The Breaking of Stephen Colbert


PREMO Member
The live audience obviously like Stewart’s material, and gives at most tepid reaction to Colbert’s repeated attempts to rebut Stewart and to throw off Stewart’s comic timing. And above all, Colbert spends the entire segment desperately disassociating himself from Stewart. At one point he cracks that Stewart must be working for Republican Senator Ron Johnson. The message is simple: It doesn’t matter if the stuff you are saying is funny. It doesn’t even matter if the stuff you are saying is true. What matters is you are putting me and my show on the wrong side and that’s a problem.

That’s because Colbert is terrified of his Very Online fanbase. In the wider America, the vast majority either believe in the lab-leak theory or are agnostic on the subject. But for the Very Online Left, the lab-leak theory isn’t about true or false. It’s about in-group vs. out-group, and anyone who volunteers that the lab-leak theory might be true is part of the out-group.

And for the Very Online Left, if you’re part of the out-group, you are fair game for any kind of harassment and condemnation, because they define themselves by their expressions of hatred and contempt for out-group figures (e.g., cops, gunowners, Israel, children in MAGA hats). The Very Online Left is a minority of the country and probably even a minority of Colbert’s own audience, but its overrepresentation in media circles that live on Twitter means they can threaten to make serious trouble for Colbert. Dave Chappelle was willing to face them down, but you have to be willing to take the flak. Colbert, in every word and gesture, desperately tried to pander to Online Left and direct all of their read the rooms, not a good looks, and do betters (as well as any accusations of racism) to Stewart.



Up. Identified. Lase. Fire. On the way.
PREMO Member
Colbert. Like Biden and Pelosi, another of those most Catholicky of Catholics.

--- End of line (MCP)