Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Sunday, January 21, 2007
The Colbert Effect

In last year’s experiment, the direct voltage of Colbertian public humiliation was applied to the leg muscles of the seeming dead frog of critical Washington journalism.
Those previously motionless muscles, as everyone knows, then twitched causing a yearlong bitchy whine from the frog involving hypersensitive hurt media feelings and the cliché cable roundtable IED of character assassination...Oh, and the hiring of a safe, passé comic for this year’s Colbert-free Oscars for Ugly People, the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner.
According to a controversy roundup in this morning’s Washington Post, pasta-faced WHCA President and C-SPAN host Steve Scully said, among other things:

Do you want to invite someone to a party and make them into a political piñata? That's not the purpose of the dinner. It's for [journalists] and their sources and contacts to have an enjoyable evening.

Got that people?
We’re here to have an absolutely neutral evening.
Heaven forefend that a performer should suffer headlines, Mr. Scully!
The vicious remarks gassy punditry directed at the Comedy Channel’s ultra witty Stephen Colbert throughout 2006 could be one of the reasons the WHCA, according to the Post report, had a spot of trouble booking a comic this year.
The real news, I thought, in the Paul Farhi article, was word that Scully had “sought David Letterman, Jay Leno, Billy Crystal and Martin Short as performers for this year's dinner, but none was interested.”
Rich Little, aside from doing impressions of dead people...his Alben Barkley is spot in the awkward performing position of being at least 5th choice.
Steve Scully, also, gets a checkmark in the “naughty” column for intentionally confusing the alleged WHCA tradition with the 125 year-old motto of The Gridiron Club.
While the Gridiron performance owes its heritage to the seemingly innocuous 1885 popularity of Gilbert and Sullivan’s sometimes pungent musical criticisms of the British Empire, Gridiron performances have an American pungency all their own no matter the rule that they be sung to the music of a known tune.
For example...
Unlike the WHCA, Gridiron performers, often including high ranked officials and their spouses as well as media, usually direct their sharpest barbs at themselves.
Nancy Reagan’s 1982 performance of Second Hand Rose springs readily to mind...
The rule in the boozy, late night Washington of old was to be, in no particular order, funny, witty and self-deprecating...Everything that isn’t a certain person and their normally tone deaf administration.

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