Colbert on Westmoreland on Colbert

by Jon Mandle on July 27, 2006

Colbert returns to the amazing interviews he did with Rep. Lynn Westmoreland and Rep. Robert Wexler. Only this time, it is to skewer the allegedly serious television shows that mock his.

Colbert: “But the Today Show and Good Morning America could be right. I could be asking the wrong questions. For instance, I asked U.S. Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, who proposed requiring the display of the Ten Commandments in the House and Senate chambers if he could name the Ten Commandments. What I should have asked him was this …”

Clips from other shows:
“Is it possible that tanning is addictive?”
“How long does it take you to grow that thing [a long beard]?”
“Do you really need to wait a half-hour after you eat before you go swimming?”

It’s much funnier to watch the whole thing.

Tip: Atrios



DC 07.27.06 at 9:56 pm

I watched the video, but I’m not sure I get it.

His show is a parody of a conservative pundit, and I don’t watch it enough to know what the majority of his material is like, but within the show he acts as if he takes himself seriously, right?

So why get bent out of shape if straight shows (which he does skewer accurately as not so straight indeed) criticize what happens. Is he worried that the politicians will refuse to play along?

I would think he would continue with the joke by praising the political prowess of the Reps. Or arguing that the answers were somehow emblematic of true conservative credentials. Instead he essentially says “Well he sure does have a sense of humor.”


Seth Finkelstein 07.27.06 at 10:40 pm

dc: It’s not really bent-out-of-shape, it’s still “in character”. Part of his act is also that the mainstream media is cowardly and air-headed. That bit work on two levels. In-character, it’s “We’re a show which discusses Serious Topics like Religion or Incumbency, not tanning and beards.”. On the other level it’s “Hey, why are *you* (journalists) bent out of shape by politicians going along with a mild joke for a comedian, when you do bigger jokes for your living?”

Sometimes the two levels don’t mesh perfectly, because the serious pundit character conflicts with the comedian’s wink. But when he can get the levels to complement each other, it works well.


asg 07.27.06 at 10:42 pm

The Westmoreland interview was priceless. It must be seen to be believed. Just the timing of Colbert holding up two fists when Westmoreland finally realizes he’s serious and he really is going to have to show that he doesn’t know even 5 of them is a huge laugh.


DC 07.27.06 at 10:59 pm


I see your point.

I like the show, and I am consistently amazed that they are able to pull it off. It seems like the whole setup is much harder to pull off than what Jon Stewart does.

I’ve heard Colbert interviewed a couple of times on AirAmerica and there is always seems to be a point where he has to ask “Are you asking me or the character I play on TV?”

I think part of what makes it hard is that it doesn’t allow him (on the show) to be in on the joke. He just deadpans everything.


Ashish George 07.27.06 at 11:14 pm

At first I thought the show was good, but it sometimes fell flat because Colbert had to carry jokes longer than he should have had to. But the show has definitely hit its stride, and it’s benefited from becoming more rapid-fire.

Tonight’s Better Know A District was also excellent.


John I 07.28.06 at 1:52 pm

Colbert’s schtick is pretty sophisticated and I’m amazed at both his ability to sustain it, and it’s apparent popularity. Even more priceless than the Ali G. style interviews are the instances where conservatives don’t get the joke and cite him, thinking he really is a right wing host.

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