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April 29, 2006
Bush Plays It For Laughs While Colbert Bombs

George Bush attended the White House Correspondents Dinner tonight, an annual event that encourages all parties to engage in some self-deprecating humor and relax in each other's company for an evening. Fox News showed Bush's speech live, and he decided to have a Bush impersonator join him at the podium. Using a tag-team approach, the ersatz Bush provided the plain-language translation and some interior dialogue to accompany the real Bush's cliche-heavy foil of a speech. The two skewered Bush's public-speaking flaws, as well as Dick Cheney:

FAKE BUSH: Speaking of suspects, where's the Great White Hunter?

BUSH: Vice President Dick Cheney regrets he could not be here tonight.


BUSH: Dick Cheney is a fine man. He has a good heart -- er, he is a fine man.


BUSH: I love America. It's full of Americans!


BUSH: This ruggedly good looking man next to me is Steve Bridges. He is a talented man. In fact, he did all of my debates with Senator Kerry.

The gathered correspondents loved it, laughing frequently at the two Bushes. Ironically, the pair was followed by a more well-known comedian, Steve Colbert of Comedy Central's Colbert Report. Initially Fox News pulled away for a couple of minutes of useless analysis, but the anchor of the broadcast took viewers back to the presentation because, in her words, Steve Colbert "never fails to make us laugh." Fox then broadcast three of the most laugh-free minutes of comedy seen on national television since Chevy Chase fancied himself as the new Johnny Carson. Colbert barely garnered even polite laughter for his banal and obvious schtick, and eventually Fox returned to its obviously embarrassed anchor.

Now that was funny.

UPDATE: The AP report is here. Colbert, by the way, was the featured act.

UPDATE II: Welcome to Hot Air readers! There were two problems with Colbert's act. The first is that it wasn't funny, and the second was that it didn't keep with the spirit of the evening. The Correspondents Dinner prides itself on making the evening a safe venue for all, and the humor is supposed to stay self-deprecating. Attacking one's opponents in this forum is considered bad manners. Colbert has no grasp of his audience or the event, and he paid the price for it. And that price was painful indeed.

Joe Gandelman, however, disagrees and blames the audience for not appreciating Colbert.

UPDATE III: Joe links to Bloggledybook who absolutely nails the pretentious whinery of believing that Colbert had courage in "speaking truthiness to power", as one of Joe's commenters put it. And kudos again to Joe for once again giving us the best of commentary on both sides of an issue. TMV is a must-read for that reason.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 29, 2006 9:38 PM

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