You are what you watch.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Colbert Report - Eh


Tonight marked the premiere of the Colbert Report (for the uninitiated, don't pronounce either of the T's). Given the shadow of the Daily Show to stand in, it was understandable that former Daily Show correspondent Stephen Colbert's new news show paled in comparison.
The Colbert Report tries to spoof the O'Reilley Factor and shows of that ilk, with which I am entirely unfamiliar, so it's possible that most of the humor simply went over my head. However I also don't watch the TV news broadcasts that Jon Stewart spoofs (I'm an NPR guy, myself), and that has never come between me and my Daily Show love. The thing that was really unpleasant about Colbert was his blustery falseness. This was cute in his short bits on the Daily Show, but with out sweet, nebbishy Jon as his strait man or the dumbfounded subjects of his correspondence reports, the charm is all gone. There are numerous jokes about his massive ego, for example the show opens by chronicling all the different places where Colbert's name appeared on the set, including a C shaped desk, and later Colbert stood next to a portrait of himself standing next to a portrait of himself. He comes off as too disingenuous to be compelling.The one bright spot one the show was the third act. After a bland headline bit and a forced interview with Stone Philips, Colbert and Philips faced off for a “gravitas face-off” of sorts, each struggling to read increasingly absurd and dada news headlines with classic Journalistic seriousness. It was the funniest bit in the show.
It will be worth watching the show, if for nothing else, because it will continue Colbert’s Daily Show segment This Week in God, one of the best recurring bits on the Daily Show. I’m also a perpetual optimist. Maybe it’s just going through it’s Craig Kilborn phase, and it will rapidly improve (Kilborn was the insipid pre-Stewart host of the Daily Show)

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