Stephen Colbert, 48, is like Mary Poppins with that spoonful of sugar, mixing lessons about American politics with nonstop jokes. During the election, the faux-conservative host of The Colbert Report orchestrated a relentless send-up of super PACs, forming his own to illustrate the dangers of funneling unlimited anonymous funds into elections. It’s a prime example of how Colbert uses his wit and magnetism to bring dry but important information to the masses. With his show appearing in living rooms nightly, Colbert uses satire to more effect than perhaps any other American.
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It would be fun to watch. I don’t want to brag, but I happen to be on the list for the second time. Anybody else? Show of hands? Anybody else, the second time? We are an elite club. One more and we get a free hoagie.
Secretary Clinton was on the list for the seventh time. She had to leave earlier. Still is an honor to have met her. She’s a feminist icon, a role model for so many women. Like the one young woman here tonight who bravely stepped into the media spotlight this year, and was immediately labeled a slut. I’m talking, of course, about Chelsea Handler.
Chelsea, you handled that with such poise. The horrible, horrible things that were said about you, tramp,gutter skank, and a lot of those were you talking about yourself. Brava, madam, you’re a feminist icon.
Full Transcript: TIME.com
(Fast forward to 00:20 – 00:45 for an excerpt of Stephen’s speech)
If there was any honoree who could match Clinton as an anticipated speaker it was comedian and TV star Stephen Colbert, who used the stage as a platform to launch withering, hilarious gags at this year’s TIME 100 class — starting with himself. He praised his fellow two-time honorees: “One more and we get a free hoagie!” he said. Colbert singled out several members of the audience, including billionaire philanthropist and conservative political backer David Koch. Colbert claimed that Koch had donated $5 million to the Colbert Super PAC; “And thanks to federal election law,” Colbert said, “there’s no way for you to know if that’s a joke.”
But Colbert saved his most provocative barrage for the ongoing controversial debate about birth control and the Catholic church, saying of Spanx founder Sara Blakely, “No one has done more to control women’s bodies that Sara Blakely, except Cardinal Timothy Dolan.” While Dolan’s face may have turned the color of his cap (it was hard to tell in the lighting), he laughed off the roast in style.
Full Article: TIME.com
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.
Name: Stephen Colbert
Occupation: Host, The Colbert Report
Is it even fair to continue calling Stephen Colbert a comedian? In recent years he’s stretched the boundaries of his emmy-winning fake punditry to their limits, and beyond. In 2010, he and Jon Stewart held a tongue-mostly-in-cheek Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on the Washington Mall, drawing tens of thousands. Now he’s mulling a presidential bid, backed (but not in cooperation with) his own super PAC. In the process he’s morphed from a mere satirist to a political performance artist.