Stephen Colbert - A Man I Suppor(t)

Now and then I end up inadvertently staying up way too late while watching video after video on YouTube about some new fascination - chiropractic and massage therapy techniques, evolution vs. creation debates, how to become a hacker… and last night, Stephen Colbert.

Reconstructive Satire

I have been a fan of The Colbert Report for a couple of years. (I love watching clips via Flipboard on my iPad.) I appreciate the depth of satirical humor he and his writers use. I like The Daily Show with John Stewart as well, but those jokes seem so much more obvious to me. In one of the videos I came across, Colbert explained in an interview that his goal is to not just deconstruct political situations, but to also reconstruct them with a twist as a satirical Republican pundit.

Out of Character

I get the feeling that a lot of people don't quite get that last point: Stephen Colbert is a character. It's not often that you get to see the real Colbert, but I came across this short interview with him.

This blew me away. I had never seen him act so polite and … intelligent. I had to look for more and I was constantly impressed by his breadth of knowledge and talent. Here he is as a guest on Whose Line Is It Anyway? Yeah, apparently he speaks German. Check out some of the related videos and you can see he's dang good at improv and singing as well. Then there was this behind the scenes video of him welcoming John Kerry to the show. Evidently he greets each guest to make sure that they understand that he is in character on the show and that his character is "an unwitting idiot" and that they should "disabuse him of his ignorance."

Finally, there's this recent NPR Author Interview in which he discusses his recent book, America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't and shares some of his true personal opinions, including his support for Mitt Romney, desire to shed light on political controversies, and how lucky he his to work with great writers.

Man, that's a man I'd like to be like. I mean, I used to do a little theater myself, and really admire the craft of acting. I studied voice for many years, but I'm not nearly as capable of jumping into a showtune as he is. But mostly, I wish I could lie like that. I am such a an open book that my pages are my cover. I can't lie worth crap. I kind of envy people who can. And want to hurt them when they do.