Exclusive Interview with Sophia A. McClennen and Remy Maisel authors of “Is Satire Saving Our Nation: Mockery and American Politics?”

Is Satire Saving Our Nation First, I’d like to thank Sophia McClennen and Remy Maisel for taking the time to answer questions for us at The Hub. Their new book, ‘Is Satire Saving Our Nation: Mockery and American Politics?‘, argues that political satire is more than just fun: it’s a way of becoming an engaged and informed citizen — especially for Millennials. Obviously, both The Colbert Report and The Daily Show play a large role in McClennen/Maisel’s argument!

As a person who has always believed in the power of comedy to reach people, this is an argument I can fully endorse.

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Exclusive Interview with Sharilyn Johnson and Remy Maisel Authors of ‘Bears & Balls: The Colbert Report A-Z’

Bears & Balls: The Colbert Report A-Z Writers and self-proclaimed comedy nerds Sharilyn Johnson and Remy Maisel have teamed up to co-author ‘Bears & Balls: The Colbert Report A-Z’, an unofficial fan guide covering the past nine years of ‘The Colbert Report’.

The book serves as the ultimate viewer handbook, combining behind-the-insights and technical details into over two hundred encyclopedic entries, taking fans through some of the most memorable moments from the show, and uncovering some forgotten gems along the way.

Sharilyn Johnson is a veteran comedy journalist and founder of the popular comedy news site Third Beat Magazine which features comedy related news, events, reviews, and interviews. In addition to studying ‘Writing for The Colbert Report’ with Tom Purcell (Writer, Exec Producer) at the People’s Improv Theatre, Sharilyn has attended thirteen ‘Colbert Report’ tapings, and written and performed in her one women show ‘Fake News Fangirl’, ‘the completely true story of one women’s adventures in the world of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert fandom,’ which recently played at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival.

A current media studies undergraduate at Penn State University, Remy Maisel has extensive experience in the media industry, and aspires to work in the television and film industry in London. During her time as a student at Penn State University, Remy accepted the challenge issued by Stephen Colbert on March 29th, 2012 to college students to start their own collegiate chapter of his SuperPAC: Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow and founded Penn State SuperPAC: Penn Staters For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow to which she recruited over two hundred students, staff and faculty. Most recently, Remy has co-authored, “Is Satire Saving Our Nation?: Mockery and American Politics” with Penn State professor Sophia A. McClennen, in which they examine the critical potential for satire in America, and how satire exercises a remarkable influence on public opinion and its role in shaping a new verison of US democracy in post-9/11 society.

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Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon Talk ‘Friday’ in American Songwriter.

Stephen Colbert in American Songwriter Magazine

The last week of March 2011 could not have been a good one for Rebecca Black, being as she was the most vilified pop star on all the Internet. The amusingly amateurish clip for the 13-year-old’s song “Friday” – an out-of-nowhere, Auto-Tuned sensation featuring feel-good lyrics about the day between Thursday and Saturday – had just overtaken Justin Bieber’s “Baby” as the most hated YouTube video of all time, registering nearly 1.2 million dislikes. By then, numerous bloggers already had dubbed “Friday” “the worst song ever” – a downright polite assessment in light of some of the vitriol directed at Black – and the video had been mercilessly parodied online.

At the end of that same week, comedian Jimmy Fallon had friend and fellow late-night host Stephen Colbert on his show to perform “Friday” with Fallon’s house band, The Roots. But it’s not Jimmy Fallon’s style to pile on, to kick people when they’re down. If Rebecca Black was watching Late Night With Jimmy Fallon that Friday night (or afterward, on the Internet), she ought to have been heartened by what she saw. Everyone involved in the production – and it was nothing if not a production – took the song’s “fun, fun, fun, fun” lyric to heart. “The performance was so balls-to-the-wall,” Colbert says, “just throwing everything at the canvas.” Jackson Pollock would be so dizzied: “Everything” included (but was no means limited to) onstage pyrotechnics, a surprise appearance by former American Idol Taylor Hicks, and for good measure, somebody boogieing in a yeti costume. Oh, did we mention that the Knicks City Dancers showed up, too?

“One of the things we talked about beforehand is that we didn’t want to mock the song,” Colbert recalls. “We wanted to do the song like it’s never been done before. Sometimes in parody, when you do somebody else’s material for comedy, you can feel the ‘knife’ in it. There’s no knife in Jimmy Fallon’s hand, and I really like that.”

Full Article: American Songwriter.

To purchase this issue, e-mail: [email protected]

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