The Colbert flap continues, with the politically schizophrenic Richard Cohen of the Washington Post writing a column today in which he claims he knows funny, and Colbert wasn’t funny.
“First, let me state my credentials: I am a funny guy. This is well known in certain circles, which is why, even back in elementary school, I was sometimes asked by the teacher to "say something funny" -- as if the deed could be done on demand. This, anyway, is my standing for stating that Stephen Colbert was not funny at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. All the rest is commentary.”
Riiight. Cohen knows funny like I know astrophysics. What he does know like the back of his hand, however, is who signs his paychecks and what they will and will not tolerate. A frontal humor assault on the President of the United States, warranted or not, can’t be condoned by the Washington Post.
Cohen’s article is rife with absurd observations about what comedy is and is not, and how one should deport themselves at time-honored Washington events. The boot-licking in this screed is nauseating, and Cohen should really be ashamed of himself. I, on the other hand, have no shame, which compelled me to write to Richey and vent a little.
Anyone who says, "I'm a funny guy," probably isn't. Your critique of Stephen Colbert's performance at the recent Correspondents' dinner was a case in point—it was absolutely humorless. What better forum to display your funny side than skewering Colbert with zingers and one-liners? Instead you try to make us feel sorry for the most powerful man on the face of the planet, taking the odd angle that the President may be stupid and incompetent, but it's rude to remind us all of that fact.
Colbert was brave to say to this extremely insulated President what millions of Americans would love to say, but don't have the platform to do so. The polls tell the story, Richard. Nearly three-quarters of the American people think he's doing a lousy job, yet Bush tells us day in and day out that he will not do anything different. Colbert spoke for us. And he’s a funny guy.