2012 TIME 100: The Most Influential People in the World.

Stephen Colbert 2012 Time 100 most influential people in the world

© Gillian Laub for TIME

Stephen Colbert – Provocateur

Before every show, Stephen visits the green room and tells that evening’s guest the same thing: “My character’s an idiot. Your job is to set him straight.” Easier said than done, especially since the first part’s a lie. Stephen’s character may ask idiotic questions, but they’re so unexpected and diabolically entangling that watching his guests fight their way toward daylight is unalloyed pleasure.

On The Colbert Report, every day is Opposite Day. Because of how his humor works, the audience finds meaning through sustained inference, which is a lot more fun than it sounds. Colbert’s riffs are so ingeniously convoluted and deeply weird that the post-reason wingers have no response to him. They just have to absorb the punishment, night after night.

I’d like to add here that Stephen and I are old friends, but I can’t. I barely know the man. But like millions of others, I revere him as the class clown I never knew — the one without a trace of mean. How he can be so devastating and endearing at the same time I cannot say, but it sure wears well. Look for him to hold down this spot on TIME’s list for years to come.

By Garry Trudea
Trudeau is an American cartoonist and creator of the comic strip Doonesbury.

Source: TIME.com

  • somuch2kno

    #24. Not bad. (Although we all know he’s #1 to us!)

    And I say ‘Amen!’ to this – “But like millions of others, I revere him as the class clown I never knew — the one without a trace of mean. How he can be so devastating and endearing at the same time I cannot say, but it sure wears well.” Spot on Garry! (But, again, not news to us.)

  • lockhart43

    Yay! I heard this on the radio yesterday and got really excited. It’s times like these that I’m so happy that I subscribe to TIME magazine – I can’t wait to get this in the mail. :) It’s also awesome that Garry Trudeau wrote the piece.

    • Karenatasha

      Yes, thd fact that it’s Trudeau–who recently displayed his own form of courage in his anti-transvaginal probe “Doonesbury” strips–is especially gratifying. Chalk up another win for Stephen! Emmys….are you listening?

      • lockhart43

        They gave Stephen a full-page picture too, which is fantastic. Also, I didn’t notice it until I looked at the photo close-up, but the “shotgun shells” Stephen has strapped to his chest are actually dollar bills, which is a nice nod to Colbert SuperPAC.

  • Bentley

    I love this man.

  • http://www.chasingglennbeck.com Michael Charney

    Proof again that satire is a priceless weapon…

  • anais0509

    It just bothers me a little bit that Jon is not included in it his year. Just like fruit and chocolate, Jon and Stephen pair up very well together. I know that Jon hasn’t been as active as Stephen has been in talking about/exposing Super PACs and making high profile appearances, but he’s just as influential in his own subtle way. Apart from that, way to go, Stephen!