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I, Churl

By Al Schumann on Saturday September 25, 2010 08:58 AM

In comedy performance, timing and delivery can make up for limited writing. Good writing by itself won't cut it.

The written transcripts of Stephen Colbert's performances are good, and sometimes have the barbs that make kings and their courtiers squirm. The ludic potential is clearly there. But he's far too tightly wound to pull it off. The made-for-television format under which he performs makes things worse. It compresses acting that needs pacing. It always looks like he's either playing catch-up or jumping the gun. And as a result, his victims only get scratched.

Comments (5)


moray Al strikes
and i agree

though the charcter sc plays
must come off
with the persona's usual
"choleric humor"

the testimony was rushed
sc should have edited it down
to a few killer shots
and delivered it slower
and with a lot more gesture
and pomp

i think he got "tight"
packed in too much
and given the usual absurdly pompous
self serious and form bound rush rush
nature of these proceedings and setting

as an art form
mock testimony throw in
among the real tom foolery
just looks like harrod sawing
the air

the attention to his sub textual message got lost in the stunt of it all

better he ad lib most of it
dispense with a written statement
do a sit down stand up
interact with the repugs
like a comin reacts to a hostile audience

but that of course would betray his
dembot issued license which i'm sure
was quite limited


for the record a despise jon stew
this sc ..makes me laff
even as moray Al sez
he too often
over tightly strings his performances

All by design. The invitation to appear was clearly an expression of Dimbot desperation, as Clintonian haranguing doesn't cut it when unemployment is approaching 20 percent. And we know Colbert's reason for accepting was a desire to help pull the Dimbot iron out of the fire. One doesn't truly open the valves in such situations, does one?

Stewart and Colbert are right at the leftward edge of what corporate TV will permit, as they surely know. Hence, punches must be pulled, and are.

The audiobook of I am America is brilliant and full-throttle, btw, and shows what Colbert can do when he's not worrying about the sponsors.


faux'reilly needs scripting. not an improv act.


It was actually pretty funny when Conyers freaked out.

Wasn't he the same Congressman who had the cops arrest anti-war protesters in the Capitol Building a few years ago?

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