Charlie on Colbert

January 25, 2011

By the Chicago Bureau Chief

This is not what I was expecting.  I hate Steven Colbert because he usually can’t turn off his clowning persona for the two minutes it takes to interview one of his guests.  I don’t much care for “The Daily Show” either – Jon Stewart’s political stance is usually as cloying and vague as the “Tea Party” philosophy that he claims to oppose.  But he’s an OK interviewer.  Colbert is not.

At least, not what I’ve seen before.  So I wasn’t expecting much.  But his interview with Charlie was a genuinely funny parody (see above).  What’s more, it was a respectful parody.  Colbert obviously watches the broadcast, because he really did imitate a lot of Charlie’s speech patterns and ticks very, very well.

The spot-on imitation of Charlie’s opening credits already won me over:

Anyway, if you have time, you should watch it.  Two last thoughts:

1) Charlie is clearly uncomfortable as a guest.  It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out why.  When you play host on a daily basis, it’s gotta be a little weird.

2) What’s really weird, and what definitely compounds the sense of awkwardness for the viewer, is seeing Charlie’s other side facing the audience.  I don’t know that I can call it his “bad side” (I don’t think Charlie has one of those), it’s just his “weird side” because I’ve never seen it before.  It’s like the dark side of the moon.

The collective editorial wisdom of Back At This Table can think of only one occasion where Charlie voluntarily switched sides of the table with his guest: April 25, 2000’s interview with Anne Bancroft.  Also worth a watch.

Breaking News!

January 24, 2011

Charlie Rose will find himself on the other side of the table tonight as a guest on the infamous Colbert Report.

Will you be watching?  Check back at this space tomorrow for analysis.


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