apr 29

Will The Real Colbert Please Stand Up?

This study sorta blows my mind: The Irony of Satire. There are really conservatives out there who don't get that Colbert is joking? [via]


I dunno if I get the premise of the survey. Sometimes Colbert is joking, and sometimes he's joking that he's joking, depending on the topic. Colbert's character is blindly conservative, but the writing staff isn't blindly liberal, so they're not going to always make him 'wrong' 100% of the time.

Colbert's character is flexible enough to where he can advocate any view point through satire. If he's advocating a left wing view point he acts as a straw man, and if he's advocating a right wing or centrist viewpoint he does it by just making a valid argument while being funny. I mean, most of the time the 'intent' is coming from the left, but there are rare occasions where it's not, depending on the subject.

Mike Judge does a similar thing with King of the Hill, since the show's characters are more conservative than the writers. Usually the satirical episodes land on the left, but not all of the time.

It's just weird that the survey asks if he's doing one or the other all of the time, because they do both. But they obviously make him a straw man like 95% of the time, and he's only "joking about joking" like 5% of the time. So people would still be wrong in saying that he's "joking about joking" all the time, but it's still a dumb question.

posted by BradOFarrell at 10:23 AM on April 29, 2009

Errrr... I'm not sure about that. You really think that Colbert does satire about the left? I mean, more than 2% of the time?

Jon Stewart slips it in occasionally too, but when he does, it's never about politics, it's about greed/power, like last night about that House member who was wiretapped.

posted by Rex at 10:37 AM on April 29, 2009

This post is interesting.

posted by Rex at 11:13 AM on April 29, 2009

There have been guests who don't get the satire, let alone viewers. Publishing the survey is fun. I just thought this was common knowledge.

posted by Matt at 11:29 AM on April 29, 2009

I think Barney Frank was the only person to not get it. (Colbert has said that he briefs all the guests of his dickishness beforehand.)

posted by Rex at 11:31 AM on April 29, 2009

Why is it a binary outcome that he either is or is not joking all the time? I find it way more nuanced than that.

posted by katiebakes at 4:07 PM on April 29, 2009

Of course Colbert isn't joking -- neither is Stewart. They are very serious about what they are doing, which is skewering virtually anything that is conservative/libertarian and exalting anything left and Obamaish. Their water carriers for the liberal viewpoint, in the guise of hip laughs. Of course, if they were really pressed on their point of view, and had to defend them with seriousness and logic, they wouldn't really be able to because they would simply hide behind the "Oh, I am just a comedian" curtain. When they DO get serious, as Stewart did that one time with Tucker Carlson, his thin, mean-spirited self-righteous pomposity was there for all to see.

posted by Karl K at 7:18 PM on April 29, 2009

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