At the beginning of April, #CanelColbert was a trending hashtag on Twitter, pushed heavily by the Bleeding Heart Association of the America. (not a real co.). The condemnation of Stephen Colbert was due to a joke from The Colbert Report tweeted by the show’s Twitter account later that night. The joke was taken out of its proper context by the tweet which is why so many people were outraged.The ignorant masses took to vilify Mr. Colbert, calling him a racist and demanding he be taken off the air. This, however, was an unjust accusation for two reasons.
One: as previously stated, the joke was taken out of context. It was meant to be a parody, of sorts, towards Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder’s new foundation titled “Washington Redskins Original American Foundation.” Colbert’s “Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever” would clearly be racist, if it were a real thing. When put next to Snyder’s foundation, one that uses a racist epithet to describe the people it wants to help, it’s clear how The Colbert Report wanted the joke to go.
Two: @ColbertReport is in no way associated with Stephen Colbert himself, other than in title. Colbert’s actual twitter account is @StephenatHome. The Colbert Report twitter account is controlled by some Comedy Central employee, or small group of employees, that make all the decisions for it, leaving Stephen out of the loop. When Colbert saw the tweet and the outrage caused by it, he tweeted from his account:
The official Colbert Report twitter account was subsequently shut down by order of Colbert, with the help of former guest, Twitter founder Biz Stone.
The next show, Stephen apologized, in his recognizable unapologetic way, explaining in a snarky manner the whole situation, adding a little product placement along the way.
About a week later, 35 year late night talk show vet David Letterman announced that at the end of this year he will retire from his current show “Late Show with David Letterman.” Speculation arose over who would replace such an icon of pop culture. Surely whoever CBS chose would need to be easily recognizable by the American public. Viewers of his show don’t want some SNL D-lister still wet behind the ears to replace the brilliant David Letterman.
In an ironic turn of events, Stephen Colbert, who Twitter activists wanted black listed from television all together, was chosen to helm one of the biggest institutions in the medium today.
So, now the speculation can begin. Stephen Colbert, like Letterman, has been one of the biggest pop culture icons since his show debuted in 2005. Undoubtedly, he’s as big a name as CBS could have gotten and will have no problem living up to the prestige Letterman has established over his long tenure. But, Colbert’s show has been based around a character, a parody of the Fox News channel’s blowhards who infect American airwaves. Unfortunately, that’s how most viewers around the world know him, through the character, not his actual personality. It will be interesting to see if his everyday persona will enthrall viewers the same as his Colbert Report counterpart.
Do we really want him to though? “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” will mean the end of The Colbert Report and the death of the character we came to know an love (or hate). For me, the revelation of his new position was bittersweet. I’ve watched The Colbert Report ever since I was too young to even understand the political jokes told on the show. Between his undying conceitedness and his deprecation of his counterpart Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, I, along with his cult following, have amassed great memories that won’t die easily. Sure Late Night may be a step up from The Colbert Report in the eyes of television aficionados, but at the end of the day, it’s about the fans and what they want. It’s about what will entertain us more: the charismatic, pride of South Carolina who will welcome viewers in with open arms and send them gently to bed with good humor in their hearts, or the hard hitting, overly confident political go-getter who will make sure Americans receive a daily dose of truth and justice at the comedic expense of other politicos.