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The Google video folks struck a deal with C-Span (or so I learned from Kos) to make the full Colbert speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner available. You can now watch the whole thing in glorious, broadband, wide-screen format. I've been circulating this link and talking about it often. Last night in discussion with pal C., he wagered that people will be talking about this 100 years from now. I tend to agree with him. I'm not saying that Colbert is the Mencken, or Swift, or Twain of our time, but this particular performance is so amazing that I think it will become part and parcel of this administration's legacy.

Every time I watch it, I am amazed at multiple points. The overall pacing and delivery is not so smooth, but the isolation of each segment adds to the overall effect; you get to hear the stone silence in the room from the midpoint of the speech onwards. Consider the Jesse Jackson tangent, and the double-whammy punchline that follows it. That right there is the very essence of comedy. The "spokesman audition video" at the end, I can take or leave, but everything leading up to it is awe-inspiring.

Can you think of a more biting, relevant bit of satire in recent times? Never mind the fact that this was done under the most impressive circumstances possible, with the President and First Lady not 10 feet away; who in the last 25 years has done anything of this caliber, even in print? I'm coming up empty.


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October 2011

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