Airing opposite the N.L. Championship Series and Monday Night Football, the Colbert Report premiered last night. Although I like Steven Colbert, I was hoping I wouldn't find the show important enough to force me to find time watch it every day. After all, the show is a spin-off of the Daily Show, a show I already watch every day. (Well, four times per week. But it's not my fault that they are lazy.)
But Colbert Report would have been better off as an SNL skit. That is, we get it -- TV newscasters are idiots. Now, what else is going on?
To be fair, Colbert does spot-on imitations of TV anchors. But his show does such a good job spoofing Fox News Channel's O'Reilley Factor that it's possible only rabid O'Reilly fans -- not exactly Comedy Central's core audience -- will understand the references. And besides, once you've poked fun of O'Reilly's Talking Points Memo and his penchant of accusing everyone on the planet of refusing to be a guest on his show, what's left?
When it began as the O'Franken Factor, Al Franken's Air America Radio show spent all its energy attacking O'Reilly. Admittedly, it took a pretty long time for Franken to exhaust his list of why O'Reilly is scum. But after awhile, the show found room to take on bigger issues, and it changed its name to the "Al Franken Show."
Look, the Colbert Report is onto something. And given that it focuses on the absurdity of TV news, the show isn't likely to run out of topics. But isn't it all the same joke, really?