The Colbert Report
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The Colbert Report, Report.

A short analysis of the program, its polysemy, and its message. 

Drew Graham's insight:


The Colbert Report: Report.



America, capitalism, Jesus. These are the three essential nutrients used to fuel Stephen Colbert’s satire filled The Colbert Report. First aired in 2005, the show itself is a result of several other programs, mainly The Daily Show and The O’Reilly Factor. The first program is where Colbert’s character evolved, while the later gave the program something to satire.  

The Colbert Report stars Stephen Colbert, playing himself. The program is essentially a satire of The O’Reilly Factor, following the patterns of other news focused comedy programs such as The Daily Show. In fact, the show got its start in 2005 because of the success of The Daily Show. Looking to expand on the success of said program, Comedy Central allowed Colbert to start his own spin-off.

The polysemy of the show is an interesting one. On the surface, the show seems to be purely comedy, Colbert gives a hilariously exaggerated conservative viewpoint on any given piece of news, often playing devil’s advocate on many stories. More informed viewers will notice that the show has a deep social conscious. Often times, segments will seem to be condemning a political figure or event, but will actually be showing a positive side. This kind of two faced comedy is what makes the Report so popular. Airing at 11:30 p.m. mondays through thursdays on Comedy Central, it directly follows it sister program The Daily Show. This affects the flow of the program as the two adjacent series follow a very similar format. This is an impressive feat as they both rely on recent news for their content, and going on the air one after another, have to be careful not to step on each other's toes. The resulting flow of this phenomena is an extremely smooth one, as the transition between the content and format between the two programs is minimal. Of course, commercials also play a large role in polysemy, and I experienced this while viewing the program on Hulu.com. I noticed a few interesting aspects of the advertising surrounding the show. While beginning the first episode, I was given a choice to watch the program with the two normal commercial breaks, or to watch a full length trailer for the movie, “Delivery Man”. Not one to be interrupted, I chose the later. The movie trailer focused on the middle aged protagonist character. I would say this assisted the flow as The Colbert Report, likewise focuses on a middle aged man, Stephen Colbert. This new internet age style commercial format also assisted the flow, as, after opting to watch the full trailer, I was rewarded with an uninterrupted viewing experience for the remainder of the program. On my second episode I was given a similar choice, except this time I was given the option to play a virtual game of poker, which served as an advertisement for a casino. On the third episode, I was forced to endure the horrors of regular commercial breaks. I was greeted with a commercial for eye drops, one for cameras, and a third for another program on Hulu titled “Wrong Guys”. Over all I feel as though the flow was disrupted the most on my third episode, as the program was regularly interrupted. As a whole, I felt like the message I received as a viewer was skewed by the commercials. The shows themes of political consciousness and education, were mixed in with the messages of luxury from the casino and camera advertisements, as well as the pure humor of the movie and tv show ads.

As far as audience goes, TV by the Numbers.com reports that “For the first time, “The Colbert Report” has overtaken “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” among Adults 18-49 for a full quarter”. This is easily believable as the show airs near midnight, and as a young viewer, I can attest to this being a prime television watching time. Other things to hint to a younger target audience is the fact that it is a comedy program, and airs on Comedy Central. The ads played support the targeting of young audiences as well, as relatively young adults enjoy movies, cameras, and casinos. The message that is being sold to the audience is to take everything with a grain of salt, and have a sense of humor, also the advertisements seem to support a message of youth and consumerism.

The sources I used to form this analysis include: TV by the Numbers.com, Hollywood Reporter.com, Variety.com, Broadcasting Cable.com, and Huffington Post.com. The article I read from Tv by the Numbers gave me statistical information on The Colbert Report. This information solidified my assumptions about the show’s audience and helped me to understand the commercials’ target audience. Hollywood Reporter.com gave me insight on how the show was produced by reporting answers that the writing staff of the show gave at a convention. This helped me to get a better feeling as to what the real message of the show was. Variety.com was helpful as it gave insight on the relationship bettween Jon Stewert and Stephen Colbert. This was important information as the two men are deeply invested and involved in each others careers. Broadcasting Cable gave me information not given by the show as to some of the deeper meanings of segments on the show. In this case, Stephen’s Super Pac political lobbying organization gave all its proceeds to help reform political campaign funding. A noble cause indeed. Huffington Post.com gave me even further insight into the writers minds. By giving more information on the production of the program I was able to form a more full grasp of its content.

The Colbert Report is first and foremost a comedy, but it also a vehicle for so much more. Seemingly just a knock off of existing programs, it has taken a life of its own, and surpassed its predecessors in many ways. It also carries with it a message about political awareness and to question what and how you see things reported. The commercials surrounding and interweaving it tend distract from the message, as well as convey new ones. The Colbert Report is truly an example of why you should never judge a book by its cover.

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Colbert PAC Bucks Go to Campaign Finance Reform Groups - 2012-12-14 18:59:33 | Broadcasting & Cable

Colbert PAC Bucks Go to Campaign Finance Reform Groups - 2012-12-14 18:59:33 | Broadcasting & Cable | The Colbert Report | Scoop.it
Money was raised for series of ads mocking other ads
Drew Graham's insight:

While "The Colbert Report"'s main initiative is obviously to make people laugh, there is also a bit of social and political conscious built in as well. This political conscious is something this article focuses on, as it tells how Colbert's "Super Pac" political organization donated most of its donations to help sponsor political campaign reform.

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Stephen Colbert Talks Working With Henry Kissinger, Staying in Character

Stephen Colbert Talks Working With Henry Kissinger, Staying in Character | The Colbert Report | Scoop.it
Stephen Colbert and the writers of his eponymous Comedy Central late-night show took the stage at the New York Comedy Festival on Thursday night, sharing The Colbert Report secrets with a packed audience of fans at Manhattan's Town Hall.
Drew Graham's insight:

"The Colbert Report" Is a mostly sacarstic take on a news show, leading many to wonder what the show is actually endorsing. So this report of a confernence in which Colbert and his writers pulled back the curtain on the shows inner workings is extremely helpful to a viewer. 

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15 Surprising Facts About 'The Colbert Report'

15 Surprising Facts About 'The Colbert Report' | The Colbert Report | Scoop.it
As part of the 2013 New York Comedy Festival, Stephen Colbert and 17 members of his writing and production staff offered a rare look behind the scenes of "The Colbert Report." Here are 15 things we learned.
Drew Graham's insight:

This article gives further information and insight gleaned from the recent question answering session the show's writers just attended. 

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Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart Revel in 'Colbert Report's' Emmy Win

Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart Revel in 'Colbert Report's' Emmy Win | The Colbert Report | Scoop.it
Jon Stewart took a moment at the top of Tuesday's "Daily Show" to express his heartfelt congratulations and admiration for Stephen Colbert and "The Colbert Report's" win for variety show at Sunday'...
Drew Graham's insight:

This article not only informs about Colbert's recent Emmy win, but also sheds light on the dynamic between Colbert and John Stewert. This is especially interesting as Colbert's show is essentially a spin off of Stewert's. 

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'The Daily Show' and 'The Colbert Report' Finish First Quarter 2013 as Number 1 and Number 2 Among Adults 18-49

'The Daily Show' and 'The Colbert Report' Finish First Quarter 2013 as Number 1 and Number 2 Among Adults 18-49 | The Colbert Report | Scoop.it
They’re all fighting for third place now. For the first time, “The Colbert Report” has overtaken “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” among Adults 18-49 for a full quarter to give COMEDY CENTRAL the #...
Drew Graham's insight:

This article gives statistical information on the viewership of "The Colbert Report."

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