stephen colbert secures his place in history

Need a break from Neal Young? Check out Stephen Colbert’s performance as keynote speaker at Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. It’s as brilliant as it is painful to watch.

Regardless of what side of the aisle you find yourself on, I think that you’d have to admit that it took enormous balls to stand up on that stage, right there next to the President, andlet him have it the way that Colbert did. Not many people would have had the nerve to start out the way he did, let alone to keep plowing ahead amid the dagger-like stares and uncomfortable muttering. It’s an amazing piece of footage.

Predictably, the media is, for the most part, either ignoring it today or choosing to focus on Colbert’s “stunning lack of decorum.” It would be nice if someone in the corporate press looked into the content of what was said, and evaluated the “truthiness” of it, but that would be a lot to ask from them. (It would require actual journalism.) So, instead of seeing articles about Colbert speaking truth to power, we’re going to read about him “flopping” in front of a very important, and very unammused crowd. I guess tat was to be expected though.

(I found it very telling that the White House Press Corp laughed louder and longer at the terribly lame Bush impersonator than they did at Colbert. I mean, I knew the press in America was in a state of severe atrophy, but I had no idea just how bad it had gotten.)

I don’t want to get into all the specifics of what he said (you should watch the clip), but I did want to mention one thing. At one point in his presentation, Colbert cut over to a pre-produced video of himself trying out for the job of White House Press Secretary. Halfway though the clip (which, to be honest, wasn’t that funny), Colbert shows a new feature that he’s had built into the Secretary’s podium. By the mic, there are now three buttons that say; “Eject,” “Gannon” and “Volume.” And, depending on how poorly a line of questioning is going, the Press Secretary can either have the reporter ejected, turn down his/her volume, or request a life-line from fake newsman Jeff Gannon. I just liked seeing Gannon’s name up on the screen again. It’s nice to know that not everyone’s forgotten. (This image comes from Atrios.)

It’s not everyday that someone puts it all on the line, but that’s exactly what Colbert did, knowing full well that there could be negative repercussions. For whatever reason, however, he chose to take the opportunity and do something with it. He clearly wasn’t thinking of his career, so much as he was his legacy, and how he’d answer his kids when they one day asked what he done to slow the Bush machine… To be quite honest, I haven’t been that much of a Colbert fan in the past, but, for not walking away from this opportunity, I’m going to give him another shot.

Anyway, if you were looking for a way to celebrate the third anniversary of the end of major combat operations in Iraq, I couldn’t think of a better way than by watching Colbert’s performance. (If you want, you can see the whole Colbert piece, in three parts at YouTube.) (And, as long as we’re talking about Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” strut across the deck of that aircraft carrier three years ago, let’s not forget to remember just how eagerly the press lapped it up.)

fact: 139 Americans had died when Bush announced “Mission Accomplished,” three years ago today. Since then, another 2,261 American men and women have lost their lives in Iraq.

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17 Comments

  1. ChelseaL
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    WOW.

  2. sandy
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    On the plus side, Colbert is becoming the darling of the liberal blog world.

  3. Ted Glass
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    “Thank you, Stephen Colbert”

    http://thankyoustephencolbert.org/

  4. be OH be
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Muchos huevos grandes

  5. chris
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I am afraid to watch it. Could it be that I might start feeling sympathetic toward GWB?

  6. Shanster
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I read the transcript and it was hilarious. I watched the Bush-impersonator for a few minutes; he didn’t seem all that lame.

  7. dorothy
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    that was the bravest thing i’ve ever seen. stephen colbert is my new hero. fucking hilarious, on the mark and cool as hell!!!

  8. chris
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    OK, here I go!

  9. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    We are with you, Chris.

  10. chris
    Posted May 2, 2006 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    I am very, very afraid for Colbert. He was messianic in his roasting. Offering up his life so that others might find everlasting salvation in his routine.

    One person commented on the video stream…”I almmost felt sorry for Bush….no wait, no I didn’t”. I concur wholeheartedly mon frere. Anyone else terrified that when he started to mention the first lady that Bush was going to challenge him to a duel, or at least sucker punch him?

    I wonder how soon begore he’s tax audited back for the last twenty years?

  11. Ted Glass
    Posted May 3, 2006 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Colbert and Young should get together for a tour.

  12. UncleWendy
    Posted May 3, 2006 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Not a Stephen Colbert fan, WHAT!?!? Have you watched “Strangers With Candy?” Hands down the funniest, most offensive, somewhat disturbing, awesome TV show ever made.

  13. chris
    Posted May 3, 2006 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    I am a huge fan of Colbert. He is truly fascinating. Anyone hear his interview w/ Terry Gross? Yeah, Strangers w/ Candy is FuhReaky…trivia-she (Candy)is David Sedaris’ sister!

  14. mark
    Posted May 4, 2006 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    I’ve never seen “Strangers with Candy,” but it’s been in my Netflix queue for about the last year and should surface sometime in ’07. And, as I don’t have the expensive cable channels (like Comedy Central) I’ve never seen a full episode of his Daily Show spinoff. (I’ve caught a few clips online, but that’s about it.)

  15. Ken
    Posted May 4, 2006 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    I thought the joke about your kids not know what a glacier is was good. That “glass 2/3 empty” joke would of been good if he didn’t fuck it up so bad.

    I did think it was un-newsworthy. It was just like his show in that he was in character the whole time. Plus that video at the end was bad.

  16. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted May 4, 2006 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    It should have ended with a volcano of eels shooting out of Bush’s ass.

  17. chris
    Posted May 4, 2006 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Again, isn’t that a Japanese porn flick?

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