03 February 2007

Irony is dead

Like a lassi after the vindaloo, impressionist Rich Little (right), who does a spot-on Dr. Phil, will take the podium this April at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner.

“I think his brand of humor will be perfect for the night," said WHCA president Steve Scully, noting that he'd reminded the comedian of his goal: "to singe, not burn."

The annual dinner hosts around 3,000 of the most powerful people in Washington, and, unless you've been on a media fast in the Gulf Islands with Raffi, you know what happened last year.

Stephen Colbert (left), Comedy Central host and that night's keynote speaker, crossed the line, was mean-spirited and unfunny, performed the greatest act of moral courage in the history of the universe, sarcastically destroyed both the media and its masters, or was f**king pathetic and depressing. Take your pick.

(You know you need to watch at least 6:50-13:30 again, all the while asking yourself, 'Is it possible for a comedian to kill and bomb at the same time?')

Whether he killed, or bombed, or both, depends on whom you ask. But most can agree that Colbert's ironic speech left many in the room clenched and squirming. And angry: Laura Bush refused Colbert's hand as he exited the dais, under thin applause.

And there were some watching C-SPAN that night who didn't quite get it. From self-described 'reasonable conservative' Jon Swift:
"I had never heard of Stephen Colbert before this event but he seems to be a very articulate and sincere conservative. Some are even saying he is courageous for facing down the liberal media the way he did. I'm not sure I would go that far. Have we sunk so low that merely having convictions makes one a hero?"
In this week's Talk of the Town, Jeffrey Goldberg doesn't talk up Colbert's convictions; he reckons the comedian committed the "sin of humor" with President Bush sitting only a few feet away.

Surely, though, beside the Sloth, Wrath, and Pride of the roastee, humor is a venial sin.

Ten Hail Marys and an Act of Contrition, my son, and on your way.

Now collecting votes for the 1) funniest, 2) wickedest, and 3) flattest Colbert lines.

(Edit: Holy Christmas! Rich Little is Canadian??)


Anonymous said...

"And there were some watching C-SPAN that night who didn't quite get it. From self-described 'reasonable conservative' Jon Swift:"

I think maybe you don't "get" Jon Swift .... (or have I been satirized too?)

JJB said...

Jon? Is it you?

I knew your piece was possibly satire, but I wasn't sure. So I may have fallen into the same trap I've accused you of: not getting it.

I have only two excuses: 1) it would be so perfect if your post weren't satire, and 2) when we start satirizing a satirist of a satirist, it all gets a bit Lewis Carroll. Have you heard Colbert say to O'Reilly (who had just said "This is all an act"): "Bill, if you're an act, then what the hell am I?"

Anonymous said...

Jon? Is it you?

No, just a Colbert/Swift fan

"Bill, if you're an act, then what the hell am I?"

I nearly peed my pants when I heard that. Until then I thought Colbert was only (to use boxing terms) winning on points, but superbly timed right at the bell, a perfect knockout punch and BO was out cold.

JJB said...

Wasn't sorry for BO, of course, but you had to wonder why he thought either of those battles (on SC's show and his) was winnable.

It was beautiful to see BO try to mount his horse of bluster and get repeatedly thrown off by Colbert's agreeing with him. The bit about Jon Stewart being high -- awesome.

JJB said...

Wait, so Jon Swift: satire, yeah?

Anonymous said...

Wait, so Jon Swift: satire, yeah?

Yeah. When he wrote his most well know stuff he was generally know as "Jonathan" (google him - he's actually quite famous). I guess he shortened it for his blog to be a bit more "modern".

JJB said...

OK, I feel a little slow for not getting that one. A Modest Proposal's Jonathan Swift? Only one of my favorites. Mea culpa.

By the way, did you see Arianna Huffington's comment on the WHCA dinner? "Start carving that satiric Mt. Rushmore: Swift, Twain...Colbert."