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Thursday, January 18, 2007

O'Reilly's Deathwish

How desperate can a man get to make his bestseller book and even bestsellerer book? Desperate enough to not realise that he is signing up for an arrangement that will just make him look even more stupid than he already looks?

From the moment the "Colbert meets Papa Bear" thing was announced, an arrangement by which Stephen Colbert and Bill O'Reilly would appear as guests on each other's show on the same night, it was obvious that the overblown right-wing windbag was way in over his head. There was no way his dignity would not have chipped away even more than it already has. And he made matters worse by being a completely clueless moron in handling it.

O'Reilly has had a few run-ins with Letterman before, and to be fair, he has managed them well enough, using his aggressive behavior. It also helps that Letterman is quite clueless about most things and completely incapable of any actual debate. Letterman's brand of comedy is dumb and very run of the mill. Stewart and Colbert however are in a different league. Their comedy is issue-based and intelligent, and that means they are also capable of more potent comebacks. Letterman saying to O'Reilly "It's not an easy question for me to answer because I am thoughtful"..."I get the feeling most of what you say is crap".. and then looking smug is quite weak. Colbert saying to o'Reilly, "I don't think people appreciate you enough for how loudly you say things, and how you keep saying them again and again"... is unanswerable.

Bill O'Reilly appeared off-colour, confused and subdued today. Confused probably because he didn't know how to handle Colbert. He can shout everyone else down by getting angry and self-righteous. Colbert himself parodies O'Reilly and acts like a right-wing nutjob.... so how to handle him? He did try calling him a "secular-progressive", to which Colbert replied, "No sir, I am a deeply religious man who will do anything you say."

Two years back when Stewart appeared on the show, O'Reilly's line of attack was calling The Daily Show's viewers as drunks and stoned slackers. Unable to come up with a strategy for Colbert, he again tried to attack Jon Stewart. Colbert played along, saying Stewart was a pinko who had sexually harassed him.

Poor O'Reilly. What option did he have but to bend over and take it?

Colbert on the other hand was in prime form. When O'Reilly asked him what the profile of The Colbert Report's audience is, he answered, "My aim is to take your message to an audience younger than the one which watches your show... so I target the 50 and 60-year olds." O'Reilly did not even try to think of a comeback.

The desperate act of attacking Stewart during the interview on his own show was a stupid tactical move. It ensured that he gets ridiculed even more on the Colbert Report, on which Stewart is executive producer. So when Colbert held up a copy of O'Reilly's book "Culture Warrior" to the camera, it was a copy in which there was a "30% off" sticker hiding O'Reilly's face on the cover. And later, Colbert suggested that O'Reilly should go undercover as a liberal, and as a suggested disguise, displayed a picture where O'Reilly's face had been photoshopped on to the body of a gay male stripper.

So quite convincingly.... Colbert 2... O'Reilly 0.


Oh by the way, Bollywood was mentioned on The Colbert Report last night. And no, it wasn't Shilpa Shetty's lucrative sufferings that were made fun of. In a section about celebrity feuds, after weighing in on the Rosie-Trump war, Colbert spoke about the ongoing feud between Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan. He used dance clips from their films, and decided that Amitabh was the winner of the feud. It was hilarious. Will embed the clip here when it is up on comedycentral or youtube.

Update: Read this post