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Truthiness is Stranger than Fiction

DVD Review: The Best of the Colbert Report

Written by General Jabbo

Stephen Colbert, the former Daily Show correspondent and current host of The Colbert Report, recently announced he was running for president in 2008, but only in his home state of South Carolina and as both a Democrat and a Republican. To coincide with his presidential bid, Comedy Central is releasing The Best of the Colbert Report – a nearly three-hour collection of highlights from the show on November 6.

The Colbert Report parodies political talk shows like The O’Reilly Factor, and Colbert’s character is a hybrid of conservative political pundits ranging from Bill O’Reilly (whom he refers to as “Papa Bear”) and Sean Hannity. Colbert is vain (his desk is shaped like a “C”), smug, and distrusts books because they “have no heart.” In the very first episode, he said, “Who’s Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was finished in 1914? If I want to say it happened in 1941, that’s my right.”

It is this belief that led Colbert to coin the phrase “truthiness” – Merriam-Webster’s 2006 Word of the Year. Featured on the DVD in a segment called “The Word,” “truthiness” is to know something in your gut, in spite of what logic and reason may say. Another segment of “The Word” featured the term “Wikiality,” based on Colbert’s love for the Web site Wikipedia. Wikiality is truth by consensus. If enough people believe it, it must be true. These words form the core of Colbert’s belief system and make for some humorous moments on the show.

Another popular segment of The Colbert Report is Better Know a District, where Colbert vows to interview members from every congressional district in the country. Several highlights are included, including an interview with John Hall from New York – a former member of the band Orleans who wrote the song “Still the One.” Colbert mistakes him for a member of Hall and Oates and can’t understand why Hall, a Democrat, would object to George W. Bush using “Still the One” in his reelection bid. Also included is an interview with Robert Wexler of Florida. Wexler ran uncontested, and, as such, Colbert tries to get him to say things that would otherwise lose him the election, such as “I enjoy cocaine because…” or “I enjoy the company of prostitutes for the following reasons…”. Colbert never breaks character and is brilliant throughout.

The DVD also includes highlights of Colbert’s Green Screen Challenge, in which he filmed a light saber routine in front of a green screen and asked fans to submit their own videos of Colbert in action. One video was even submitted by George Lucas, billed on the show as George L.

After losing the Emmy Award for "Best Performance in a Variety, Musical Program or Special" to Barry Manilow, Colbert’s character pouted and Manilow appeared on the show. Even after Manilow agreed Colbert should have won the award, they proceeded to sign and have notarized a revolving biannual custody agreement for the Emmy Award, and then sang a duet on “I Write the Songs.”

O’Reilly even makes an appearance, promoting his book, Culture Warrior, which Colbert shows to the audience with a 30%-off sticker covering O’Reilly’s face.

It’s this irreverent humor, along with a dead-on parody of talk show hosts that take themselves too seriously that makes The Best of the Colbert Report a winner – and that’s the “truthiness.”

About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS

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