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The Unseen Forest

by M.G. Siegler


The Political Targets of Satire

David Marchese talks with Stephen Colbert:

I remember Jon Stewart saying, when he was on “The Late Show,” that he was glad he wasn’t digging in the turd mines anymore. Is it ever dispiriting to spend so much time engaging with bad news?
The metaphor that I use is that there’s this pool of radioactive sludge, which is the daily news. My job is to be lowered like carbon rods into that radioactive sludge and absorb the radiation of the insanity that happened today. Then they take me out and put me in front of the camera, and I irradiate it back at the audience at a much lower, nonlethal rad level. That’s kind of the job. It’s a transformation of the poison into something entertaining. Do I feel poisoned by doing that? Yeah, a little bit. But I get to go do the jokes. I need the audience as much as some of them say they need the show. If the show really works and it feels organic, then the poison’s drained out of me.

This is a very good interview. From politics to comedy to religion to abortion to J.R.R. Tolkien, and back again.


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