Oh That Colbert

Unless your rock-of-hiding is particularly large, it's unlikely you've not heard about Stephen Colbert's cast-iron-testicles performance at the White House Correspondents dinner.

  • Boing Boing has links to various versions of the video and transcripts.
  • gillen points out that most of the press about it was about the almost-entirely-unfunny earlier skit where Bush and a Bush impersonator traded off.

  • But my favorite commentary so far is from kungfumonkeyrss who says:

    Apparently, the President was not amused. As noted --

    As he walked from the podium the president and First Lady gave Colbert quick nods, unsmiling, and left. E&P's Joe Strupp, in the crowd, observed that quite a few felt the material was, perhaps, uncomfortably biting.

    Wasn't it last year at the White House Correspondent's dinner where the President did a HI-LARIOUS bit with some fake home movies showing him looking for those darned elusive WMD's? And they weren't there! It was a laff riot! I was laughing all the way to the 2300 odd military funerals!! Giggling as I donated money to help pay for over 10,000 wounded Americans!! Stop me before I piss myself with glee. But Colbert's bit, that was OUT OF LINE, mister!!

    "Uncomfortably biting"? Awwww. Awwwwwwwwwwwww. That's supposed to be YOUR job, "real journalists", making the government -- any government, Republican or Democrat -- feel uncomfortable. Afflict the comfotable and comfort the afflicted. But no, God help a fake journalist actually use satire to point out a bunch of inconvenient truths you don't bother with because either you're too afraid of losing your invites to little prawn&wine parties with the swells, or it might just be too much real work, or, well ... pick your excuse for a non-functioning cowardly domestic media.

    Enjoy the stay at Gitmo, Stephen. I'll raise money for your legal defense fund. Assuming they even let you have a trial. Which, although I joke, is entirely legal under the current rules of this Administration.

    The President was upset? Good. I hope the President was sleepless with rage. At least then he'd know how most of us have been spending every night for the last three years.

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27 Responses:

  1. kebernet says:

    I watched it last night when I got home, and I have watched it 3 more times today and find myself just as awestruck each time.

    When they announced he was doing the WHCD, I was really kind of smirking anyway. I figured he would do more like Steward does when he is out of his home-field and nice it up a lot with a couple of soft jabs.

    He made Stewart's Crossfire appearance look like Sesame Street.

    • jwz says:

      Yeah, Stewart almost always wimps out when directly confronting someone he disagrees with. Colbert went for the throat...

  2. geektalk says:

    I'm not sure that article gives GW and Laura enough credit. George said "Well done" to him and Laura said something (that I couldn't lipread) to him as well. And though they weren't grinning, they both looked like they managed at least polite smiles...

    The thing I couldn't believe was how Colbert would turn and look right at the President while making his jokes. That guy is tough.

    Was any of the rest of the dinner worth watching or was it all as lame as Bush's impersonator schtick? As dumb as that was, it was almost certainly better than letting Bush do they actual jokes himself. That guy has no comic timing whatsoever. At least his handlers were smart enough to realize that much.

    • jwz says:

      Those two, and an early bit about how shitty the press room is, were the only "comic" bits. The rest of it was just award and scholarship presentations.

  3. nightrider says:

    I think Peter Daou sums things up nicely:

    "The AP's first stab at it and pieces from Reuters and the Chicago Tribune tell us everything we need to know: Colbert's performance is sidestepped and marginalized while Bush is treated as light-hearted, humble, and funny. Expect nothing less from the cowardly American media. The story could just as well have been Bush and Laura's discomfort and the crowd's semi-hostile reaction to Colbert's razor-sharp barbs. In fact, I would guess that from the perspective of newsworthiness and public interest, Bush-the-playful-president is far less compelling than a comedy sketch gone awry, a pissed-off prez, and a shell-shocked audience.

    This is the power of the media to choose the news, to decide when and how to shield Bush from negative publicity. Sins of omission can be just as bad as sins of commission...read on

  4. nemesisbecoming says:

    In terms of catching clips, I only watched the Bush comedy act in which he had the Bush impersonator beside him. Although I only felt uncomfortable when the Cheney "Great White Hunter" jokes came on, I honestly d on't understand why the hell they have these WHCD things to begin with.

    The president is making fun of himself and playing up to the rumors and stereotypes about he and his administration. I don't see any of this as funny. It pisses me off actually because I consider the failure of this administration as something very serious. And to see not only the President, but the WH Press Core who we supposedly depend on to pressure the Administration for answers and the truth, laughing it off is a serious problem.

    Meanwhile, a Fox guy is the new Press Secretary though that position has been downgraded because of McClennan's allowing inability to gain full access to the President like his predecessors did and in the wings they are discussing possibly doing away with televisied press updates altogether.

    What is so fucking funny?

  5. snitrocket says:

    My favorite critic of Colbert is Lucianne Goldberg, who called him "unpatriotic to the President and first lady". Nevermind that one can't be unpatriotic to a person, this is the same woman who claimed Clinton was finger-fucking his daughter during the Lewinski saga.

  6. xthlcm says:

    I think somebody needs to shut their smarty-pants big city mouth and start pasting up pictures of Our Leader for Loyalty Day!

  7. phoenixredux says:

    Obviously the only fake journalists Bush likes are the ones that agree with him. Maybe if Colbert was a prostitute who tossed him a few softball questions, he'd like him better.

  8. sherbooke says:

    On the wmv clip I saw, every time Colbert turns to look at the president during his gig, there isn't the usual reaction shot, making it appear as if he's talking to nothing. Was this true of the Real Thing? If so, this is as telling as anything else about the production. Bush must have been stony-faced at this point. Who do they have in those control booths? Karl Roves deputy? There must be some samizdat footage of the presidents actual reaction to Colberts jibes...

    FWIW, I admire the guy for going for the throat. Sometimes it doesn't work as it ends up back-firing, making us feel sympathetic for the target. I don't think that's the case here; however, getting buried isn't going to help The Cause. I notice on one report, Colberts gig is on *page fucking 2* with a paragraph all to himself. I hope the propaganda corps are proud of themselves. Still, points for getting past the usually water-tight containment perimeter, if not out to the other side. If it weren't for the grand jury Rove would be pissing himself laughing at this point, although maybe the jury is still out on this one.

  9. ioerror says:

    Talk about speaking truth to power!

  10. prog says:

    I just can't get over how or why he was invited in the first place. In my fantasy, whichever white house stooge put in charge of booking displayed their typical willful ignorance of reality by believing Colbert to actually be the Conservative counterpoint to Jon Stewart that he pretends to be, and therefore thinking he'd be perfect for the evening. O to imagine the look on their face after he took the podium.

    • bdu says:

      FWIU Colbert was booked by the current president of the Whitehouse Press Corps, a guy from AP, not anyone from the administration.

  11. rivetpepsquad says:

    Simply stunning.

    The shocked silences from the audience = best part.

  12. editer says:

    My bar for comedy may be set kind of low, but I thought the Bush-Bush routine was funny. Not deathless comedy, but pretty good. Taking away the not-funny president's lines and giving them to someone who is funny worked pretty well IMO.

    Colbert, of course, rocked.

  13. greyface says:

    I actually think Colbert was harder on the press than he was on the president.

    (not a precise quote:)
    Go home and write that book that's knocking around your head. The one about the intrepid reporter who has the guts to stand up to the president. You know... fiction.

  14. dk says:

    yeah, that was pretty bad ass.

  15. infrogmation says:

    Seeing the buzz on LJ before reading the transcript, when I read it I was kinda disappointed when I did read it. Yeah, a few good pointed wisecracks, but hardly going for the jugular.

    I guess Bush is so well sealed in his bubble that these types of opinions are a surprise to him? Hell, I overhear worse criticisms of the regeme at neighborhood coffee shops.

    • jwz says:

      The transcript doesn't really capture it -- the most amazing part about the video is that he was looking Bush in the eye when he said a lot of this (he was 6' away!), and the stony silence he got from the audience. They either hated him or were afraid to laugh.

      • greyface says:

        Except Antonin Scalia. He laughed his ass off at being made fun of.

      • fantasygoat says:

        All I could think while watching it, and seeing him look right at Bush, was the size of his stones. He's truly my new hero.

        After that, I was sad that we live in a world where I'd be so shocked at someone leveling criticism directly to a president.