The Comedy Central Plan to Mock Barack: He's Too Hopeful!
In an interview in the October 3, 2008 issue of Entertainment Weekly, liberal comedian Stephen Colbert explained what an emerging critique of Barack Obama might be: "He's a hope-ronaut. He's in a rarefied level of hope where the rest of us have to take tanks up with us." Interviewer Josh Wolk skeptically replied, "Is that really a comedic take? Seems more like a compliment."
Not backing down, Colbert's Comedy Central colleague Jon Stewart made clear that this "attack" on the Democratic nominee would be different then that of the harsh jibes at Republicans: "Even if you're satirizing how wonderful they are, that hyperbole is setting them up for an expectation to fail, especially within the American political system now, where authenticity — and apparently mediocrity — are the manna that the populace feeds upon." Earlier in the piece, Stewart derided, "You 'good values people' have had the country for eight years, and done an unbelievably s---ty job. Let's find some bad values people and give them a shot, maybe they'll have a better take on it."
Asked whether things will change if the Democrats control both houses of Congress and the White House, Stewart railed against the party for past examples of not being liberal enough: "And then they [Democrats] got in and were like, ''Really, you want to eavesdrop? Okay, we'll let this one go. But this is the last blank check! Unless you want another.'"
For the interview, Colbert dropped the faux conservative act that he perfects on "The Colbert Report" and railed against the Bush administration. On the subject of change, he complained, "Any change is as good as a vacation at this point...I don't know if you've paid much attention to the past eight years, but it has been a s---burger supreme. If somebody gives me an empty burger, it's better than eating s---."
In a previous example of the difference between the satire Stewart directs at conservatives versus liberals, he famously referred to columnist Bob Novak as a evil "vampire demon" on the September 18, 2006 edition of "The Daily Show."
[Correction: An earlier version of this post misidentified Jon Stewart at the person responsible for the "hope-ronaut" quote. It was Stephen Colbert.]
The entire EW interview can be read here.