Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Colbert Re-bore

At risk of being shunned by the comedy community, let me just say one thing:

I'm getting tired of The Colbert Report.

Let me explain. The Colbert Report has only been on the air for a little over a year and it's already one of the most revered programs in Comedy Central history. Bloggers love it. Maureen Dowd loves it. Males in that coveted 18-34 demographic love it. But I wonder if these people watch the show regularly or if they just love the snippets they see on YouTube. Because if I watched the interview below and heard Stephen announce that he doesn't see race because he's color blind, I would laugh at the awkward exchange with Peter Singer that followed... IF it was the first time I heard this joke. But I DVR the show every night, so I've probably heard him use the tired "I'm color blind. Am I white? I don't know. What race are you?" bit dozens of times. I've also heard him say "I'll bite" enough times that I want to bite my ears off. I get it, Stephen, you have a black friend that you take pictures with. You sell your own semen. You have a baby eagle named after you. I know, I know, I know. It's like I'm watching a comedian do the same set at the UCB that he just did at Rififi the night before. I can't laugh the second time around, because I know when Stephen says, "President Bush," that "Great president? Or the greatest president?" will inevitably follow.

I know it must be incredibly hard to produce a half hour show 4 days a week, but if you're going to promise a new show every night, I'm going to hold you up to those standards. And so far, it's just not cutting it. The show is getting tired. I've included the clip below, from the Monday, December 11th show, to illustrate my point. Stephen's guest is Dr. Peter Singer, one of the leading figures behind the modern day animal rights movement. On the topic of eating animals, Stephen asks, "If we shouldn't eat them, why are they so delicious?" And poor Peter Singer has to smile and fake laugh like he's never heard this before. I cringed when I heard Stephen's question, not because I'd already heard the joke on the show, but because I already heard it IN MIDDLE SCHOOL. MIDDLE SCHOOL!!! It's a sad day for comedy writers when 12-year-olds beat them to the punch.

In light of that horribly sophomoric joke, I've taken the liberty of preparing a question for Stephen for whenever he interviews Ingrid Newkirk.
"Ms. Newkirk, you are the president of PeTA. What does that stand for? People eating tasty animals?"


At 12/13/06, 7:13 PM, Anonymous Katie said...

great post. It takes guts to stand up to Stephen Colbert, but you did it and you did it well!

At 12/13/06, 8:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure these shows are not written for the DVR set who see every second of every show. Most of America only sees the show from time to time - so they have to have the set-up each time to get the jokes. Conan does the same thing. So do most comedy late-night shows. They're written for the casual viewer.

At 12/14/06, 1:59 AM, Anonymous Claire M said...

conan gets annoying after a while too. I wonder if colbert would have annoyed me as much as he did in that clip if i hadn't seen your opinion first, probably.

At 12/14/06, 8:48 AM, Blogger Katy said...

My dad tells that joke on nearly a weekly basis.

I've always thought Colbert was slightly overrated.

At 12/14/06, 3:26 PM, Blogger sam said...

i love stephen colbert and i love his show. maybe i'm a 12 year old boy trapped in a 25 year old girl's body. oh well, i still find it funny every time.

At 12/22/06, 12:15 AM, Anonymous Adam said...

I'm usually satisfied with the occasional online clip of Colbert, but never the interviews. They always end up feeling reeeeaaly awkward. For my money, The Daily Show is much better quality and more consistently funny.

At 12/22/06, 8:07 PM, Anonymous herm said...

how do you bite your own ears off? you must be a true yogi, my deepest admiration sir walter.

At 1/3/07, 3:07 AM, Anonymous Adam Block said...

Well I mean I guess he isn't as good on his feet anymore. He has been doing improv and stuff for a long time so maybe he has dried up. I am basically a Colbert fanatic and have been for quite a while but sometimes his stuff on his show is awkward. Sometimes I wonder where the jokes end and where his true feelings come in.

My favorite stuff he does on his show is more the goofy stuff especially that music video he did. That takes me back to his early work with the show Exit-57 that I watched back in middle school. Sometimes I wish more of his show was just unscripted goofiness. He is much better at that I think. Hopefully these one liners will decrease because I agree that they are becoming pretty trite.


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