can’t stand Shrub and think he’s quite possibly the worst President of the last 150 years, but to claim that Colbert’s speech was somehow an awsome “Fuck YOU!!!” to the President and actually accomplished something positive is unbelievably naive.

  • .alphamonkey.

    Lenny Bruce was only considered brave if you ignore the fact that black comedians had been doing much, much more edgy and ‘profane’ material well before he ever took the stage.

    I love that people think that to be brave you have to face arrest or something.  That’s a ridiculous assertion. Of course Colbert didn’t face arrest or coercion. His performance was brave in that he didn’t compromise his act for the sake of propriety, he was unapologeticly and brutally honest, and he spoke truth to power (both the administration and the media that’s enabling it) in a manner in which no one has seemed to care enough to do in the last 6 years.

  • .alphamonkey.

    Furthermore, it doesn’t matter if his material won’t change anyone’s mind.  All that matters is that he did it.

  • Travis Twitt

    So his entire bit was a complete and utter waste of time because no one in the groom gave a shit or thought it was funny, and no one outside the room was galvanized enough to do anything more then post on message boards inanities like “Colbert RULZ!!!! He pwned BUSH!!!!!!!!!!!” and yet somehow you think this complete and utter lack of action somehow makes Colbert’s speech the greatest thing since the Gettysburg Address.

    And you STILL have yet to show me how what he did was in any way brave or took courage or any crap like that. Colbert didn’t assail Shrub with any actual facts or statistics, probably because he didn’t have any. Instead he had to result to stale recycled comedic bits.


    That’s so daring and brave.


  • .alphamonkey.


    ->The Point<-

  • Travis Twitt

    Gee, you’re just so clever.


    So I take it that by refusing to even try and answer my questions you are admitting complete and utter defeat and that I am right and you are wrong, correct?

  • .alphamonkey.

    You’re not asking questions; you’re making statements.  Seeing as you’ve so far decided to not even consider a single point we’ve made as valid, I don’t see any reason to continue this.  There’s no win or lose in this argument, seeing as it’s entirely based on perception. 

    You say ‘tomato’, and I say shut the hell up already.

  • daemoneyes


  • starphat

    That’s the most punk rock thing I’ve seen in a long time.  Way to stand up to power and make Bush your bitch.

  • BADD


    I am bowing out of this topic.  I don’t want to argue.

  • Boss Robot

    Let’s all take a nice long look at the A-Boys video. Now that was a good video. Make peace not flame-war

  • eurolames

    Stephen Colbert walked into the lion’s den and critiqued Bush’s agenda with humour.  That is what he accomplished.  That is all he meant to accomplish.  I don’t understand what you’re getting at.  Did you want Colbert to physically attack him?  Or yell at him until he changed Bush backed down?  It’s unfortunate that Bush probably didn’t understand enough of it to actually get the gears turning, but it was a worthy attempt. 

    The fact that the mainstream media glossed over Colbert’s performance was exactly his point.  Very few actually attempt, let alone succeed, in getting the president to comment on or admit to any problems or mistakes with his agenda. 

    This country has been unable to have any sort of meaningful dialogue with this administration.  We just get talked at.  The natural consequence of this is an insulated president.  The fact that someone stood up and critiqued him, comedic or not, is worth something. 

    So, in the end, what did it really accomplish?  Probably nothing.  But that has more to do with this administration refusing to change course no matter what the liberally biased reality turns out to be.  As Colbert put it:

    “You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man’s beliefs never will.”

    Out of context, there is nothing funny about this.  It demonstrates blind ideology.  I don’t know twit, maybe we just disagree that critique in and of itself can have value, even if it doesn’t convince the person or subject critiqued.  But hey, it got us arguing about stuff. 

    I’ll tell you this much though.  Colbert accomplished more than what Bush had accomplished at the time the latter stood on an aircraft carrier with a sign stating “mission accomplished” behind him.

  • Travis Twitt

    “Colbert accomplished more than what Bush accomplished at the time the latter stood on the aircraft carrier with a sign stating “mission accomplished” behind him.”

    (Points and guffaws, then lapses into belly laughs)

    Sweet Jesus, throw the bong out the friggin’ window.

    You can’t possibly be serious about that quoted comment.

    Bush’s aircraft carrier bit was a HUGE reason why he got re-elected.

    Less then a month later, no one gives a shit about Colbert’s appearence, forget remembering what he said.

    I’ve been a liberal Democrat since the day I was born, but I’ve never been anywhere close to the level of naivity that see in the responses in this thread, and your last bit takes the cake and goes a long way towards explaining how and why the democrats find themsleves in the position politically that they do.

    Face reality.

    No one of any importance gave a shit about what Colbert said back when he said it and no one gives a shit now. There was a much bigger hoo-ha when Ted Danson did his blackface bit at the Friars Roast for Whoopi Goldberg over 10 years ago.

  • Johnnyboy

    It’s fascinating to me that something that no one gave a shit about has generated so much comment.

  • Boss Robot

    Amen to that, now let’s all shut up about this and watch the A-Boys Video

  • .alphamonkey.

    hey_kool_aid4.jpg width=292 border=0 height=306

  • retro

    Colbert for President! I love the guy and even though he’s wacky and wierd, he’d be better than any of the other candidates.

  • BAD

    I just wanted to state here that the reason I left this conversation was not from the valid points many people made here, but because of Travis’ complete and utter disregard for civility in conversation.

    I may not agree with some opinions on this site, but I would rather leave a topic without making my point than be lumped in with a guy like Travis just because our points are somewhat similar.

  • saint nightwalker

    Bringing this back to life as proof of alphamonkeys cowardice and douchewaffleness. Craig Ferguson, host of CBS The Late Late Show did the exact same thing that Colbert did at the Correspondants Dinner, but did alphamonkey make even a passing bleat about it?


    Why is that I wonder?

    Because all of alphamonkeys farting and bleating and shrieking and screeching about Colbert’s “speaking truth to power” turned out to mean much less the nothing, but you’ll never see alphamonkey admit that here, out in public.


    Because he’s a coward who hates America and what America stands for.

    Naturally, alphamonkey will ooze on over here and bleat and scream some argle-bargle about how Ferguson and Colbert’s performances were two completely different things and anyway, Ferguson just stole all of his act from Colbert, which is just a smokescreen to tyr and fail to cover up the fact that once again alphamonkey has been exposed as a galaxy sized tool.

  • .alphamonkey.

    No, I’ll just amble over here and point out how ridiculous it is that you keep getting your rhetorical ass handed to you over and over again, and the best you can do is try to reignite some trollery on a 2 year old post.

    I’m curious: Do you exclaim a proud ‘THAT will show the world’ after your circle-jerk-of-one sessions here in Internet Land, or is there a moment where your brain manages to eek out a resigned ‘You know, I think I might be an insufferable asshole’ ‘gasm of self-awareness?

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