The Colbert Report: Dotting our “i”s and crossing our silent “t”s

Comedy Central 008.jpgWe’ve received a number of queries on the Colbert Report: what do we think? Do we like it? Does it have staying power? Are we developing unhealthy feelings towards it like we have for “The Daily Show?” Well, there’s some truthiness to that last question, but we’ll leave that aside and just feel our answer toward you: yes, we’ve been watching. And we’ve decided to give it a full week of eps before opiniong, since we are aware of just how influential our opinion is (ha).

Briefly, we like it. And we see the possibilities lurking beneath the one-note gag, which is that Stephen Colbert’s outsize character is a massive egomaniac, and his ego is the filter through which all content is delivered (which I can see getting tiresome). But leave it to Fareed Zakaria to bring it up a notch and give Colbert something to actually chew on; he brought the money quote, right out of the gate last night:

Colbert: I have a question for you. The world: why should I care?
Fareed: Well, I don’t know where to begin…there was that whole 9-11 thing…these guys–
Colbert: I’m aware.
Fareed: Avian flu, chickens around the world…*
Colbert: How’s that gonna impact?
Fareed: –you die…(crowd laughs, perhaps a tad nervously). But you know for you, Stephen, one of the big trends taking place right now is this whole business of outsourcing. There are people around the world doing the same jobs that Americans do, for a lot less money. So I can imagine…there are funny people in Bangalore, willing to do your job for a tenth of your price.
Colbert: You know what you can’t outsource, Fareed? You can’t outsource balls.
Fareed: No…
Colbert: America will always lead the world in balls.
Fareed: They have men in Bangalore…
Colbert: (thinking it over) Uh-huh, hmmm…
Fareed: I’m sure– you’re funny, but you’ve gotta ask yourself, are you ten times funnier than the guy who’s willing to do it…
Colbert: …for ten times less?
Fareed: (as Colbert mulls) That’s the kind of problem — I don’t know whether you’d have, but steelworkers are worried about this, carmaker workers are worried about this…so that’s why you should care about the world.

And that is the crux about the Colbert report, for me, right now: I want it to be funny, and it is; but more than that, I want it to be funny ABOUT something.

So I’m giving it a week, and I’ll let you know my impressions tomorrow. Until then, TVNewser has a few links to tide you over.

Update: Okay, I’ve given it my week. Episode Four totally converted me. Colbert’s got the chops and so does his show. Why? I’ll tell you when I finish cleaning my apartment, my mom is coming to visit. But I will say this: YES, Stephen Colbert — I do want candy.

* NB: I keep rewinding this to take notes, and I just keep on wanting to add the word “Unite!”