He rose to fame parodying a blowhard. Is he aware he’s become one?
Last Tuesday, “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert — who’d been struggling in the ratings until the election — made national headlines for a monologue that, as it does nightly, skewered President Trump.
He began by defending John Dickerson, a veteran journalist Trump recently dismissed mid-interview. Colbert, who loves to remind viewers that he’s a devout Catholic, opened with moral outrage — outrage Dickerson, who is also the political director of CBS News, presumably didn’t request. Nevertheless, Dickerson’s humiliation would be Colbert’s to avenge.
“Donald Trump,” Colbert said, “John Dickerson is a fair-minded journalist and one of the most competent people who will ever walk into your office, and you treat him like that?”
Yes, the average viewer of late-night TV, worried about getting up for work tomorrow and paying bills, surely has room to be upset on behalf of a well-regarded, highly compensated journalist. Moving on:
“Sir,” Colbert continued, “you attract more skinheads than Rogaine. You have more people marching against you than cancer. You talk like a sign-language gorilla that got hit in the head. In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c–k holster.”
The monologue isn’t offensive politically. It’s offensive because it’s just not funny. Colbert fails to see the irony in taking umbrage at Trump’s crude insults by hurling crude insults.
In a recent piece on Colbert in The New Yorker, TV critic Emily Nussbaum, formerly a fan, noted Colbert’s comedic devolution. “Attacking Trump isn’t in itself subversive,” she wrote, adding that his Trump-focused monologues “feel cognitively draining, not unlike political punditry.”
And it’s not just Colbert. There’s an archness and stridency among his fellow “Daily Show” alums like John Oliver and Samantha Bee, and it’s unclear what they hope to…