December 24, 2009

"We felt like we were throwing joke Molotov cocktails, and then the room burst into flames."

Stephen Colbert reflects on his infamous performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner. (Blogged here at the time.)
When the dinner was over, "I don't think I'm dying. I go to sit down and nobody's meeting my eye. Only [the late journalist-turned-White House spokesman] Tony Snow comes over and says I'm doing a great job." Then Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia came his way and told him he was brilliant.

"I said, oh, s-, don't let me like Antonin Scalia!"

43 comments:

AprilApple said...

Must hate-zez.
Must haaaate-zez!

Chase said...

The article you link to uses the phrase

serious-minded news hosts like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow

That does it.
First Sullivan, now crap reporting like that. The Atlantic has gone down the toilet.

Sofa King said...

That brave, brave Colbert. HOw brave of him to take on an unpopular lame duck politician. And he's still speaking truth to the powerless! The COURAGE!

Maguro said...

Has Colbert managed to make an Obama joke yet or is that still off limits?

Fred4Pres said...

Scalia can tell an excellent joke. Funny, funny guy.

vbspurs said...

"I said, oh, s-, don't let me like Antonin Scalia!"

Just goes to show, even when they're snarky cynics, they're still insecure little boys inside, given warm-and-fuzzies by a passing compliment.

William said...

If a comedian sees nothing to mock in Olbermann, Van Jones, and Rahm Emanuel, he is not doing his job. I don't knock his talent, but if he were as casually dismissive of any minority group as he is of Republicans, he would be defined as a bigot.

Sofa King said...

if he were as casually dismissive of any minority group as he is of Republicans

Republicans are a minority group, haven't you noticed?

Big Mike said...

@William, you're right on the mark.

List of people that it's okay to be bigoted about if you're a liberal:

(1) White males, especially if Christian

(2) Asian-Americans of either gender, especially if they're competing against your kid for a place in an Ivy

(3) Blacks who think for themselves. This goes triple or quadruple if after they think for themselves they come down against affirmative action (e.g., Justice Thomas, Tom Sowell, the Steele twins, and Michael Steele (no relation))

EDH said...

Good comedy holds up over time.

I just went back and watched most of Colbert's performance. For the most part, it was boring and lame.

Obviously, Colbert at the time thought he was using irony to reveal great truths. What time has shown, however, is that those thruths weren't so "thruthier."

Can you image Obama permitting, say, a Glenn Beck to do the same to him?

Robert Cook said...

"That brave, brave Colbert. HOw brave of him to take on an unpopular lame duck politician. And he's still speaking truth to the powerless! The COURAGE!"

Bush was hardly ineffectual at the time of Colbert's razor sharp evisceration of him, and while you may not think it took any courage, he certainly displayed more guts than anyone in the mainstream media had done previously or did subsequently. You also ignore that as much of Colbert's speech was directed at the media clowns in the room at the time as at the President. The chilly response to Colbert's act was due to the offense they took to being shown up, not because they were embarrassed or offended on the President's behalf.

Colbert's speech still stands as a shining moment of hilarity and accurate criticism of the incestuous and corrupt Washington media/government community.

Sofa King said...

Colbert's speech still stands as a shining moment of hilarity and accurate criticism of the incestuous and corrupt Washington media/government community.

Is that really what his criticism was? Because the problem seems worse than ever, but where is the criticism now? Or was the real criticism less idealistic: not that the press was insufficiently critical of government, just that it was insufficiently critical of Repbulicans.

Robert Cook said...

Of Government.

Sofa King said...

So you say. Yet where is his courage now? Talk is cheap. It's actions that tell you what a man really believes.

edutcher said...

Robert Cook said...

Bush was hardly ineffectual at the time of Colbert's razor sharp evisceration of him, and while you may not think it took any courage, he certainly displayed more guts than anyone in the mainstream media had done previously or did subsequently. You also ignore that as much of Colbert's speech was directed at the media clowns in the room at the time as at the President. The chilly response to Colbert's act was due to the offense they took to being shown up, not because they were embarrassed or offended on the President's behalf.

Colbert's speech still stands as a shining moment of hilarity and accurate criticism of the incestuous and corrupt Washington media/government community.


Yes, Dubya, Darth Cheney, and Rummy filled gulags with those that displeased them. Millions died in the abattoirs constructed by them from Hyde Park to Haight-Ashbury. Colbert showed such daring Speaking Truth To Power.

Or are you addressing the current communist administration and congress?

For crying out loud, I says again and I repeats, what drivel.

Robert Colbert showed more courage trying to get out of playing Brent Maverick when Roger Moore left Tinseltown.

John Thacker said...

Colbert's speech still stands as a shining moment of hilarity and accurate criticism of the incestuous and corrupt Washington media/government community.

And Colbert's behavior since stands as a shining monument to the fact that he wants to be part of the incestuous and corrupt Washington media/government community, so long as it excludes Republicans and only is cozy with Democrats.

It's excellent evidence of why we should only elect Republicans, for only then does any part of the media do its job.

John Thacker said...

I am amused that he got positive comments from actual conservatives, but icy disdain from the oh-so-serious liberal journalists, though. Not that he'd ever allow that to change his mind.

vbspurs said...

OT: Remember the mum who was accused of being a bad mother, because she Twittered for prayers when her son drowned? She tweeted about 70 times per day -- I think Roger Ebert is on the same track, as he tweeted about 20 times (so far) today. The last two, in the voice of Dr. Samuel Johnson (!).

SMGalbraith said...

He's a comedian, for crissakes.

Anyway, I always think it's always better to be too harsh on our political leaders than too soft on them. And the power of ridicule is immense. "How many divisions has the jester?" Many.

As Madison pointed out, "Men are not angels". It's always good to remind them of that.

Fred4Pres said...

I would have more respect for Colbert if he did the same to Obama, not because of tit for tat, but it would show he really just did it fair.

Fred4Pres said...

Colbert is like those brave brave souls who love to make fun of Christians and Jews, but strangely stay silent when it comes to Muslims (mostly because they are worried a real molotov cocktail might go through their window).

The Crack Emcee said...

Let's see:

The polls say 44% want Bush back - and Iraq is now seen as a success.

Yep, Colbert's performance was brilliant.

ricpic said...

There's a huge hole in this article. We're told that the Colbert creature was iced out by most journalists in the room after doing his shtick, which amounted to dissing Bush. Why would journalists - who register like 9 to 1 Democrat - give him the cold shoulder. Doesn't compute.

SMGalbraith said...

Why would journalists - who register like 9 to 1 Democrat - give him the cold shoulder. Doesn't compute.

Because a lot of his barbs were directed at them, indirectly if not directly, as much as Bush.

Pogo said...

He's a comedian, eh?

Someone be sure to let him know that with just a few extra ballots kept in a car trunk, he can be a Senator from Minnesota.

Joe said...

ricpic, Journalists may be liberal, but they are out for themselves above everything and being "in" with power is the most important thing of all. Given a choice between principals and being in the inner circles of power, most will choose the latter every time.

Dump on the president too much and your invitations will be rescinded. This is a big reason the press is in the bag for Obama--they know that thanks to Rham and Axelrod if they cross him, they will be uninvited and will be on Obama's shit list.

A true journalist with integrity wouldn't even being going to the these events nor to White House dinners, except to pester the president and his staff with questions. That they behave themselves is proof in itself that the White House press corp has zero integrity.

Lem said...

While the pundits look ahead with dread the comedians look back with nostalgia.

Anything but to have to talk about Obama..

Oligonicella said...

I never liked Don Rickles, and Cobert is no Don Rickles.

David said...

Pretentious article. Takes the whole thing seriously. The beauty of Colbert and Stewart is that they refuse to take things seriously (usually).

Peter S. said...

Wow. For a real eye-opener, compare the comments to Ann's April 2006 post (y'know, back when Bush was a lame duck) and the comments now -- both for quality and content.

Clearly the times are too serious today -- what with the gulags, the war on white Christians, and the fact that Colbert's speech failed to transform the media or the electorate.

And him, a comedian!

Robert Cook said...

"...and Iraq is now seen as a success."

By whom and for whom and defining "success" by what terms? Whatever else it may be, it is one of the great crimes of modern history.

"Because a lot of (Colbert's) barbs were directed at (the media), indirectly if not directly, as much as Bush."

Oh, make no mistake: many of his barbs were very squarely and directly aimed at them. The atrocious performance of the media is as much what both Colbert and Stewart lampoon as is the foolishness of our elected representatives. In fact, the foolishness, knavery, corruption, and criminality of those in power would not so easily be hidden without the media's complicity in obfuscating the true nature of our government's behavior.

edutcher said...

Robert Cook said...

"...and Iraq is now seen as a success."

By whom and for whom and defining "success" by what terms?


Success as, "The bad guys lose, we win". Whom - everyone, including The Zero.

Whatever else it may be, it is one of the great crimes of modern history.

Right up there with MacArthur's liberation of the Philippines, the Normandy landings, Sherman's March, and the winning of the West.

Maguro said...

Cook, why is it that all your comments read like press releases from the North Korean government? Your delivery is completely wooden and impersonal.

Just because you're a commie doesn't mean you need to write like one. Lighten up a bit.

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Paul said...

Colbert and Stewart are capable of poking fun at Obama, but only from the left, i.e., his failure to rescind the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. It would be inconceivable for them to poke fun at him for being too liberal, as from their perspective he's a moderate. Stewart poked fun at him for saying the Cambridge police "acted stupidly" in the Gates affair, but Stewart's angle was that Obama had played it wrong politically, not that he had inadvertently revealed his negative attitude toward law enforcement.

I don't watch either of them any more, but I got tired of John Stewart first, as he began to remind me of a typical hyper morning DJ who thinks that if he yells when he's delivering a lame joke it makes it funnier, and at the same time he supplies his own laugh track.

I sort of enjoyed Colbert's performance at the Press Club because I agreed with some of his jibes at Bush, but at the same time, it was painful to see the president sitting there having to be a good sport while someone is being openly rude to him. I felt the same way when Don Imus did the same to Clinton a few years earlier. Awkward, really awkward, watching him joke about Bill's infidelities while Bill and Hillary sat there. But, in the case of both perfomers it probably bumped their careers up a few notches, which was what it was all about.

Chip Ahoy said...

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Dark Eden said...

"I said, oh, s-, don't let me like Antonin Scalia!"

This one line contains everything I dislike about the modern Democrat Party in its purest form.

Robert Cook said...

"I said, oh, s-, don't let me like Antonin Scalia!"

"This one line contains everything I dislike about the modern Democrat Party in its purest form."

What...a sense of humor? To the contrary, I've never noticed the Democratic Party (or the Republican Party, either) having a sense of humor.

Robert Cook said...

Paul said,

"Colbert and Stewart are capable of poking fun at Obama, but only from the left, i.e., his failure to rescind the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. It would be inconceivable for them to poke fun at him for being too liberal, as from their perspective he's a moderate."

And Obama is a liberal...how?

I sort of enjoyed Colbert's performance at the Press Club because I agreed with some of his jibes at Bush, but at the same time, it was painful to see the president sitting there having to be a good sport while someone is being openly rude to him. I felt the same way when Don Imus did the same to Clinton a few years earlier. Awkward, really awkward, watching him joke about Bill's infidelities while Bill and Hillary sat there."

There's a difference, though, between mocking a President for his policies and actions as President--which affects us all, here and around the world, and which, let's face it, is expected from comedians invited to speak at these sort of events, (albeit with toothless jabs, rather than the pointedness of Colbert)--and mocking them publicly for deeply personal and private acts where the person most hurt by those acts, (the spouse), is present along with the person being mocked.

Moreover, Colbert's jabs were directed at least as much at the preening, pandering, over-paid media hacks present in the audience as at the man sitting near him who had commenced aggressive (i.e., illegal) wars abroad, carried on illegal wiretapping, and had instituted a torture regime. They, and the President, were well deserving of any mild rebuke or embarrassment as Colbert's speech may have presented them.

Paul said...

Blogger Robert Cook said...
>>And Obama is a liberal...how?

How to spend time on Christmas day:

1.) Argue politics with someone who doesn't get how Obama can be considered a liberal.

2.) pend time with family.

Hmm, which to pick?

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