December 8, 2015


Stephen Colbert Used to Be the Toughest Interviewer in Late-Night : What happened? (Justin Peters, 12/08/15, Slate)

During the first three months of the Colbert Late Show--his first show aired on Sept. 8--there has been a clear stylistic gap between the show's opening segments, which are often weird and wonderful and memorable, and the interviews, which are far more boilerplate. In fact, many of his celebrity interviews have been surprisingly awkward, while many of his political interviews have been surprisingly tame. During his first week hosting the show, his interviews with celebrities like George Clooney and Scarlett Johansson were startlingly banal, hinging on unsuccessful comedy bits that seemed designed to camouflage the fact that Colbert didn't have all that much to say to them. The host almost seemed to be rolling over and allowing Clooney and Johansson to self-promote, which is not at all his usual style.

Has Network Television Defanged Colbert's Political Bite? (Jeremy Stahl, 12/08/15, Slate)

Losing Colbert felt to many liberals like the loss of political oxygen. More than any other recent popular satirist, he was a voice that absorbed this country's worst mass delusions--whether they were about a nefarious "gay agenda," a global warming "conspiracy," the premise that half of the country was made up of mindless moochers addicted to the government teat, or any other false threat in the culture wars--and exposed these ideas and those who propagated them as frauds.

Colbert did something very nearly the opposite of what liberals wanted to believe he did.  In persona, he let them safely laugh at all those politically incorrect things they aren't supposed to find funny because, "in real life he's a liberal."  These was never any chance his show could withstand his reversion to political sensitivity.

Posted by at December 8, 2015 2:39 PM