NEW YORK- The Colbert Report has been running on Comedy Central since 2005. It was originally a spin-off, though now it has taken on a life of its own, of the still running and multiple Emmy award winning The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Though Stephen Colbert’s show had been nominated over six times, this past year he finally broke through with two of the coveted prime-time TV awards, with one for outstanding variety series, and the other for outstanding writing for a variety series.
Though accolades are nothing particularly new to the Colbert Report staff and Colbert himself, there does seem to be a gathering momentum behind him as a public figure. Colbert has not been shy in the past of voicing his political opinions, with actions like his creation of a super pac or the stinging White House correspondent dinner speech he gave several years ago.
While on screen he never breaks his satirical impersonation of a extremely conservative, stubborn to a fault, character he has created. He is self-described as an homage to Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly.
Coupled with some of his latest guests such as Billie Jean King, who will representing the United States at the Sochi Olympics in place of U.S. President Barack Obama, as an active protest against recently enacted anti-gay laws.
His poignant pieces on the latest banking schemes and government fraud have made him one of the few sources on television for many to get information that is not misleading.
A classic feature of the show, viewers will be familiar with his monologues, where a graphic titled ‘the word’ writes out the real meaning behind the satire of what he is saying in character, right beside him as he talks.
Stephen Colbert has reached a point of significant public influence, through his disclosure of government wrongdoings, all the while making his audience see the ridiculousness and humor in them. A tactic that has a wonderful effect of ridding the sense of fear or being overwhelmed in the face of such issues.
One needs to look no further than one of his recent bits that disclosed a new marketing tactic, that many including his own network will now be using. This marketing company will be inserting marketing directly into re-runs of old episodes.
For example, when a character was walking down a street, by a formerly non-descript shop, this new scheme would turn it into a subway. This is a subtle yet powerful way to insert more brands and marketing into television content.
In classic fashion, Colbert satirically shredded this a new one. Though the skit itself may not be particularly PG-13, it is a perfect encapsulation of what he stands for and his marvelous tactics of humor and persistence to share truth and knowledge, even through a system so corrupt such as the television industry of which his parent company, Viacom, is intricately implicated.
At a time when most do not read the latest peer reviewed journals and all the while are let down by the awful propaganda that is the main news media sources, The Colbert Report is one of the few shows that still reaches nationwide, that can shine light on dark situations, a fascinating role for a comedian to find themselves. Given his track so far and current interests, it seems that role is in good moral hands.
– Tyler Shafsky