Has the Colbert Report become the latest must-be-seen TV appearance for would-be presidential candidates? Read on.
John McCain announced his candidacy on Letterman and many believe Al Gore might have been president if the more relaxed and funny man who appeared on late night TV after his 2000 defeat had showed up beforehand.
But last night, Stephen Colbert, who was doing the show from Philadelphia, boasted three, ount’em, three current or former presidential candidates.
Hillary Clinton opened the show by pretending to fix Colbert’s video wall. AFter the screen went blank, Colbert asked dramatically: "Are you telling me there is noone in this theater who can fix the mess we’re in?"
"I can," said Clinton, appearing like a Deus ex machina from off stage, talking the engineer through the problem–"try toggling the input"–then having Colbert’s makeup adjusted to remove some shine from his forehead. Clinton was stiff, as she usually is when trying her hand at comedy, but came off as a good sport.
Then Edwards showed up to do the Word of the Day," or in this case the "Ed Words," and was hilarious, or at least delivered the hilarious lines of Colbert’s writers with ease and obvious relish.
The word of the day appeared to be "jet ski," which Edwards said was the price of his "white male voter" endorsement of either candidate. Actually, make that two jet skis he said, one for his wife. Actually, make that three, he adeed, one for his father. "I understand what working folks go through. I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but my father was a mill worker," he said. "1,000,000th mention" popped up on the screen next to him, with a graphic of a balloon drop and confetti. "Let’s give him a jet ski," said Edwards.
Edwards suggested that he would only suport the candidate that would make him a spy so he could get all that cool spy stuff and travel to exotic places, so long as there was an opportunity for a jet ski chase, he added. He was also a good sport about the hair jokes–a "national haircare" plan–and jibes about greedy lawyers. "There are two America’s," he said. "One America that does the work and another that reaps the rewards," he continued, as the following words appeared beside him. "And a third that gets rich suing the second on behalf of the first."
Obama capped the night with a remote appearance. "Won’t Senator CLinton be happy that she fixed our screen," said Colbert as Obama appeared on the screen behind him. "I’m sure she will, Stephen," said Obama, beaming, "I’m sure she will."
Referring to the much maligned ABC debate where he was peppered with "gotcha questions about his pastor, his association with a former radical and his "bitter" comment about some Pennsylvanians, Obama said he wanted to put "political distractions" on notice, and proceeded to have "distraction" placed on Colbert’s board, where the host has put various things "on noitce," including Grzzly Bears and The Weather Channel.
Manufactured political distractions, you are officially on notice," said Obama, who was less wooden than Clinton but still no Stephen Colbert, or John Edwards for that matter.