Thursday, July 21, 2011

Give Us This Day Our Daily Show

Another benefit of Hulu Plus subscription is that it's allowed me access to the only thing that I missed about giving up cable - The Daily Show and Colbert Report. They were the only things I watched on a regular basis.

I have to say, I'm still reacclimating to Jon Stewart. The mugging! Good lord, I don't want to second guess ratings success, but is that really necessary? Still, the writing is as sharp as ever, and it's nice to see that they still value laughs at the expense of hypocrisy over laughs at the expense of conservatives. Like any good comedians, they know that you have to establish a consistent character before you generate punchlines. The Daily Show is a character that ridicules politicians who lie. This remains an excellent choice, no matter how painful it is.

Then there's the perpetual tightrope walk that is the Colbert Report. Colbert has to simultaneously impersonate an ultraconservative Fox News host AND keep the audience on his side by letting them know that is is not one. But if he winks too much, it spoils the joke. I think the only reason he pulls this off is because right wing talking points are so absurd that, like certain dry dog foods, they make their own gravy. Colbert could just read transcripts straight and get an easy half hour of comedy.

But he doesn't do easy. So there's always the punchline that goes a half step farther, to push it over the edge. Plus Colbert really shines during the interviews, where he feels free to go full-bore conservative. These things are at least part improv (no TV interview is completely improv - the only reason anything unexpected happens in those things is because they don't get enough rehearsal time) and Colbert has a lock on his character. It's sheer magic to see.

No comments: