Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central's fake news host of The Colbert Report, roasted President George W. Bush at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Association dinner on Saturday evening, April 29, 2006, which was broadcast live on C-SPAN.
"Virtually overnight," Don Hazen wrote May 9, 2006, for AlterNet, Colbert "became a hero to countless Americans."
Michael Scherer wrote May 1, 2006, in Salon about Colbert's performance:
- "Make no mistake, Stephen Colbert is a dangerous man -- a bomb thrower, an assassin, a terrorist with boring hair and rimless glasses. It's a wonder the Secret Service let him so close to the president of the United States.
- "But there he was Saturday night, keynoting the year's most fawning celebration of the self-importance of the D.C. press corps, the White House Correspondents' Association dinner. Before he took the podium, the master of ceremonies ominously announced, 'Tonight, no one is safe.'
- "Colbert is not just another comedian with barbed punch lines and a racy vocabulary. He is a guerrilla fighter, a master of the old-world art of irony. For Colbert, the punch line is just the addendum. The joke is in the setup. The meat of his act is not in his barbs but his character -- the dry idiot, 'Stephen Colbert,' God-fearing pitchman, patriotic American, red-blooded pundit and champion of 'truthiness.' 'I'm a simple man with a simple mind,' the deadpan Colbert announced at the dinner. 'I hold a simple set of beliefs that I live by. Number one, I believe in America. I believe it exists. My gut tells me I live there.' ...
- "It was Colbert's crowning moment. His imitation of the quintessential GOP talking head -- Bill O'Reilly meets Scott McClellan -- uncovered the inner workings of the ever-cheapening discourse that passes for political debate. He reversed and flattened the meaning of the words he spoke. It's a tactic that cultural critic Greil Marcus once called the 'critical negation that would make it self-evident to everyone that the world is not as it seems.' Colbert's jokes attacked not just Bush's policies, but the whole drama and language of American politics, the phony demonstration of strength, unity and vision. 'The greatest thing about this man is he's steady,' Colbert continued, in a nod to George W. Bush. 'You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday.'
- "It's not just that Colbert's jokes were hitting their mark. We already know that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that the generals hate Rumsfeld or that Fox News lists to the right. Those cracks are old and boring. What Colbert did was expose the whole official, patriotic, right-wing, press-bashing discourse as a sham, as more 'truthiness' than truth."
Articles & Commentary
- Video: "Colbert Roasts President Bush - 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner," C-SPAN (Google), April 29, 2006. Video is 24 minutes 10 seconds long.
- Video: "Colbert's smart bomb," Salon, April 30, 2006.
- "The Colbert Report. Morley Safer Profiles Comedy Central's 'Fake' Newsman," CBS News' 60 Minutes, April 30, 2006.
- Michael Scherer, Opinion: "The truthiness hurts. Stephen Colbert's brilliant performance unplugged the Bush myth machine -- and left the clueless D.C. press corps gaping," Salon, May 1, 2006.
- Joan Walsh, "Making Colbert go away. The docile press corps was offended when Stephen Colbert dared to expose Bush's -- and their own -- feet of clay. But how to respond? Voilà: 'He wasn't funny'," Salon, May 3, 2006. Free preview or subscription required.
- "Stephen Colbert becomes a Net sensation," Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog, May 8, 2006.
- Don Hazen, "Stephen Colbert: New American Hero," AlterNet', May 9, 2006.
- Letter to the Editor: "Critiquing Stephen Colbert and the Press," Washington Post, May 9, 2006.
- Katie Strickland, "Brutal comedy finally pops Bush’s bubble," Daily Bruin/UCLA, May 10, 2006.
- "Did Media Miss Real Colbert Story?" Truthdig, May 10, 2006.
- Keith Olbermann, "Olbermann Dissects Colbert vs. O’Reilly," Crooks and Liars, January 21, 2007. re Stephen Colbert and Bill O'Reilly