Sunday, April 30, 2006

Comedy at the Edge

The conventional journalism world is handling it very gingerly with kid gloves left over from last night's White House Press Corps soiree, but the blogosphere is having a jamboree over Stephen Colbert's uncompromising send-up of the Bush Administration and our National Stenographic Press Corps.

Firedog Lake has the low-down. Editor & Publisher has an excellent summary. Crooks & Liars has the video. Live Journal posted a transcript. Peter Daou surveys the reviews. City Pages has a collection of Colbert's best lines. [Add] The incomparable Billmon contrasts, compares, and explains how "Colbert used satire the way it's used in more openly authoritarian societies."

Whatever else you may hear about it, it was breathtakingly courageous. Comedy on the very edge: astute, irreverent, mordant -- and very funny.

It's an instant classic sure to have a long life in the collective memory of comedians everywhere; not, perhaps, for the keen wit Colbert displayed, but for the circumstances in which he fearlessly put it on display -- in a huge room crowded with self-satisfied beltway insiders and sycophantic journalists who have elevated to an artform the praxis of ignoring the fact the Emperor has no clothes.

The Emperor was there, too, and he didn't much like hearing someone say to his face that he's stark naked. As Shakespeare's Sister says, Bush "couldn't get out of that room fast enough."

Additional Reactions
Florida's Morning Martini observes: "To hear an American speak the cold truth in public was stunning and difficult for many to hear." The reason, she observes sagaciously, is "The last thing anyone expected in the president’s presence was the truth."

A fast-loading, easy-to-play video of Colbert's historic performance is now available on My DD. Elisabeth Bumiller ought to watch it. So should the newly-designated CBS Evening News anchor, Katie Couric.

added transcript and best lines link/ 4-30
added Additional Reactions 5-1

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