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Headscratchers: The Colbert Report
  • Why do the global editions have American-type ad breaks?
    • Because Stephen is America. No, not as in "an American", as in he is America (and so can you!) To change his format to something un-American would provoke his great wrath.
      • And needless to say, Colbert makes no distinction between "Un-American" and simply "not American", or for that matter "relatively speaking, more popular in the rest of the world than in America". Soccer, hatchbacks and marzipan are all On Notice.
  • I know Colbert coined the word "truthiness", but what does it mean?
    • I'll let him explain. But to sum up, truthiness is about what you feel to be true, not what's supported by any kind of facts. Gut, not brain.
      • As used in the rest of the media, it has a connotation of "something that was calculated to give a gut reaction of truth, but is probably a lie".
      • In other words, you sincerely believe it to be correct, but in reality, you can cross over into Critical Research Failure depending on the belief.
      • Or in mathematical terms. Truthiness= truthishness
    • (From the Republican Dinner) "I trust my gut, not my head. Did you know that there's more nerve endings in your gut than there are in your head? You might say, 'Stephen, I looked that up and it's not true.' But that's because you used your head instead of relying on your gut".
  • This goes for The Daily Show as well: why do the clips on the Report's website not have the theme song? It doesn't help that Viacom is extremely zealous towards their content, so any YouTube video of the theme song would be removed at lightning speed.
    • The last week or so of episodes are available to watch in full from the Comedy Central website, and those do have the theme song, if that helps. Personally, I'm kind of annoyed at how they cut the clips sometimes, so you miss the last few seconds before commercial breaks/the credits, and funny things do occasionally happen then.
  • It bugs me that Tad the building manager suddenly disappeared. From what I remember, there wasn't even an explanation! (I assume that Paul Dinello went to work on a project elsewhere and didn't return to the show, but come on, it would've been easy to write in a few lines covering for his character, right?)
  • Why did he open the show referring to it as the "Col-BERT re-PORT" during the Writer's Strike, if he reserves that particular pronunciation for the actor and not the character? He was still in character too.
    • According to the main page, because he had solidarity with the writing staff.
      • Wait, so Col-BEAR was showing solidarity by not appearing? One would think that solidarity=not appearing, so... but it doesn't fit Col-BEAR's character... I so confused.
      • Well, The Rev. Sir Dr. Stephen Colbert, D.F.A. is just Stephen Colbert if Stephen had suffered several serious head injuries. During the WGA Strike, he was unable to suffer several serious head injuries.
    • Same reason Jon called it "A" Daily Show instead of "The" Daily Show during the strike, as a gesture to the writers to show they are on there side, and that the Show/Report just isn't the same without its writing teams.
  • How could he be sworn to truth in character?
    • How can Elmo be sworn to truth at all? He is merely supposed to be an influence on a congressional decision. His testimony isn't going to result in anyone going to jail or being similarly punished, so there is really no harm in allowing him to speak in-character.
  • So the thing with Col-BEAR being the character and COL-bert being the actor/comedian, is that just another layer of the joke? Because Colbert's not at all an uncommon surname, and I've never met anyone who had it and pronounced it other than how character-Stephen does.
    • No, his family has always pronounced it COL-bert. The story I heard goes that when he went off to college in another state, he realized that as nobody knew him, he could reinvent himself, and changed the pronunciation. When he began developing a disconnect between his character and himself, he began using that changed pronunciation for the wholly-invented character, and the pronunciation that his family uses for the real man.
    • Pieced together from various interviews: He doesn't even know whether the name is French or Irish, which would obviously determine which pronunciation is right. His father grew up COL-bert and always wanted to change it to Col-BEAR, but his own father didn't get this and took it as an insult, so Stephen's father never did change it but told his kids to pick whichever pronunciation they liked. Stephen did settle on Col-BEAR when he went to Northwestern, and has been Col-BEAR ever since, both personally and professionally. He does the "get it together, COL-bert!" thing on the show because it's another good shorthand for the character being a Ted Baxter who affects the pronunciation to make himself sound more impressive while still feeling like COL-bert deep down. I doubt the real Colbert harbors any insecurity over it.
  • What is the point of his Super PAC? Is he doing it just to troll the FEC? I can imagine that any money received will go to charity, but why bother with all this in the first place?
    • Because he can, and Stephen Colbert (silent t) exists to explore just how far a fictional character can extend in the real world and take any opportunity for real-world influence/mention he can. So, yeah, trolling. Same reason he messes with Wikipedia, annexes every internet poll he sets his eyes on, and runs for president.
    • Because he is attempting to make a point. It is evident that he believes that Super PACs are a bad idea and allowing an organization to accumulate infinite funds without reporting where the money comes from or putting any restrictions on how it is spent is a bad idea. But just saying something is a bad idea doesn't cause people to listen. So, he's demonstrating just how bad an idea it is. As mentioned above, it's the same reason he asks people to mess with Wikipedia. He thinks it's a bad idea for everyone to take its word as law when anyone can edit it. So, he demonstrates just how false articles can be.
    • Because until he did that bit, I had never heard the word Super PAC before, and neither had many of his viewers. Now, we all know what one is, how they work, and all the many ways that they can be unethically utilized. In the same way, I wouldn't know that it costs $5,000 to get on the Republican ballot in South Carolina if he hadn't tried to run for President. Sometimes, the only way to get accurate information about this stuff and then have people believe it is to try it yourself and film the results.
  • Why is it that Jon Stewart is called out on his ( admittedly easily noticed) liberal bias, but Stephen isn't? I respect both men greatly, but it can just very grating.
    • Because though Stephen often parodies the political right and espouses his liberal beliefs in a backhanded way, the focus on comedy and self-deprecation of his character makes the real Stephen implicitly very tongue in cheek about his position. He tends to report conservative viewpoints AND their justifications for them, so he's less likely to be found guilty of critical bias.
    • No doubt it also helps that Stephen Colbert has created and uses a clearly somewhat exaggerated fictional persona in his show, while Jon Stewart presents The Daily Show more or less as himself. The fact that the fictional Colbert is clearly a satirical character and a parody means that, although the real Colbert uses him to express his sincerely-held views there is nevertheless still a disconnect in the minds of viewers between the views of Stephen Colbert, fictional character, and the views of Stephen Colbert, real person, whereas Stewart doesn't really have this luxury. Sort of like how we can accept, say, The Nostalgia Critic getting exaggeratedly over-the-top and vitriolic about the things he's watching because he's very obviously an over-the-top and vitriolic character, whereas if we were watching Doug Walker doing the same as himself it would look like he's just lacking in perspective; the fact that he's fictional means the audience is likely to give more leeway than someone who is doing similar as him-or-herself.
    • Colbert and Stewart have both said that making fun of Democrats is Kick the Dog. Also, as we all know, reality has a well-known liberal bias. Did you know that?
    • Partisanship is built into the premise of the Report; it travesties commentary, which is editorial in nature, and more specifically right-wing pundits, while TDS ostensibly travesties newscasts, which aren't supposed to take a side.

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