I'm checking out various websites, trying to get a read on opinion. Are righties slamming him and lefties exulting? Sorry, I'm in the middle on this one. I like the Colbert character, but think it works better in his studio, which symbolizes his cocoon and his self-love. Surrounded by others, he can't really play such a pompous and insular character. It seems desperate, and we worry about him, standing so close to people who must be quite intimidating. It's damned hard to be that good of an actor, but he did pretty well, and it took a lot of nerve.
I'm on around 7:20 Eastern, after Helen Thomas and Noam Scheiber, and along with Michael Scherer of Salon.
But first up is Jay Rosen of PressThink.
Noam Scheiber, who was also in the room, thinks Colbert was just off that night. He thinks Colbert didn't quite have a grip on his character, and he slipped into ranting criticism of the President, and just didn't have good enough jokes. He notes that Ed Helms (of "The Daily Show") wasn't finding much to laugh at. Only people who "put politics ahead of comedy" are finding a lot to laugh at.
Helen Thomas is saying that one reason people in the room didn't laugh is that they think it's not right to laugh in the President's face.
That was fun! Did you listen? And, more importantly, did Steve listen?
Now, Robert Thompson is on. He's a TV & pop culture professor. I'm jealous of that job! "The President has now been roasted by one of the coolest, hippest guys in the country," and the President "didn't blow," so "in an odd sort of way," the hipness rubbed off on Bush. Was Bush hurt? No! He got an injection of coolness!, says Thompson.
Then, I got back in at the end. I had to disagree with some assertions about what a new thing criticizing the President and the press is. It might be new to criticize the President when you're a guest at a big event and standing a few feet away from him, but it seems to me Americans have been mocking the powerful and piercing phony rhetoric since before we were a country.
UPDATE: You can stream the show here.