The Genre of Colbert in front of Congress

I’ve seen a great deal of reluctance to accept the performance of Colbert in front of the Congressional committee. I’ve given explanations to friends: His humor works on a different track than someone like Stewart. With Stewart, one thinks and then laughs, but with Colbert, one laughs, then thinks, and then laughs again. Such a method actively obstructs the news media’s attempt to rule the waves with 5 second news clips. It also does not easily play into the plumage and pablum of the congressional committees. If you doubt me, watch the entire committee hearing. Colbert is more than a bit of fresh air. His facade speaks both constructive truth and exposes the congressional posturing.

I believe all that I said above; however, there is still a better way — a more encompassing way — to situate our understanding of what Colbert did and how it should be interpreted. This is to say, one must understand Colbert in his genre or one will simply not get it. So what is the genre? Colbert and his satire performs like Jesus and his parable telling. Yes?


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