FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

It’s Time for Stewart and Colbert to Retire

by PETER BRESCHARD

The King is delighted when the Village Idiot is mocked by the Fool. The King is delighted when anyone is mocked by the Fool other than the King. Unfortunately for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, their job is to mock the King and they have failed to do that for quite some time.

How would today’s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have covered the Irish Potato Famine?

“Stephen, did you see this piece in the Fine Outstanding Xenophobian today? I mean really. Blaming all the famine deaths in Ireland on a Papist pact with the devil.”

“Jon, how can you appear shocked? Those drooling cretins come up with the most ludicrous stories every day. Please, aren’t we above such things?”

“Stephen, true. We are above all this, but it doesn’t make their rants any less hilarious.”

“True, Jon. I mean really, do you see where they say Papists all have tails like the devil, which is why God is punishing them with this famine?”

“Stephen, you are so right. Everyone knows Papists don’t have tails. Even imagining Papists with tails has to be the silliest thing I’ve seen in a long time.”

“Jon, Papists with tails. The Xenophobian has done it again. Aren’t they just the village idiot? We are so much cooler than that.”

“Right, Stephen. Now, moving right along to today’s silly cat drawing.”

Not a word about the suffering Irish. Not a word about where the surplus food in Ireland was being shipped. Not a word about all those profiting from this particular genocide. Instead, they discuss the alleged flaws of the British propaganda system. Jewels before swine. Parody gold ignored for cheap laughs.

And there you have it. Even back then the Fox network would have decided the topic of discussion. And Stewart and Colbert would be more than willing to echo the distraction of the day. Fox tells you where to look, classic misdirection, and the two of them, for whatever reasons, are all too willing to follow Roger Ailes commands.

At times it feels like half of their broadcasts are wasted calling the Fox Village Idiot an idiot. Pitiful. Lazy.

It’s as if Stewart and Colbert were in high school and instead of mocking the principal, they decide to pick on the special education kids, who the principal encourages to smash ice cream cones against their own foreheads.

If Roger Ailes and his paymasters at Fox aren’t paying Stewart and Colbert, they should be. If they’re not being paid by Fox directly, they’re either complete morons or being reimbursed indirectly. “I don’t care what they say about me as long as they spell my name right.” Fox thanks both of them whenever they broadcast.

Satirists have to be held to a higher standard than the obvious low bar Stewart and Colbert have now set for themselves. They keep reveling in the awards received from those who benefit from their harmless (to them) form of social criticism. At the moment neither are worthy to lick Russell Brand’s boots.

We know they’re both middle-aged men with families, well, that probably says it all. Family men often have good reason to act in ways that others might call cowardly. It’s the same type of knee jerk fear which Fox feeds upon. Perhaps it’s time for both to pull a Chappelle and simply walk away. They’ve lost their edge. Leave it to younger or older people to carry on the attack. Leave before they become caricatures of themselves. Leave before they become even more of an embarrassment.

“Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” Not long ago that quote cited by Peter O’Toole was brought to mind. Comedy is hard, gentlemen, and the two of you have gotten far too soft.

Peter Breschard is the author of Circus Rider and other works of fiction and fact. His work has appeared elsewhere and here.

Weekend Edition
February 12-14, 2016
Andrew Levine
What Next in the War on Clintonism?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Comedy of Terrors
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
Paul Street
When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein
Rob Urie
The (Political) Season of Our Discontent
Pepe Escobar
It Takes a Greek to Save Europa
Gerald Sussman
Why Hillary Clinton Spells Democratic Party Defeat
Carol Norris
What Do Hillary’s Women Want? A Psychologist on the Clinton Campaign’s Women’s Club Strategy
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Election: Any Good News for Palestine?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget
Michael Welton
Lenin, Putin and Me
Manuel García, Jr.
Fire in the Hole: Bernie and the Cracks in the Neo-Liberal Lid
Thomas Stephens
The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective
David Rosen
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Will Parrish
Cap and Clear-Cut
Victor Grossman
Coming Cutthroats and Parting Pirates
Ben Terrall
Raw Deals: Challenging the Sharing Economy
David Yearsley
Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Formation: Form-Fitting Uniforms of Revolution and Commerce
David Mattson
Divvying Up the Dead: Grizzly Bears in a Post-ESA World
Matthew Stevenson
Confessions of a Primary Insider
Jeff Mackler
Friedrichs v. U.S. Public Employee Unions
Franklin Lamb
Notes From Tehran: Trump, the Iranian Elections and the End of Sanctions
Pete Dolack
More Unemployment and Less Security
Christopher Brauchli
The Cruzifiction of Michael Wayne Haley
Bill Quigley
Law on the Margins: a Profile of Social Justice Lawyer Chaumtoli Huq
Uri Avnery
A Lady With a Smile
Katja Kipping
The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room
B. R. Gowani
Hellish Woman: ISIS’s Granny Endorses Hillary
Kent Paterson
The Futures of Whales and Humans in Mexico
James Heddle
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
Michael Howard
Hollywood’s Grotesque Animal Abuse
Steven Gorelick
Branding Tradition: a Bittersweet Tale of Capitalism at Work
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West
Patrick Bond
World Bank Punches South Africa’s Poor, by Ignoring the Rich
Mel Gurtov
Is US-Russia Engagement Still Possible?
Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown Receives Cold, Dead Fish Award Four Years In A Row
Wolfgang Lieberknecht
Fighting and Protecting Refugees
Jennifer Matsui
Doglegs, An Unforgettable Film
Soud Sharabani
Israeli Myths: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud
Terry Simons
Bernie? Why Not?
Missy Comley Beattie
When Thoughtful People Think Illogically
Christy Rodgers
Everywhere is War: Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
Ron Jacobs
Springsteen: Rockin’ the House in Albany, NY
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“The Martian”: This Heroism is for Chinese Viewers Too
Charles R. Larson
No Brainers: When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail