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Live Colbert vs. Bush Action
pokemon
unwiredben
I just got done watching the political nerd's version of the Oscars, the annual White House Press Correspondents' Dinner. This year's dinner was a combination of funny and awkward moments. One of the big things they covered is the renovation of the press area, and they showed a droll video tour of crowded news agency rooms with most of the press people poking light fun at themselves. There was also a montage of presidential funny moments that C-SPAN provided, including a slightly too long LBJ story with a great ending. The president's speech was funny, although most of the laughs were delivered by the Bush lookalike that represented his "inner thoughts". The jokes here tended to at the "Jay Leno"-level of political awareness -- if you know that Bush has trouble speaking at times and that Cheney shot a man, you could appreciate these.

The awkward moments were in Stephen Colbert's monologue, which borrowed heavily from material he's already used on his TV show. Colbert's brand of sarcastic irony seemed to fall flat with the press audience, and the material he did on how the gut is the ultimate determinant of the truth just didn't work outside of the cable show context. I did like it when Colbert flubbed a joke about Bush's approval rating and restarted it mid-punchline, doing an apparent ad-lib about the glass being 2/3rd empty. Colbert repeatedly asked for Bush's agreement, but the cut-aways to the President seemed to show a man who was trying very hard not to show disapproval. Colbert was much better later in his speech, and a joke about Washington D.C. being "the chocolate city with the white marshmallow center" gave me a belly laugh. I also appreciated the pretaped segment where Colbert tries out to be the new White House press secretary and succumbs to the wrath of Helen Thomas.

C-SPAN's showing a repeat later tonight, and it's likely there will be another airing soon. I also expect to see parts of it popping up on Google Video and YouTube within hours. It's worth checking out.

Update: Here's Colbert's speech on YouTube in three delicious parts, and here's a transcript for those of you who like your comedy all old-fashionly wordified.

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Thanks for the link... much better summary than I could write :)

I'm guessing that some of the silence was due to the audience's jaws gaping--"I can't believe he's saying that!" I kept fearing the ThoughtPolice were going to seize him and take him straight to Gitmo.

There's now a site where you can thank Colbert. Apparently a lot of people appreciated his speech.

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