Wednesday, July 26, 2006

"The Truthiness Teller"

It may be four-and-a-half months old, but this article about Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Report is really great -- well-researched, well-written, interesting, and informative. Way to go, Marc Peyser and Newsweek/MSNBC!

Here are a few excerpts from the article, which can be read in its entirety here:
Despite the popularity of "The Wørd," the best part of the show is usually Colbert's interview. He's a brilliant ad-libber—he spent his early years doing improv theater—with an encyclopedic mind. "He'd be comfortable not only in any discipline, but in any era," says Jon Stewart. "If you transplanted him to the 1600s and suddenly he was involved in the medieval arts, or even dentistry, he would be fine. I consider him, oddly enough, like the Internet."

Colbert, 41, hardly acts like a wanna-be power player. He keeps one of his "Daily Show" Emmys in his office, but he hasn't bothered to attach the plaque with his name on it. Much more precious are his "Lord of the Rings" pinball machine and his photograph of Viggo Mortensen, etched in chocolate. "It's all edible—it's fantastic," he says. "I'm a huge, huge geek. I played Dungeons and Dragons the first week it came out." Where Colbert the news anchor wears designer suits and monogrammed cuff links, Colbert the comic shows up at work in khakis and a golf shirt. He married a woman from his hometown in South Carolina and goes to Catholic church every Sunday—for kicks, he once started an interview speaking in Latin. He's also got three kids he dotes on. He won't let them watch his show. "I say things in a very flat manner that I don't believe, and I don't want them to perceive Daddy as insincere," he says. "I basically tell them I'm professionally ridiculous." At one point while he's preparing for that evening's interview, his assistant comes in and says that Conan O'Brien wants him on his show. OK, says Colbert, but only if it doesn't conflict with taking his son to swim practice. "There couldn't be a huger difference between the character Stephen and the real Stephen," says Richard Dahm, one of the "Report" head writers. "The real Stephen is an amazing guy. The character Stephen—well, I wouldn't want to be working for him."

The irony is that now that he's a famous comic, people are taking him seriously. Naturally, the "Colbert" folks are amused and bemused by the "truthiness" phenomenon. "You can never tell when a song or a word or whatever will become of a particular moment. You know, like, why the macarena?" says executive producer Ben Karlin. For those interested in the historical record, Colbert coined the T word moments before he went on the air for his first show; no one on staff had any idea what great things it would achieve.
Definitely take the time and go read the article!

No comments:

Post a Comment