Colbert at WHCD Wrap-Up

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"One of my balls bigger than the Epcot Center"

-Puniceus Hominis, "Quam Sublime"

Stephen Colbert was the celebrity roaster of frequent-and-deservedly-so roastee, our President, fearless leader, last night at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. In a night that saw Chuckles take to the stage with an impersonator of himself in an aww-shucksy routine that had the Press Corps obediently busting a gut, Colbert delivered an address that is, at moments, almost unbearable to watch. This is not to say that there was anything wrong with the material, but it was so shockingly direct (and shockingly directed, as Colbert turned to Bush over and over again, his faux-fawning met with an icy glare for the duration of the speech) and met with so little response amongst the sea of tables full of press folk, who struggle with the President and his administrations stinginess with details every day.

Here's the clip. [video of second half here too -Dan] When you're done with it, go up and read that FoxNews article again, or maybe this: "Being Rude to the President and His Wife is No Joke", [Political Psychology Blog by way of Powerline], which scientifically proves that Colbert bombed, Bush is super sweet and anything you say about him that's bad imperils him, this sweet land that we call home, and everyone we hold dear as a society. Tucker Carlson gave this rather weak address about Colbert "bombing" at the dinner, and Michelle Malkin (who, truth be told, can't even be covered by any sort of "Twinky" joke because the cream filling in a twinkie isn't wearing a white robe and hood) had this to say. The leftist leanings of ourselves and whatever readers we may have aside, this was a sharp piece of entertainment and, knowing that there is maybe still a smidgen of truth to the whole "liberal media" line, it is hard to imagine that many in the crowd, in different circumstances, would have found this hilarious. However, they sat on their hands here, with some too-cool-for-D.C. sniggering the only reward for Colbert's bravery.

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Left: Bush's Reaction to Colbert's Clowning; Right: Colbert Turned Repeatedly to Bush During the Speech

Colbert's proximity to the President and his ability to strictly maintain his blithe, untroubled right-winger character with no egging on by the crowd and a stone-faced head of state three steps away was the highlight. He revelled in his ability to make the President uncomfortable, and crossed a number of names off his possible guest list, including John McCain, of whom he said:

John McCain is here. John McCain, John McCain, what a maverick! Somebody find out what fork he used on his salad, because I guarantee you it wasn't a salad fork. This guy could have used a spoon! There's no predicting him. By the way, Senator McCain, it's so wonderful to see you coming back into the Republican fold. I have a summer house in South Carolina; look me up when you go to speak at Bob Jones University. So glad you've seen the light, sir.

Jon Stewart gave McCain a fairly thorough working-over on The Daily Show recently, which you can see here. Colbert, safe behind his persona, felt free to go further than Stewart would have dared, and Stewart seemed to recognize that last night when he mentioned the incident at the beginning of The Daily Show here and when he transitioned to Colbert at the end here.

Look, make your own opinion, but this speech tested the nation's tolerance for satire by turning to hand-tohand combat tactics in the cultural war. It's fun to bomb at political figures in D.C. from 42nd St in New York, but it takes some cock-and-balls to do it to the face of the most powerful man in the world, idiot or no.

For those of you still interested, here's the transcript of the speech.

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