It turns out that she's a fan of Stephen Colbert, too. She asked whether I thought he was, at heart, a liberal or conservative. (Apparently, this is a matter of dispute among members of Congress.) I told her that I assumed he was a liberal, but she said that the congressman who claims to know Colbert best is convinced that he is a conservative.Yeesh, are our representatives that dumb?
Here's a dialogue between Colbert and Terry Gross from the April 8, 2005 episode of "Fresh Air":
GROSS: Have you become much more political since doing "The Daily Show?"A nice thing about Colbert is that he cared first about being funny and only explored his political ideas because it was part of the comic role he had taken. The passion was for comedy, not politics. That means he's not a natural politico. (I like people like that; I identify with them.) Forced to take a political position, he was surprised by how liberal he was.
Mr. COLBERT: Yes. I started off at the Second City in Chicago, which is ostensibly--it's an improvisational theater that ostensibly does social and political satire, but when I was there we generally didn't. And I made a conscious effort then not to do political stuff when I first started out, because I found so much political humor false, stuff that just told the audience what they thought already about a political situation.
I mean, the example is people making Ted Kennedy drinking jokes, which didn't seem to be informative or satirical. They just seemed mean-spirited and just told the audience what they thought already. And the people that I worked with--Paul Dinello and Amy Sedaris for the most part--we had a little pact that we wouldn't talk about politics, we wouldn't talk about pop culture and we wouldn't make references to real places or people. We would just do scenes of--between--relationship scenes.
And then when I got to "The Daily Show," they asked me to have a political opinion--or rather Jon did. When Craig was there, it wasn't so political. Jon asked me to have a political opinion, and it turned out that I had one, but I didn't realize quite how liberal I was until I was asked to make passionate comedic choices as opposed to necessarily successful comedic choices.
GROSS: Boy, I like the way you put that, passionate comedic choices.
Mr. COLBERT: Well, yeah. I mean, Jon has asked us to be political and to share his interest in doing political comedy that actually has some thought behind it, and as a result, if you don't do something that you feel passionately about, if you're not talking in a passionate way about it, you're gonna sound just as false as a politician who's doing a stump speech that is to please his audience and doesn't reflect a dearly held political idea. And more than anything else, we don't want to sound predictable and we don't want to sound--or I don't want to sound like I don't believe what I'm saying.
Now, you could say, but the environment of "The Daily Show" is so liberal that perhaps an unpolitical person would falsely "discover" that he was a big liberal. Creating his own show, he embodied himself in a ridiculous conservative character. But why did he do that? Our Congressmen and -women are wondering! Maybe at some point, he saw that he was only a chameleon on "The Daily Show" and longed to express conservative opinions, so he created the "Colbert Report" character so he could say all those things and still not lose all his liberal friends.
Sorry, that's the best I can do in an effort to absolve our representatives of the charge of cluelessness.