Why do so many leading figures of the day allow themselves to be skewered on satire talk shows like the Colbert Report?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of Colbert, whose show parodies "The O’Reilly Report." But, I couldn’t get over what happened on last night’s episode in which Washington State Congressman Rick Larsen and, later, Daily News Publisher Mort Zuckerman get royally raked over the Colbert coals. And, what I saw wasn’t pretty from an image and reputation standpoint.
Congressman Larsen took a merciless beating (scroll down to see video clip) from Colbert, who is amazingly adept at coming across as an authority figure while asking the most inane questions. Larsen was clearly in deep water, and had no idea how to handle the increasingly brutal questions being fired at him. It made me wince to see Larsen emulating the stereotypical deer caught in the headlights as Colbert followed a tough body blow of a question with a series of savage head shots to the beleaguered pol. It became the talk show equivalent of Mike Tyson’s first round knockout of Michael Sphinks way back when.
Zuckerman fared better, but still took a pounding as Colbert nailed him time and again on his political stance, wealth and publications.
So, what’s up with these "Daniels" who venture into the Colbert "lion’s den"? Don’t they know he’s going to rip anyone with a right-of-center agenda to absolute shreds? Is the conventional wisdom here that any publicity is good publicity?
Other guests, like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., whose politics more closely align with Colbert’s, have fared better, but, who’s advising the Larsen’s and Zuckerman’s of the world?
If these guys were my clients, I’d tell them to send Colbert’s producer a polite note saying, "Thanks, but no thanks." Otherwise, they should just sit there and, as Colbert readies yet another savage right cross from hell, be prepared to say, "Thank you master. Hit me again."
Hat tip to Chris “Repman Jr” Cody for this idea.
I saw the Mort Zuckerman segment.
I’m sure his PR advisor(s) told Zuckerman to avoid Colbert. But here’s a guy who bought the NY Daily News and U.S. News & World Report not for their profitability (he’s lost plenty on both), but as outlets to gain credibility for his opinions. That’s why he’s on “Meet The Press” and the like, and probably came to think he can handle any situation.
Maybe the Colbert experience will make Zuckerman rethink that attitude. Then again, maybe not. And since that could provide us with plenty of future entertainment, maybe we should be thankful.
i played golf yesterday with a good friend of yours and he thought that a blog dedicated to dairy queen would be interesting. he said there were clear rep mgmt issues when you worked there, especially when there was a customer you weren’t fond of 🙂
Great point, Jimmy. But, I have to believe Rep. Larsen in particular thought this would be a “fun” experience only to find out the exact opposite. Judging by his non-verbals on the tape, he didn’t look too happy. Btw, didn’t realize you were a Nietzsche fan. Enjoy the shore…
Rep & Son,
I hear what you’re saying, and understand that maybe these people should rethink why they would need to do the Colbert Report.
However, I believe that they know what they are getting into when agreeing to do this show. It was great when he was relativly unknown when on Jon’s show and even when the Colbert Report was brand new. Those poor souls really got hammered becuase they didn’t know what was coming.
But, again, let’s keep in mind we’re talking about Comedy Central. The outlet, the show, and the viewers all know that this is for a laugh. I believe you need to be able to laugh at yourself, your mistakes, wins & losses otherwise you’ll go nuts with worry, fear and whatnot.
“Perhaps I know best why it is man alone who laughs; he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
Off to the beach!