Monday, May 01, 2006

On Saturday Night, Stephen Colbert Publicly Shamed The President of the United States. Will Bush Declare Martial Law?

Stephen Colbert handed Bush his own ass on Saturday night at the Washington Correspondents' Association Dinner. They've been doing it every year since Calvin Coolidge was in office. Each year they invite some nationally-known comedian to come in and do twenty to thirty minutes of political material with the president in attendance. Everyone's supposed to be a good sport about it, but sometimes the keynote speaker's jokes cut the Commander-in-Chief a little deep, and the atmosphere in the room gets kind of weird. Traditionally, neither the press people in attendence nor the politicians sitting on the dais enjoy being chided too hard for their administration's foul-ups, even if they deserve it like crazy. So, often, the WCA settles for weak comedian's whose political "comedy" offends no one.

Not this year.

Stephen Colbert, in his guise as thoughtless conservative pundit, beat the hell out of the President with a barrage of cutting jokes, touching on everything from Katrina to Iraq, to the NSA domestic spying program, to Harriet Miers. He never flinched from his material which required he play his right-wing pundit character as he stood at the lectern praising his President, all the while keeping a straight face as he eviscerated the leader of the free world. You can watch one half of his monologue here, or both halves here and here. Here's a taste, taken from Scherer's essay on :
Then [Colbert] turned to the president of the United States, who sat tight-lipped just a few feet away. "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."
Frickin' harsh. You gotta watch it if you haven't already.

What's most interesting about the coverage of the night by the mainstream press is that no one's actually saying anything about Colbert's monologue. They're all talking about the sketch Bush did with a look-alike (the one that's always on Leno's show). I haven't seen it, but the consensus with bloggers is that the sketch was lame, which is easy to believe considering how toothless the "satire" on SNL and the late night talk shows is these days. But the issue is this: even if the press didn't approve of Colbert, the fact that his biting monologue so clearly left the President and First Lady entirely unamused (she did not shake his hand) is news, and the fact that this bit of news didn't make it through the mainstream press's filter says something, I think, and it's not good.

Anyway, Salon's got a story about the dinner here, and has some of the Colbert segment that was on 60 Minutes last night here. Who knew Colbert had such trauma during his childhood? Compelling stuff.

All right. More tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

I saw this live online. It was biting and rude. How dare that "actor" chide and snide at our leader in the middle of a dinner. Go Laura!!

Peggy said...

what the F---?

Captain Mike said...

Colbert, unlike certain anonymous posters, has got brass ones.

Anonymous said...

Just proving that even you smart people don't get the Colbert genius. Ever heard of sarcasm?

blankfist said...

No what is that?

Nathan said...

I downloaded the entire thing last night. brilliant. I loved the uncomfortable chuckling in the background. Except for the one or two people in the back laughing wholeheartedly. Good stuff.

Seeking Completion said...

Holly crap! That is friggin nutts. I am surprised that secret service didn't escort his ass out. Friggin rock on Stephen!!