Posts Tagged ‘ Letterman ’

Nature Abhors a Vacuum

Stephen Colbert

The news that Stephen Colbert will be taking over the Late Show from David Letterman made front page news today. I must admit to feeling a none too small sense of loss.

What will this new Late Show look like? Will it look anything like the Colbert Report?

If not, if Colbert passes into the pantheon of well-meaning, but ultimately unimportant celebrity turnstiles like Conan O’Brien or Jay Leno, then we have lost something precious.

If you’re not already watching The Daily Show and its spin-off The Colbert Report then you might not understand why I feel this way. But these two programs are truly the last great bastions of satire in our age. Colbert, in particular, has served an invaluable role in illuminating the paradoxes and absurdities of twenty-first century politics.

Take, for example, Colbert’s running segment during the last election cycle. To lampoon this country’s disgusting campaign finance system, Colbert actually created a SuperPAC around his own faux-political ambitions, even going so far as to “hand it over” to crony John Stewart to expose how “separate” the interests of SuperPACs and the candidates they endorse really are. (There’s also a hilarious sequence where Colbert seizes the reigns of his unlimited pool of campaign money.)

His departure from the realm of satire to simple celebrity coddling as Letterman has practiced it would be a terrible blow to the ideological landscape where often it is only he and The Daily Show‘s John Stewart who dare say to an audience of millions that the emperor has no clothes.

But then again, perhaps this is a golden opportunity.

I’m sure that Colbert will not be bringing the right-wing sometimes dunder-headed ego-maniacal persona he has played so well for the last several years to CBS’s Late Show. But perhaps he will bring his political sensibility and his keen insight about what is wrong with the media and the political machine they are supposed to police for the public.

And in his place over on Comedy Central, perhaps we’ll get a new, equally biting half-hour of satire. Samantha Bee Tells It Like It Is, anyone?