Colbert punks … self?

posted at 12:17 pm on May 19, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Satire is notoriously difficult to do well.  If anyone doubts that, just ask Esquire, which might face a lawsuit for libel over its clumsy attempt to skewer WND this week on the birth-certificate controversy, although I share James Taranto’s skepticism that the case will succeed.  Even those who make a successful career out of satire, like Stephen Colbert, they eventually miss badly as well when their stunts backfire.  The Wall Street Journal explains how Colbert started off trying to skewer the Supreme Court over the Citizens United v FEC ruling, and ended up getting a lesson in its necessity:

Comedy Central funnyman Stephen Colbert, like most of his friends and allies on the left, thinks that last year’s Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC is, literally, ridiculous. To make his case that the ruling invites “unlimited corporate money” to dominate politics, Mr. Colbert decided to set up a political action committee (PAC) of his own. So far, though, the joke’s been on him.

The hilarity began last month, when Mr. Colbert began to have difficulty setting up his PAC, which is a group that can raise money to run political ads or make contributions to candidates. So he called in Trevor Potter, a former Federal Elections Commission (FEC) chairman who is now a high-powered Washington lawyer.

Mr. Potter delivered some unfunny news: Mr. Colbert couldn’t set up his PAC because his show airs on Comedy Central, which is owned by Viacom, and corporations like Viacom cannot make contributions to PACs that give money to candidates. As Mr. Potter pointed out, Mr. Colbert’s on-air discussions of the candidates he supports might count as an illegal “in-kind” contribution from Viacom to Mr. Colbert’s PAC.

That didn’t quite work out, either:

On May 11, Mr. Potter returned with more bad news: Viacom didn’t like Mr. Colbert’s plan because his on-air commentary might still amount to a contribution from Viacom to his Super PAC. It’s difficult to place a dollar value on airtime, so a reporting mistake could put both Viacom and Mr. Colbert in legal hot water. Isn’t campaign-finance law funny?

“Why does it get so complicated to do this? I mean, this is page after page of legalese,” Mr. Colbert lamented. “All I’m trying to do is affect the 2012 election. It’s not like I’m trying to install iTunes.”

Well, that’s pretty much what the nonprofit group Citizens United said to the Supreme Court in the case that Mr. Colbert is trying so hard to lampoon.

Indeed.  Colbert can thank Congress for the “page after page of legalese” concerning political contributions, especially the McCain-Feingold Act that the Supreme Court partially struck down in the Citizens United ruling.  That ruling, in practice, does not allow for corporations to run the debate, at least not without navigating a minefield of regulations that the FEC itself can’t effectively manage.  They routinely take months to settle disputes, usually after elections when the issues that triggered the intervention are made moot.

In fact, as the WSJ notes, the existing legal labyrinth is so daunting that Colbert has now applied for a special waiver to conduct political speech.  I’m not sure that’s what the founders had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment, but I do believe that it’s the best possible satire Colbert could have created from his efforts — and it’s in the exact opposite direction of what he set out to prove.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Colbert is a special kind of annoying.

I’d rather sit with Jon Stewart any day.

blatantblue on May 19, 2011 at 12:20 PM

… He went right over the heads at the WSJ. He’s goofing on Citizens vs. United.

jonknee on May 19, 2011 at 12:21 PM

I’m the first to admit I don’t get the fascination with Colbert. It’s just not funny.

I can appreciate John Stewart…that I get…and his lefty humor is often quite funny.

A faux conservative though? After 5 minutes the joke is old…..and it’s always the same joke.

I just don’t get it.

Tim_CA on May 19, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Colbert is doing this to clear up the media exception, and in effect, get a.ruling on whether Fox News paid contributors can promote their PACs.

Surprised the authors didn’t mention this.

YYZ on May 19, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Stephen Colbert, John Stewart: Voices within bodies fashioning themselves as minds.

Good Lt on May 19, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Colbert is doing this to clear up the media exception, and in effect, get a.ruling on whether Fox News paid contributors can promote their PACs.

Surprised the authors didn’t mention this.

YYZ on May 19, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Exactly. If he loses, Fox and their GOP candidate hosts lose. If he wins, he’s got his own PAC to make fun of everyone with. Win win, really.

jonknee on May 19, 2011 at 12:28 PM

I maintain this guy is the most passively-aggressive vicious person in the media. He oozes hatred. I long for the right guest to expose it sometime.

rrpjr on May 19, 2011 at 12:29 PM

best. article. evah!

The Right Scoop on May 19, 2011 at 12:30 PM

A contributor is just that, YYZ, not on-staff paid talent with their own show. So even if that IS what he’s trying to prove, he again beclowns himself.

PJ Emeritus on May 19, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Zero interest in him. Zero interest in Stewart. Minus ten interest in OReilly when he wants to be “kool kid” and worships them.

Marcus on May 19, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Colbert is too condescending to be funny. Not to mention that many times, he lies to make the “joke” work, which really bothers me.

KMC1 on May 19, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Too much teevee. These entertainers seem to drift between entertainment and reality. Till a dose of reality gives them a jolt.

I don’t miss Olberman. I suspect the media better wise up. The corporations will vote with their advertising dollars and attacking corporate America is a little dangerous. They can pull their ads. Ads are hard enough to sell because of the web.

seven on May 19, 2011 at 12:36 PM

I maintain this guy is the most passively-aggressive vicious person in the media. He oozes hatred. I long for the right guest to expose it sometime.

He’s the best satirist on television, he just happens to be on the wrong side.

YYZ on May 19, 2011 at 12:37 PM

This is what happens when a pseudo intellectual tries to be funny.

The joke is on him.

UltimateBob on May 19, 2011 at 12:38 PM

YYZ on May 19, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Which Fox hosts have PACs?

Ampersand on May 19, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Stephen Colbert: Setting out every day to prove he is credentialed, not educated.

Dusty on May 19, 2011 at 12:38 PM

The Key to Solving Corruption is to not have a single person or agency with enough power and authority to effect anything with out the advise and consent of other people agencies.

I call that a System of Checks and Balanc……. Wait where have I heard that before… hmmmmmm

If we could only have that then there would be no perceived need for violating the 1st amendment in the form of “saving” it

the_ancient on May 19, 2011 at 12:40 PM

McCain-Feingold

davidk on May 19, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Typical liberal. In their quest to find injustices on the right, they end up defending them, although sometimes, as is the case here, not intentionally.

Colbert isn’t funny, but his little stunt is…because he hung himself in the end. LOL

capejasmine on May 19, 2011 at 12:42 PM

YYZ on May 19, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Nope. I grew up on the Left; I stumbled over better satirists in dorm rooms. This guy’s stuff is thin gruel. And the hate behind that frosty smile is harrowing.

rrpjr on May 19, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Which Fox hosts have PACs?

Hosts? I think just Huck.

YYZ on May 19, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Which Fox hosts have PACs?

Ampersand on May 19, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Palin, Newt, Huckabee, Rove, Morris and Santorum. Though Newt and Santorum had to quit recently because they were running for president, so I suppose technically he doesn’t count.

jonknee on May 19, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Palin, Newt, Huckabee, Rove, Morris and Santorum.

All of these guys except Hucakbee are contributors, and it doesn’t seem as though Huck has ever promoted his PAC on air.

paulzummo on May 19, 2011 at 12:47 PM

He’s the best satirist on television, he just happens to be on the wrong side.

YYZ on May 19, 2011 at 12:37 PM

maybe. but the bar is REALLY low. Satire ain’t what it used to be. “Satire” have turned into a word that’s just cover for being a partisan hack. Satire can be great. But it can also be a cowards way of being a partisan.

Ampersand on May 19, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Nope. I grew up on the Left; I stumbled over better satirists in dorm rooms. This guy’s stuff is thin gruel. And the hate behind that frosty smile is harrowing.

rrpjr on May 19, 2011 at 12:42 PM

He reminds me of the jerks from the “Students for an Orwellian Society”. All they do is pretend to be someone they hate in the most obtuse way possible and call it satire.

Count to 10 on May 19, 2011 at 12:49 PM

ROFLMFAO!

Saltysam on May 19, 2011 at 12:49 PM

I’ve listened to people at work talking about how funny Colbert is so I’ve tried to watch him. I remember wondering when he was going to say something funny. It was a bunch of unfunny, asinine drivel that got boring pretty quickly.

single stack on May 19, 2011 at 12:49 PM

[jonknee on May 19, 2011 at 12:44 PM]

Has anyone of those besides Huckabee been a host?

The think the difference that counts is the difference between an employee and contractor.

Dusty on May 19, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Colbert’s satire is akin to all of the “Fill In the Blank Movies” (Date Movie, Epic Movie, etc). Basically you just reference what you satire without actually providing a humorous take on it. Stewart is slightly better, although half of his schtick is making funny faces at the camera.

If you want real satire, watch South Park.

paulzummo on May 19, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Palin, Newt, Huckabee, Rove, Morris and Santorum. Though Newt and Santorum had to quit recently because they were running for president, so I suppose technically he doesn’t count.

jonknee on May 19, 2011 at 12:44 PM

only one of those is a host. It’s an important distinction. It could be an issue with Huck but I don’t pretend to understand the minutia of PACs.

Ampersand on May 19, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Tim_CA on May 19, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Colbert isn’t hard to get. He has made a career out of mocking Bill O’Reilly. In the process he’s has become the butt of his own joke and this FEC stuff is only the latest manifestation of that.

MJBrutus on May 19, 2011 at 12:51 PM

@YYZ, et al:

Have any of them promoted their PAC on air?

I think Viacom says, “No, this is a bad idea because we specifically cannot control what you say” whereas Fox News says, “You can have a PAC, if you mention it, you’re fired.”

I mean, it’s kind of a different situation. If any of those people are told “You can’t mention your PAC” they’d be adult enough to stay mum on the issue. Whereas if Colbert wasn’t allowed to mention it, it would defeat the point of “the satire.”

apollyonbob on May 19, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Colbert is an idiot and a Canadian pansy. He’s not funny and not very bright. He’s a liberal…

Jaibones on May 19, 2011 at 12:53 PM

YYZ on May 19, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Also, as another commentor pointed out, Matt Stone and Trey Parker beat Colbert hands down.

apollyonbob on May 19, 2011 at 12:53 PM

If you want real satire, watch South Park.

paulzummo on May 19, 2011 at 12:51 PM

amen.

Ampersand on May 19, 2011 at 12:54 PM

only one of those is a host. It’s an important distinction. It could be an issue with Huck but I don’t pretend to understand the minutia of PACs.

Ampersand on May 19, 2011 at 12:51 PM

How is it an important distinction? Fox News pays and has an exclusivity contract with each. It’s no less of a donation to pay someone to come on your network exclusively and shill for their causes than it is to pay someone to host on your network exclusively and shill for their causes.

jonknee on May 19, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Have any Fox hosts or contributors promoted their PAC on television?

alwaysfiredup on May 19, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Zero interest in him. Zero interest in Stewart. Minus ten interest in OReilly when he wants to be “kool kid” and worships them.

Marcus on May 19, 2011 at 12:32 PM

This.

Jaibones on May 19, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Colbert is just a punk, period. Or maybe he’s just so smart that us little people don’t understand his high-brow humor. /s

search4truth on May 19, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Yup. Colbert needs a new shtick. The jig is up, and the current shtick is old and busted.

Maybe he should try wearing a poultry suit to his next lampooning of Congress… Beef dress has already been done.

FlatFoot on May 19, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Have any Fox hosts or contributors promoted their PAC on television?

alwaysfiredup on May 19, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Of course:

http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201010110056

jonknee on May 19, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Morris is not a host, as has been discussed above. Now run back to Media Matters for your next marching orders.

paulzummo on May 19, 2011 at 1:00 PM

When Libs unleash their “corporations are not people!” rants, I have to wonder…do they believe the groups of individuals that comprise a corporation are cyborgs? Robots of some some sort? Or maybe corporations are Borgs or self-aware computers?

Or maybe they simply believe that the group of humans that comprise corporations should be stripped of some free speech rights.

visions on May 19, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Colbert is to satire what the Jonas Brothers are to music. Just because they’re kinda popular with a certain segment doesn’t mean they’re any good. And saying you like Colbert because you really like satire is like saying you really like the Jonas Brothers because you really like rock-n-roll.

Ampersand on May 19, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Count to 10 on May 19, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Yes. He’s not a great satirist and never will be because he’s self-limited by ideology. He’s missing the most satire-worthy material in 100 years — the spectacularly, self-parodyingly comic and ironic implosion of the Left. E.g., have you seen the tape of the White House transparency spokesperson evading Senate subcommitte questions? It writes itself! He also fails any claim to being a true humorist in the Western-humanist tradition in that he’s missing the most awesome betrayal of the humanist working-class democrat tradition in American history by the new royalist Left.

His is undergrad “satire” of an establishment variety — Mad Magazine in the 1960s was more clever and irreverant.

rrpjr on May 19, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Because there are only a small fixed number of communications channels in the radio spectrum, and the Government grants regional monopolies in said spectrum, I doubt Mr. Colbert will get his wish, absent severing his relationships with broadcast networks. Each radio station, in return for having been granted its hunk of monopoly, is required to be politically neutral and to serve everyone within its coverage area equally.

Print does not have this issue at all (anyone can print and distribute the results), and the internet only minorly in the sense that a fixed number of peered ISPs control the network originally built by the Government — but so far have not made much headway in denying transport to content.

unclesmrgol on May 19, 2011 at 1:03 PM

jonknee on May 19, 2011 at 12:58 PM

I see. I’m not terribly afraid that Morris will become a candidate, but I see where Colbert is going with this. But it is my understanding that people who go on MSDNC also promote their PACs, particularly around election time.

alwaysfiredup on May 19, 2011 at 1:03 PM

I guess there aren’t any satirists left on the boob tube then.

These days satire is making fun of people who don’t live in NYC or LA, in front of an audience of dimwitted hipsters.

reaganaut on May 19, 2011 at 1:04 PM

unclesmrgol on May 19, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Except that you can only get Colbert on cable, which is not particularly limited.

Count to 10 on May 19, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Side note: The AdBot for your page seems to be getting a link to help fight GOP Voter suppression efforts like those that stole the election in FL in 2000. The Democratic Governors Association is on the other end.

Let’s all check out that worthwhile organization and help fund Hot Air at the same time by clicking on it.

OBQuiet on May 19, 2011 at 1:07 PM

It’s all fun and games till someone gets PWNED!!!!

HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

There ya go, Colbert. Douche.

Sponge on May 19, 2011 at 1:08 PM

I see. I’m not terribly afraid that Morris will become a candidate, but I see where Colbert is going with this. But it is my understanding that people who go on MSDNC also promote their PACs, particularly around election time.

alwaysfiredup on May 19, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Nor do I think Colbert is going to be elected anytime soon. If getting the media endorsement of PACs issue sorted out (regardless of party) is what comes out of this, I’d say it was a success.

jonknee on May 19, 2011 at 1:09 PM

jonknee on May 19, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Typical lame liberal hokum.

Morris was a guest.

Duhhhhhhhhhh.

Saltysam on May 19, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Colbert & Stewart wouldn’t have any material if it weren’t for FOX news. They are pathetic. They must have people monitor Fox 24-7. It’s like 8 yrs. of Maher saying “George Bush is so stuuuuupid! Ha, ha, ha!” They need some new material.

JAM on May 19, 2011 at 1:10 PM

jonknee on May 19, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Morris is not only not a host, I don’t think he’s a paid contributor. He’s just a guest. Guests are allowed to promote their PACs, I mean, come on.

apollyonbob on May 19, 2011 at 1:10 PM

What strikes me as absurd about this stunt is that, although Stephen Colbert is a real person, he is proposing a PAC for his character Stephen Colbert – going so far as to lobby the FEC in character.

Adding to the confusion, his PAC would fund lefty candidates that the real-life Stephen Colbert supports.

I’m not seeing the funny but clearly I’m not hip enough to understand the withering satire that he so coolly serves up.

landshark on May 19, 2011 at 1:12 PM

jonknee on May 19, 2011 at 1:09 PM

the “clever” (or cowardly) thing about this is that no matter what happens Colbert will pat himself on the back and say it’s what he was trying to do all along.

There is a big difference between host and guest. And if the host agrees to not mention the PAC (Huck) then that’s another big problem with what Colbert is trying to do.

Ampersand on May 19, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Of course:

http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201010110056

jonknee on May 19, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Dick Morris is not an employee of the FOX network. He does not have his own show nor does he have a regularly scheduled time segment as a contributor. He does, however, appear as a guest once in a great while.

FlatFoot on May 19, 2011 at 1:15 PM

landshark on May 19, 2011 at 1:12 PM

good points. He’s all over the place so he can try to get a “win” no matter what. Looks like it didn’t work this time…

well I guess it still works with some as we’ve seen here.

Ampersand on May 19, 2011 at 1:16 PM

To put it bluntly, Stephen Colbert is about as funny as 9/11. He possesses the comedic genius of a children’s cancer ward. His version of humor invokes images of empty soup cans tossed into a homeless shelter’s trash bin. He has all the charm of a broomstick with a smile painted on it. And he deserves about as much attention as is given to a wilting weed sitting in an abandoned back lot.

pilamaye on May 19, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Guests are allowed to promote their PACs, I mean, come on.

apollyonbob on May 19, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Oh horrors, no! What is it with these nitwits? They keep on tripping over their own ignorance.

Saltysam on May 19, 2011 at 1:17 PM

he’s not funny and he’s so effing chickish that he’s not a man. so he’s not a funnyman.

Branch Rickey on May 19, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Morris is not only not a host, I don’t think he’s a paid contributor. He’s just a guest. Guests are allowed to promote their PACs, I mean, come on.

apollyonbob on May 19, 2011 at 1:10 PM

The question was if any hosts or contributors promoted their PACs on air… As for not being paid, he is listed on their site as a political analyst. Do all guests get titles and bios?

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,2156,00.html

jonknee on May 19, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Colbert is an idiot and a Canadian pansy. He’s not funny and not very bright. He’s a liberal…

You may disagree with him, but he is smart. You have to be to do improv well. And he’s from South Carolina.

YYZ on May 19, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Remember during the last election he tried to run for president as a Democrat & Republican at the same time. Yeah, that went over well.

mizflame98 on May 19, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Of course:

http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201010110056

jonknee on May 19, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Not too familiar with jonknee’s stuff but having used media madders as his source for anything blows his credibility out of the water and thus I will skim past any further remarks he makes in any comment threads.

Big John on May 19, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Colbert’s career peaked as Mr. Goodwrench.

slickwillie2001 on May 19, 2011 at 1:24 PM

The question was if any hosts or contributors promoted their PACs on air… As for not being paid, he is listed on their site as a political analyst. Do all guests get titles and bios?

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,2156,00.html

jonknee on May 19, 2011 at 1:18 PM

was that the question? or even the issue?

Ampersand on May 19, 2011 at 1:25 PM

You may disagree with him, but he is smart. You have to be to do improv well. And he’s from South Carolina.

YYZ on May 19, 2011 at 1:20 PM

my god man. really? Being good at improv means you’re smart? Wow… Thinking quickly doesn’t mean thinking deeply.

Ampersand on May 19, 2011 at 1:27 PM

So the implication of all of this is that libs believe that it’s only Fox News guests/hosts/paid contributors do this?

So we’re to believe that no lib contributors to MSNBC or CNN have promoted their PACs? This is only a Fox News/Conservative issue?

Kind of find that hard to believe.

I’d like to see other evidence of hosts or paid contributors explicitly promoting their PACs on air…

spinach.chin on May 19, 2011 at 1:27 PM

The episodes with Potter are hilarious to watch.

lexhamfox on May 19, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Colbert’s career peaked as Mr. Goodwrench.

slickwillie2001 on May 19, 2011 at 1:24 PM

I’d say Strangers with Candy was the high point.

Ampersand on May 19, 2011 at 1:28 PM

The question was if any hosts or contributors promoted their PACs on air… As for not being paid, he is listed on their site as a political analyst. Do all guests get titles and bios?

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,2156,00.html

jonknee
on May 19, 2011 at 1:18 PM

That bio’s from June 2004. Seven years ago. The Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, 558 U.S. 50, was ruled in 2010. Just one year ago.

I don’t know if FOX updates their bio’s very often or not but I can’t honestly remember the last time I saw Dick Morris on FOX and I watch FOX News Sunday almost every weekend when I can and I have for several years now.

Anyhow, Here’s something to help put your mind at ease. Well, maybe just a little.

FlatFoot on May 19, 2011 at 1:29 PM

This snot-nosed, “funny boy” should’ve just stuck to playing a closet homosexual in Strangers With Candy.

It was his finest moment.

OhEssYouCowboys on May 19, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Liberals have a severe problem with comedy.

1. They lack a sense of humor. Many of them confuse “humor” with “taking pleasure in meanness.”

2. Liberals lack a sense of irony.

3. Liberals feel that truth is what they wish.

Since irony and/or a grain of truth is essential to good comedy, Liberals will never be able to write it or appreciate it.

There is little difference between Bill Maher, Harry Reid, or Stephen Colbert on the comedy scale.

landlines on May 19, 2011 at 1:36 PM

In fact, as the WSJ notes, the existing legal labyrinth is so daunting that Colbert has now applied for a special waiver to conduct political speech.

For a guy that “specializes” in irony, I fear the irony will be lost on him.

PackerBronco on May 19, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Liberals have a severe problem with comedy.

What a ridiculous generalization. You do realize that many of the best comedians in American history have been left-leaning, and a lot of the best screenplays and sitcoms have been created and written by liberals, right?

YYZ on May 19, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Well done Ed Morrissey.

To wit: Irreverent Leftist punks – like Colbert, Stewart, Maher, et al – in their fatuous zeal to champion ridicule uber alles, find their own legitimate endeavors to be mere farce worthy of ridicule.

Pass the schadenfreude, please.

locomotivebreath1901 on May 19, 2011 at 1:50 PM

What a ridiculous generalization. You do realize that many of the best comedians in American history have been left-leaning, and a lot of the best screenplays and sitcoms have been created and written by liberals, right?

YYZ on May 19, 2011 at 1:47 PM

I think he’s talking about the overtly liberal. The people who do liberal humor. Not people who are liberal and tell jokes.

It’s why they are so bad at (political) satire.

Ampersand on May 19, 2011 at 1:51 PM

I maintain this guy is the most passively-aggressive vicious person in the media. He oozes hatred. I long for the right guest to expose it sometime.

He’s the best satirist on television, he just happens to be on the wrong side.

YYZ on May 19, 2011 at 12:37 PM

If he’s the best TV has to offer I can see why it’s turning into a sinkhole. The best satirists don’t have agendas and work with what is presenting itself regardless of its politics or affiliations like satirizing the government because it’s stupid, done stupid things or behaved stupidly. Not because you have a gripe.

kim roy on May 19, 2011 at 1:54 PM

Phil Hendrie…

I figured we were talking about satire and I just had to mention him. He’s a classic.

Ampersand on May 19, 2011 at 1:58 PM

In the Theater they used to quote George s. Kaufman: “Satire is what closes on Saturday night” Meaning that satire does not amuse for long and for good reason. Satire is juvenile humor: mocking, shallow, and mean, only a few cuts above following some poor kid down the street and imitating his walk to the general delight of the other little bullies. Only a few geniuses like Jonathan swift elevated the form. Colbert and his one-note gag are long past being funny.

SurferDoc on May 19, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Colbert is about to find himself in the worst of all places, TOTALLY IRRELEVANT.

GarandFan on May 19, 2011 at 2:08 PM

CSPAN – Why is a “fanatasy world comedian” considered relevant to real world peroblems?? Has he ever existed in a real-world environment??

Panentheist on May 19, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Hmmm… if Huffington thinks it could make FOX drop Rove, or Hannity, or Palin, or Morris with this interpretation of the law. I might have some luck.

I think Colbert should just be allow to do his thing. I would much rather have more speech than less speech.

Those PACs will do alot to win back the Senate and House next year.

I hope this isn’t a bigger story than it seems.

I guess none of the FOX people pretend they aren’t partisan. But Colbert is pretty obvious too. The only difference is the purpose of the station and style of commentary. Very little actually.

petunia on May 19, 2011 at 2:36 PM

If you want real satire, watch South Park.

paulzummo on May 19, 2011 at 12:51 PM

This week’s send up of the Tea Party had its moments :-)

MJBrutus on May 19, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Maybe Colbert is having his David Mamet moment. But probably not.

GreenBlade on May 19, 2011 at 3:37 PM

See, i gotta disagree with people who say Colbert’s not as good as Stewart.

To me, Colbert knows where the his act goes. When you watch his shows, there are times when he acts out the ‘stereotyped Republican’. Then there are times when he acts out the ‘Democrat trying to act like a Republican’.

Personally, I find Colbert more humourous than Stewart, simply because he has more to his repertoire than Stewart’s “silly faces” when he’s trying to go for a punchline. Does that mean he’s the best at it? Not by a long shot… but he is (IMO) the better of the two.

DaSaintFan on May 19, 2011 at 4:12 PM

He’s the best satirist on television, he just happens to be on the wrong side.

YYZ on May 19, 2011 at 12:37 PM

His satire, as far as it is such, only targets strawmen, though. He isn’t satirizing any actual person or position. He is the “comedic” version of the ad showing Paul Ryan pushing a wheelchair-bound senior over a cliff.

He’s not a great satirist and never will be because he’s self-limited by ideology. He’s missing the most satire-worthy material in 100 years — the spectacularly, self-parodyingly comic and ironic implosion of the Left. E.g., have you seen the tape of the White House transparency spokesperson evading Senate subcommitte questions? It writes itself! He also fails any claim to being a true humorist in the Western-humanist tradition in that he’s missing the most awesome betrayal of the humanist working-class democrat tradition in American history by the new royalist Left.
rrpjr on May 19, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Bingo. He is purposely leaving the best source material untouched. He’s a hack.

holygoat on May 19, 2011 at 7:44 PM

“All I’m trying to do is affect the 2012 election. It’s not like I’m trying to install iTunes.”

I see the satire. It’s a pretty good riff, this one. And I don’t like the guy at all.

Because this is Colbert, we think he’s screwing it up. If Rush were doing this, it’d be judged brilliant satire because we would all know intuitively what Rush was trying to do.

So, whether Colbert’s satire is a good piece of work is entirely dependent on his intentions – if he’s mocking the campaign laws, this is very good stuff; if he’s serious about setting up an actual PAC, he’s a moron.

See? Easy.

Cricket624 on May 20, 2011 at 9:14 AM