A Daily Transformation

John Stewart Lean

It’s been interesting keeping up with the Daily Show and the Colbert Report as they have progressed sans-author. I tend to agree with the previous assessment that Stewart is a better watch without his writers, mostly due to consistency: Colbert often struggles to maintain his in-your-face composure that makes the show so very potent, while Stewart’s persona — admittedly easier to maintain — still feels entirely intact.

However, there’s been one interesting fact to note. Though the Daily Show is recognized for its role as a parody, it seems to be changing, particularly since the strike. While before, the staff simulated a news program, Stewart seems more set of late to openly poke fun at the issues within the media, and, as it were, at the media itself.

This episode — a little dated now — is the best example, by me. It’s hilarious… but nonetheless, not parody! No news program really looks and feels quite like this sketch plays out. For some, it may seem a little less intellectual a pursuit, but openly mocking the media may have its own positive effects, and certainly lends itself well to humour! Much like the Colbert Report, there’s something that’s lacking without the writers.

Will the two shows return to their previous state when the strike is concluded? Quite possibly. It’s been good fun during this stretch, but one has to wonder if the audience they attract will shift if they continue along this path too far. MacLean’s magazine, which has openly suggested that parody is too “upper-brow” to appeal to audiences for long periods of time, would likely suggest that the viewership would, in fact, increase with a reshaping of the humour. But would it taint it?

I can’t really say anything but yes, since I enjoyed the shows so much before!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Stephen
    Feb 01, 2008 @ 09:32:54

    I tend to agree with the previous assessment that Stewart is a better watch without his writers.

    Actually, I’ve been enjoying Colbert more than Stewart since that first night. But I agree that Colbert is slipping in and out of character much more than he did when he had writers.

    As for Stewart, he always held a mirror up to the news broadcasters, to expose the shallowness of the narratives they impose on events. But perhaps he’s relying on that schtick more in the absence of his writers.

    On the whole, I think both Stewart and Colbert have proven that they are genuinely funny people in their own write. (To borrow a pun from John Lennon.) They are both lightning quick at improvising a genuinely funny line.

    Their shows are more uneven, with minutes that are less than stellar. But if I were in the position of the writers, I would hate that they’re doing so well without me.

    Reply

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