The Colbert Report

The Colbert Report

A footnote to those year-in-review roundups from 2005: Let’s hand a laurel to Brooks Brothers, the upscale clothier, for its contribution to political satire. I’m talking about those natty suits and ties worn (according to program credits) by Stephen Colbert in the inspired Comedy Central satire The Colbert Report, which began airing last October.

An offshoot of The Daily Show, Comedy Central’s popular fake news program, The Colbert Report is a brilliant spoof of right-wing TV punditry, particularly the ravings of Bill O’Reilly at Fox News. The half-hour episodes showcase the zany television persona that Colbert initially created on The Daily Show, where he mock-reported the regular segment “This Week in God.” This alter-Colbert is a squeaky-clean ignoramus with extraordinarily expressive eyebrows—and he’s also an egomaniac whose views veer so far rightward that he makes John Ashcroft look like Sean Penn. Four times a week, in a studio environment loudly decorated in patriotic red and blue, Colbert trolls through a sampling of current events, pompously responding to them with a fusillade of ridiculous opinions.

At the height of December’s conservative-instigated ballyhoo about the word “Christmas,” for example, Colbert solemnly informed the audience that, as a “Christmas originalist,” he condemned any Yuletide customs that had evolved from their initial...

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About the Author

Celia Wren is Commonweal’s media and stage critic.