Stephen Colbert broke onto the scene through political comedy on The Daily Show. He cemented his legacy with his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report. Then, he moved on to late night. He certainly hasn’t avoided politics since the move, but the subject is not the primary focus. When it is, the result is magic. Colbert went live last night, after the final January 6th hearing until September, for an electric monologue.
There is just different energy emanating from Colbert when he tackles politics. This monologue highlights that to great effect. It’s not even that he’s funnier or something. Stephen Colbert is always funny. What’s different here is his ability to show compassion and disappointment. He doesn’t shy away from having a quiet or serious moment. In one moment, he’s rightfully mocking Josh Hawley, in another, he’s hoping against hope that some of Trump’s followers open their eyes to what is going on.
Speaking of Hawley, Colbert had MSNBC host Chris Hayes as a guest and asked him why footage of Hawley running away from the Capitol on January 6th was shown. Why make it clear that Hawley is a cowardly fraud? Here’s Hayes’s answer, pointed out to me by our wonderful James:
Stephen: "There's really a lovely moment where they show [Hawley] running. Why do you think they did that?"@Chrislhayes: "The value was the committee telling Josh Hawley to go F himself."#LSSC #LateShowLIVE pic.twitter.com/6BLO4rm9sx— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) July 22, 2022
It’s also worth noting that by going live, Colbert and his crew were reacting in real-time. Sure, they can write some things ahead of time, but only so much. There are no second takes. Live TV is invigorating when done well and few do it better than Colbert.
Header Image Source: CBS