Colbert to CBS ‘Late Show’ captivates conservative paranoia

Stephen Colbert

When I heard Rush Limbaugh’s response to last week’s news that CBS chose Stephen Colbert to succeed David Letterman as host as the “Late Show,” I was thinking how glad I am not to be a damn conservative.

I can’t imagine how happy a conservative minded person can possibly be — those who are likely to subscribe to the mindset of a Limbaugh or a Bill O’Reilly — since they are constantly paranoid about everything. For the sheep who nod their heads while Limbaugh speaks, they sincerely believe that CBS has declared war on the traditional late night television viewer who just wants pure wholesome comedy after watching the late local news.

Below is a portion of Limbaugh’s remarks, last Thurday, on his syndicated radio program:

What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny and a redefinition of what is comedy, and they’re blowing up the 11:30 format under the guise that the world’s changing and people don’t want the kind of comedy that Carson gave us, or even Letterman. They don’t want that anymore. It’s media planting a flag here…It’s a declaration. There’s no unity in this hire.

You know Limbaugh is stretching when he is willing to include Letterman in the group of traditional late night comedians — Letterman’s “Late Show” has adapted more of a liberal vibe in recent years, with his continued jabs at President George W. Bush becoming a regular, if not signature, bit. While Letterman hasn’t made his name off political satire, his show has enough of a liberal vibe that would likely discourage hardcore conservatives from watching. Limbaugh has to absolutely hate Letterman.

Even if CBS’ intent was to declare a bold political statement, who cares!? We’re not in the 1970’s anymore where you only have three of four television channels to chose from. If conservatives are unwilling to watch Colbert’s “Late Show,” they have the option to watch Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central or classics from their VHS collection.

In all seriousness though, the idea that CBS giving the ‘Late Show’ to Colbert is supposed to be a political statement is as absurd as it gets. Even though I am not familiar with Colbert outside his current blowhard conservative character, he has been recognized by and large as an all-round gifted comedian who is poised to accept the challenge of modernizing his act for a more mainstream audience. Colbert has a younger following and he is active on social media — two parameters that CBS hopes allows their late night show to be more competitive against Fallon’s “Tonight Show.”

CBS doesn’t care about Colbert’s political ideology! CBS just wants to make more money and Colbert has the potential to make that happen!

On a semi-related note, last week, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly lamented how Colbert’s liberal influence potentially damages the country. O’Reilly spoke more about Colbert yesterday while appearing on ABC’s “The View.” In response to the absurdity of all this, my buddy Terence from T Dog Media tweeted the following…

Quite possibly the best tweet ever.

Mixed feelings: Colbert moving to ‘Late Show’

Letterman and Colbert

While not a late night television expert, my feelings are mixed now that CBS has confirmed Stephen Colbert will succeed David Letterman as host of the “Late Show.”

Selfishly, I dislike knowing that the world will be losing a gifted comedian who’s act has become an important influence in the political arena. I wonder if Comedy Central wishes this news could have come sooner, prior to John Oliver’s (breakout star from the “Daily Show”) move to HBO.

I’m only familiar, as is most of America (I assume), with Colbert portraying his conservative Bill O’Reilly-like character from the “Colbert Report.” It will be interesting to see the real him (I suspect with shades of his current character — less political, more mainstream) on stage and behind the desk for an hour five nights a week. What I hope is that whatever style of comedy Colbert brings to the “Late Show” can take the stage/desk format of late night television to new heights — in contrast to the way Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” does via his talent as a performer.

While many will miss Colbert’s current act, he has the potential to make a bigger name for himself at CBS. A new late night rivalry between Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel has the potential to be absolutely epic.

Updated at 10:55 p.m… Politico’s Dylan Byers warns the Washington establishment that Colbert is coming for them.  Byers somewhat diminishes my fear that Colbert going mainstream means we lose the component of him that has made him so good.

Still, the next iteration of Colbert will not be altogether different from the current one, and it is all but impossible to imagine that he’ll forgo the political focus that has made him so appealing to Comedy Central’s viewers.

Some fear that the “Late Show” gig will limit Colbert’s ability to ridicule politicians, if only because broadcast television is more cautious than cable. Yet Colbert’s ability to break out of character may allow him to expand beyond his familiar satirizing of conservatives — a requisite aspect of his current show — and go after Democrats and Republicans, and the political and media establishments in general, with equal abandon.