Furor de Lance
The two worst kept secrets on the surface of the planet were finally revealed, to absolutely no one's surprise last week. Actor/director Jodie Foster took to the stage of The 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards to acknowledge that she is a lesbian, while record-breaking cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted to America's confessor Oprah Winfrey that he had also been a record-breaking doper through all those years he denied it. On The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert couldn't review the interview, so he reviewed something even more important: the hype.
Over on The Daily Show, correspondent and doctor-for-a-day Aasif Mandvi analyzed Armstrong's marathon mendacity from a sports medicine point of view.
There are, of course, two sides to every debate. In the case of the debate over gun laws triggered by the tragedy of Newtown, those two sides boil down to the sane versus the crazy. Naturally TDS and TCR took aim at the target-rich comedy environment of the latter position. Stewart examined the merely paranoiac notion peddled by the firearms industry flacks of the National Rifle Association that Barack Obama is planning to rob gun owners of their manhood... uh, I mean take away their guns.
Colbert exploded the even more surreal concept that the Second Amendment was intended by the Founders to promote armed resistance... to the Founders. That was the subject of the latest edition of TCR's "The Word," which remains one of the show's most popular features, and deservedly so. If you have a strong enough stomach, check out Bill O'Reilly on Fox "News" when he is presenting his "Talking Points," which are clearly the inspiration for Colbert's "Word" -- except that the text accompanying Falafel Bill's commentary is merely a transcript of what he is saying at the time, while the written words accompanying Colbert's spoken ones are the counterpoint of a sly, sometimes Freudian alter ego.
The newspaper of record that is the New York Times and the fish wrap that is the New York Post both came in for a drubbing on TDS/TCR. Times columnist Paul Krugman clearly was NOT using the brain that won him a Nobel Prize in economics when he took to his blog to chide Stewart himself for mocking the idea of a "trillion dollar coin" as the solution to the looming debt limit crisis. Note to Doc Krugman: NEVER chide a professional comic for ANYTHING. These people are trained to spontaneously dispatch hecklers during live performances -- imagine what they can do with time to reflect and a team of writers behind them. Come to think of it, don't imagine. Just watch:
Meanwhile, counterfeit conservative Colbert falsely flattered the sincerely right-wing Post for their daring expose of seething corruption in the highest ranks of Corporate America!... Well, no, actually something a tad less consequential:
A Jury Of Their Piers
CNN's pompous yet puerile Brit ex-pat Piers Morgan is such a perfect target of satire, it was surely painful for the creators of TDS and TCR to basically come to his defense when he was attacked by American gun addicts for supporting sensible gun laws. Stewart mocked the petition calling for Morgan's deportation (for allegedly defiling the Constitution, which in this case is known to the rest of us as "free speech") -- and went on to ridicule in general the White House's Really Bad Idea which made the petition possible in the first place.
Colbert considered one of several assorted gun nuts Morgan has had on his show, thus channeling the most high-minded moments of Geraldo Rivera and Jerry Springer.
As the media try to minimize the most intimidating aspect of news programming -- the news -- investigative journalism is going the way of print and periodicals and adult literacy. Daily Show correspondent John Oliver attended the wake of a tradition that increasingly exists only in the world of make-believe.
Best Lines and Exchanges
Colbert prefaced a segment covering a controversial product:
Colbert: "Long time viewers of this show know that I love my sponsors as I love my children -- if my children gave me money."
Stewart interviewed Jessica Chastain, effusive star of the movie Zero Dark Thirty:
Chastain: "I am a huge fan of this show!"
Stewart: "I don't care for it -- I don't watch it."
Colbert perused the latest headlines on his tablet:
Colbert: "'President Obama signed 23 gun control measures today and called on Congress to ban assault weapons and hundred round magazines' There goes my fishing trip."
Stewart explored the conservative attacks on an essential federal agency:
Stewart: "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms -- it's an actual government agency, not just a traditional Southern wedding gift."
Englishman Piers Morgan locked horns with super-patriot Colbert:
Morgan: "We gave you our language, as you know."
Colbert: "We took it with our guns!"