As part of Stephen Colbert’s farewell tour from eponymous The Colbert Report, he will be taking a tour around the nation’s capital in what is essentially a victory lap around the city he has made fun of for nine years. As part of his final triumph, he has scored the ultimate Washington-themed guest to interview next Monday: President Barack Obama. This will be the first time the president has appeared on Colbert’s show in person, an acknowledgement both of the host’s show ending, but also his effect on American politics overall. In return, Colbert will be giving Obama the famous “Colbert Bump” just before Christmas and it may be just the Christmas present he needs for the year.
As Colbert noted, he tried to book one of his favorite 90’s bands, the Presidents of the United States of America. But with the show being in Washington, D.C., there was an understandable mix-up and he’s getting the real President of the United States. It is a bit of disappointment for the host, who everyone knows has quite a musical streak to him. There is no word yet on whether Obama will do some singing in order to make up for the lack of musical entertainment. But Colbert does not seem too broken up about it. After all, Obama is the man who sat down with Bill O’Reilly. That in itself is enough to make the president an exciting guest for the satirically conservative comedian.
The show will be taped at George Washington University and is open only to students. Knowing the state of student loans these days, it has probably launched a few more years of paying off debt for these students just to be there. Apparently, however, the students are keen to join the show as it is already sold out just a day after it was announced on Colbert’s program to the world. For everyone else, they will just have to reserve a seat on their couches to watch the episode from their living rooms. No one should miss that episode, because as Colbert himself pointed out the hugeness of the event is “large.”
But what does it mean to have President Obama on the show exactly? In the wider scheme of American politics, it is an homage to the important role that Colbert has played for the last nine years. Not only has he injected some necessary levity into the democratic process, he has played the role of the ultra-conservative Stephen Colbert to perfection. There has not been such an effective and beloved political satire in America perhaps since the days of Mark Twain. Basically, no one has done what Colbert has done and that accomplishment is being acknowledged by the leader of the free world. Of course, Colbert is the leader of the Colbert Nation, which may make this a diplomatic visit for President Obama. One has to wonder what kind of briefing he will get before he sits down in front of the camera with Colbert. For everyone else, this is an exciting moment in television and American history and no doubt millions will be watching when Colbert gives President Obama the coveted Colbert Bump wrapped up in the most patriotic wrapping paper imaginable.
Opinion By Lydia Bradbury