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Thu Aug 15, 2013, 10:55 PM

Is Stephen Colbert the Mark Twain of this age...

I am sure he writes a good chunk of his stuff simply because of the Persona he carefully built on the Daily Show...

Of course he has a great team of writers behind him and Twain did all of his writing. But if you compare the total amount Twain created over his years as an Entertainer with Colbert's 13 or so years of creating at least 100 daily shows each year, well, you would have to say Colbert is at the very least in Twain's league.

So, I think it is safe to say that Colbert, and not to forget Jon Stewart, are both a national treasure and make the madness coming out from our political, media and business leaders a little less bitter by giving us the chance to laugh. Otherwise, so we could easily go crazy.

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Arrow 28 replies Author Time Post
Reply Is Stephen Colbert the Mark Twain of this age... (Original post)
WCGreen Aug 2013 OP
CaliforniaPeggy Aug 2013 #1
vanlassie Aug 2013 #2
WCGreen Aug 2013 #3
sigmasix Aug 2013 #4
wandy Aug 2013 #5
WCGreen Aug 2013 #6
FSogol Aug 2013 #11
wandy Aug 2013 #18
Generic Other Aug 2013 #7
WCGreen Aug 2013 #8
Generic Other Aug 2013 #9
WCGreen Aug 2013 #10
Generic Other Aug 2013 #13
randome Aug 2013 #25
REP Aug 2013 #12
Generic Other Aug 2013 #14
REP Aug 2013 #16
WCGreen Aug 2013 #20
malaise Aug 2013 #15
WCGreen Aug 2013 #22
malaise Aug 2013 #23
Shankapotomus Aug 2013 #17
GreatCaesarsGhost Aug 2013 #19
WCGreen Aug 2013 #21
Graybeard Aug 2013 #27
scarletlib Aug 2013 #24
KurtNYC Aug 2013 #26
Bluenorthwest Aug 2013 #28

Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Thu Aug 15, 2013, 11:02 PM

1. Laughter is absolutely essential, esp. during our days of national madness...

I am grateful for our comedians.

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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Thu Aug 15, 2013, 11:12 PM

2. Personally, I don't think I could have survived

the Bush years without Jon and Steven. Steven is crazy talented. And Jon has to be worried about John Oliver... He has been doing an amazing job too. But Colbert as Twain? Sure, I'll go there!

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Response to vanlassie (Reply #2)

Thu Aug 15, 2013, 11:31 PM

3. I think Jon is looking to exit the next time the contracts come due...

I believe they are testing Oliver to be the next Anchor..

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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Thu Aug 15, 2013, 11:54 PM

4. just serves to underscore the power of progressive sensibilities

The right wing relies on hours and hours of hate-speech and fake "news" to acheive maximum core voter support by inflaming the hatred and fears of the teabagger mindset. Right wing media "think" tanks have been involved deeply in constructing a "news" media monopoly that concentrates on misinformation that finds support in emotional appeals to willfull ignorance and confirmation of racist and bigoted stereo-types.
This antiAmerican approach to partisan character assasination through misinformation and hyperbole, purposefully used in the "news", has been perfected by limbaugh, beck, fox "news" and the 700 club.
.
Progressives are not interested in streaming hatred and lies as part of their information (news) gathering endeavors. There will never be a progressive Limbaugh-type on progressive radio or TV outlets. This is because of the vast intellectual and moral short-comings of teabaggers versus progressives; Teabaggers give their support to those that have vowed to hate and destroy the American government.
Colbert and Stewart offer an intelligent, humourous look at the ramifications of the politics of hate and destruction being utilized by the reactionary right wing teabaggers. Progressives don't need or want to listen to manufactured outrage and partisan anger and hatred as part of their news.
Fox "news" simply reinforces a child-like understanding of the world and a bully's attempts to block-out the reality of their lies.
Hooray for courageous and intelligent Americans like Colbert and Stewart. I've never understood how right wingers can feel so threatened by a comedian that has a 20 minute cable show 4 nights a week- while the right wing utilizes a 24 hr, non stop trickle-down propoganda media conglomerate that drowns out all but the loudest of opposing voices.
Myabe Colbert and Stewart ought to be featured on mount Rushmore, as it is becoming increasingly obvious that they stand in the way of total right wing destruction of American liberties and history by holding a flash-light on teabagger AntiAmerican activities and legislation and labeling them for the dystopian idiocy that they represent.

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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 12:16 AM

5. Sorry to disagree with you but,, ho hum ...........

Ok, Colbert is just fine but as this generations Mark Twain someone has him beaten hands down......
V
Would have thought you knew that....
So it goes.

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Response to wandy (Reply #5)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 12:35 AM

6. Kurt was at least two generations ago...

I read everyone of his books, but it was his earliest stuff was much more ground breaking, speaking to a generation.

Vonnegut was a big influence in my life.

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Response to wandy (Reply #5)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 07:15 PM

11. My thoughts exactly.

As for the charge that Vonnegut is dead and gone, Colbert is hardly a writer of Twain's caliber.

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Response to FSogol (Reply #11)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 09:47 PM

18. Vonnegut said much...........

From Diana Moon Glampers, yes I have known people who were afraid of electricity, to Billy the poet, somehow I know him too well.
Make you're characters interesting. Make people want to know them.
Make you're character interesting. Give people a reason to root for you.
Treat everyone as if they were important to you're story. They are you know.
Never forget that that great idea you have may have the potential to be Ice Nine.
Ho, hum.

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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 12:50 AM

7. Does he write all his own material?

Then no.

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Response to Generic Other (Reply #7)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 01:27 AM

8. He does write some of his stuff including his books...

Yes, but Twain was also an entertainer. His writing about his trip around the world were the basis of lectures.

The difference I see is Twain could give the same talk hundreds of time while Colbert gives hundreds of short unique talks in the course of a year.


I also want to point to this....


http://www.democraticunderground.com/113730453

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Response to WCGreen (Reply #8)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 10:50 AM

9. And you would compare someone who writes "some" of his stuff

to this?

WRITINGS BY THE AUTHOR:
NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM MARK TWAIN, EXCEPT WHERE INDICATED

(With Charles Dudley Warner) The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today, illustrated by Augustus Hoppin and others, American Publishing, 1873, Twain's portion published separately as The Adventures of Colonel Sellers, edited by Charles Nelder, Doubleday, 1965.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, illustrated by True Williams, American Publishing (Hartford, CT), 1876.

The Prince and the Pauper, Chatto & Windus (London, England), 1881, Osgood (Boston, MA), 1882.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer's Comrade, illustrated by Edward Windsor Kemble, Chatto & Windus, 1884, Webster (New York, NY), 1885.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, illustrated by Dan Beard, Webster, 1889, published as A Yankee at the Court of King Arthur, Chatto & Windus, 1889.

The American Claimant (adapted from the play by Twain and William Dean Howells; also see below), Webster, 1892.

Tom Sawyer Abroad, by Huck Finn, illustrated by Dan Beard, Webster, 1894.

Pudd'nhead Wilson: A Tale, Chatto & Windus, 1894, expanded as The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson, and the Comedy of Those Extraordinary Twins, American Publishing, 1894.

(Under pseudonym Sieur Louis de Conte) Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, illustrated by E. V. Du Mond, Harper (New York, NY), 1896.

Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven, Harper, 1909.

The Mysterious Stranger: A Romance, illustrated by N. C. Wyeth, edited by Albert Bigelow Paine and Frederick A. Duneka, Harper, 1916.

Simon Wheeler: Detective (unfinished novel), edited by Franklin R. Rogers, New York Public Library, 1963.

(With Stephen Stewart) Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Collaboration (novel unfinished by Mark Twain completed by Stephen Stewart), New Mill (Meadow Vista, CA), 2001.

(With Lee Nelson) Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer among the Indians (novel unfinished by Mark Twain completed by Lee Nelson), Council Press (Springville, UT), 2003.

SHORT STORIES AND SKETCHES; UNDER TWAIN PSEUDONYM

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches, edited by John Paul, C. H. Webb (New York, NY), 1867.

Screamers: A Gathering of Scraps of Humour, Delicious Bits, and Short Stories, J. C. Hotten, 1871.

Eye Openers: Good Things, Immensely Funny Sayings, and Stories, J. C. Hotten, c. 1871.

A Curious Dream, and Other Sketches, Routledge (London, England), 1872.

Mark Twain's Sketches, illustrated by R. T. Sperry, American News, 1874, expanded as Mark Twain's Sketches: New and Old, American Publishing, 1876.

Merry Tales, Webster, 1892.

The 1,000,000 Pound Bank-Note, and Other New Stories, Webster, 1893.

Tom Sawyer, Detective, as Told by Huck Finn, and Other Stories, Chatto & Windus, 1896.

The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg, and Other Stories and Essays, Harper, 1900, revised edition, Chatto & Windus, 1900.

A Double Barrelled Detective Story, illustrated by Lucius Hitchcock, Harper, 1902.

A Dog's Tale, illustrated by W. T. Smedley, Harper, 1904.

Extracts from Adam's Diary (also see below), illustrated by F. Strothmann, Harper, 1904.

Eve's Diary Translated from the Original Ms (also see below), illustrated by Lester Ralph, Harper, 1906.

The $30,000 Bequest, and Other Stories, Harper, 1906.

A Horse's Tale, illustrated by Lucius Hitchcock, Harper, 1907.

The Curious Republic of Gondour, and Other Whimsical Sketches, Boni & Liveright (New York, NY), 1919.

(With Bret Harte) Sketches of the Sixties, Howell, 1927.

Concerning Cats: Two Tales, Book Club of California (San Francisco, CA), 1959.

Short Stories of Mark Twain, Funk & Wagnall, 1967.

The Diaries of Adam and Eve (contains excerpts from Adam's Diary and Eve's Diary), American Heritage, 1971.

Early Tales and Sketches, Volume 1: 1851-1864, edited by Edgar M. Branch and Robert H. Hirst, University of California Press, 1979.

A Story without an End, illustrated by Joe McDermott, Creative Education (Mankatom, MN), 1986.

PLAYS; UNDER TWAIN PSEUDONYM

Colonel Sellers (five-act), produced in New York City, 1874.

(With Bret Harte) Ah Sin, produced in Washington, DC, 1877.

The Quaker City Holy Land Excursion: An Unfinished Play, Buttonmaker Press (Omaha, NE), 1986.

Also author, with G. S. Densomore, of The Gilded Age (adapted from the novel by Twain and Warner), 1873; author, with William Dean Howells, of The American Claimant; or, Mulberry Sellers Ten Years Later, 1887.

Is He Dead?: A Comedy in Three Acts, edited with foreword, afterword, and notes by Shelley Fisher Fishkin; text established by the Mark Twain Project, Bancroft Library, illustrations by Barry Moser, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2003.

TRAVEL BOOKS; UNDER TWAIN PSEUDONYM
The Innocents Abroad; or, The New Pilgrims' Progress, illustrated by True Williams, American Publishing, 1869, published in two volumes as Innocents Abroad, and The New Pilgrims' Progress, Hotten (London, England), 1870.
The Innocents at Home (also see below), Routledge (London, England), 1872.
Roughing It, Routledge, 1872, revised edition (includes The Innocents at Home), American Publishing, 1872.
An Idle Excursion, Rose-Belford, 1878, revised as Punch, Brothers, Punch!, and Other Sketches, Slote, Woodman, 1878.
A Tramp Abroad, illustrated by Twain and others, American Publishing, 1880, excerpt published as Jim Baker's Bluejay Yarn (also see below).
Following the Equator: A Journey around the World, American Publishing, 1897, published as More Tramps Abroad, Chatto & Windus, 1897.
Europe and Elsewhere, edited by Albert Bigelow Paine, Harper, 1923.
Traveling with the Innocents Abroad: Mark Twain's Original Reports from Europe and the Holy Land, edited by Daniel Morley McKelthan, University of Oklahoma Press, 1958.
Jim Baker's Bluejay Yarn, illustrated by Fred Brenner, Orion Press, 1963.

ESSAYS; UNDER TWAIN PSEUDONYM
How to Tell a Story, and Other Essays, Harper, 1897.
English as She Is Taught, Mutual Book Co., 1900.
King Leopold's Soliloquy: A Defense of His Congo Rule, P. R. Warren, 1905.
Editorial Wild Oats, Harper, 1905.
My Debut as a Literary Person, with Other Essays and Stories, American Publishing, 1906.
(Originally published anonymously) What Is Man?, De Vinne Press, 1906, revised as What Is Man?, and Other Essays, Harper, 1917.
Christian Science, with Notes Containing Corrections to Date, Harper, 1907.
Is Shakespeare Dead?, Harper, 1909.
In Defense of Harriet Shelley, and Other Essays, Harper, 1918.
Concerning the Jews, Harper, 1934.
Mark My Words: Mark Twain on Writing, edited by Mark Dawidziak, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.

CORRESPONDENCE; UNDER TWAIN PSEUDONYM
Mark Twain's Letters (two volumes), edited by Albert Bigelow Paine, Harper, 1917.
Mark Twain, the Letter Writer, edited by Cyril Clemens, Meador, 1932.
Mark Twain's Letters to Will Bowen, edited by Theodore Hornberger, University of Texas Press, 1941.
The Love Letters of Mark Twain, edited by Dixon Wecter, Harper, 1949.
Mark Twain to Mrs. Fairbanks, edited by Dixon Wecter, Huntington Library, 1949.
Mark Twain to Uncle Remus, 1881-1885, edited by Thomas H. English, Emory University, 1953.
(With William Dean Howells) Mark Twain-Howell Letters (two volumes), edited by Henry Nash Smith and William M. Gibson, Belknap Press, 1960.
Mark Twain's Letters to Mary, edited by Lewis Leary, Columbia University Press, 1961.
Mark Twain: Letters from the Earth, edited by Bernard De Voto, preface by Henry Nash Smith, 1962.
Mark Twain's Letters from Hawaii, edited by A. Grove Day, Appleton-Century, 1966.
Mark Twain's Letters to His Publishers, edited and with an introduction by Hamlin Hill, University of California Press, 1967.
Mark Twain's Letters to Henry Huttleston Rogers, edited by Leary, University of California Press, 1969.
The Selected Letters of Mark Twain, edited with an introduction and commentary by Charles Neider, Cooper Square Press (New York, NY), 1982.

AUTOBIOGRAPHY; UNDER TWAIN PSEUDONYM
Old Times on the Mississippi, Belford, 1876, reprinted as The Mississippi Pilot, Ward, Lock & Tyler, 1877, revised as Life on the Mississippi, Osgood, 1883, excerpt published as The Boy's Ambition, Lerner, 1975.
Mark Twain's Autobiography (two volumes), edited by Albert Bigelow Paine, Harper, 1924, edited as one volume by Charles Neider, Harper, 1959.

COLLECTED JOURNALISM; UNDER TWAIN PSEUDONYM
Letters from the Sandwich Islands Written for the "Sacramento Union," edited by G. Ezra Dane, Grabhorn, 1937.
The Washoe Giant in San Francisco, edited by Franklin Walker, Fields, 1938.
Mark Twain's Letters in the "Muscatine Journal," edited by Edgar M. Branch, Mark Twain Association of America, 1942.
Mark Twain of the Enterprise: Newspaper Articles and Other Documents, 1862-1864, edited by Henry Nash Smith, University of California Press, 1957.
Contributions to the "Galaxy," 1868-1871, edited by Bruce R. McElderry, Jr., Scholars' Facsimiles and Reprints, 1961.
Mark Twain's San Francisco, edited by Bernard Taper, McGraw, 1963.
Clemens of the "Call": Mark Twain in San Francisco, edited by Edgar M. Branch, University of California Press, 1969.
ANTHOLOGIES
The Family Mark Twain, Harper, 1935.
Mark Twain's Wit and Wisdom, edited by Cyril Clemens, Stokes, 1935.
The Portable Mark Twain, edited by Bernard De Voto, Viking, 1946.
Mark Twain on the Art of Writing, edited by Martion B. Fried, Salisbury Club, 1961.
Selected Shorter Writings of Mark Twain, edited by Walter Blair, Houghton, 1962.
Great Short Works of Mark Twain, edited by Justin Kaplan, Harper, 1967.
"What
Source(s):
Biography Resource Center (you may be able to access this database through your local library Web site)

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Response to Generic Other (Reply #9)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 07:09 PM

10. I am meerly poiting out that Colbert, as was Twain, the premier satarists of their time...

I'm sure that if Twain lived now, he would enjoy Colbert.

Btw, they both depended on developing a persona...

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Response to WCGreen (Reply #10)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 08:02 PM

13. The question is who will be remembered a century from now?

I would suspect it will be Twain. He and Colbert are not in the same league. That said, Colbert is comparable to the great TV talk show hosts of all time. Definitely better than Johnny Carson IMO or even Letterman who I like a lot. Funnier than John Stewart. And Saturday Night Live. There was a time a few years ago, when the old SNL crew were box office gold (Chase, Belushi, Akroyd, Murray, Murphy). Where are they today? Not making A-list comedies. Has Colbert had a career as long as Bob Hope? Is he as well-known? I believe Hope would have liked Colbert. And what about Lucy Ball or Phyllis Diller? Is Colbert even as well-known as they were? Or Will Rogers was in his day? They all had major studio support Colbert lacks. His humor is topical and quickly dates itself as insider jokes no longer resonate. He hasn't made a Howard Stern type movie to help propel his career or sink it.

If Twain was being compared to Dave Barry, you could at least say they both wrote for the newspapers. Again, not what Colbert does. I think you are right Twain would love Colbert though. Probably give him a nickname or purposely mispronounce his name. I could easily visualize Colbert's persona as a character-type from a Twain novel. Like Tom Sawyer's brother Sid. Or the Dauphin from Huck Finn. Or some shady riverboat gambler that Twain would have heaved off the boat at Natchez for cheating at cards.

He also loved people who would do what Colbert does. The deadpan humor, the seemingly lighthearted pokes that draw blood. Twain invented that. He was notorious for writing very snarky letters to the editor. I wish Mark Twain was here today to post on DU.

I would be more likely to compare Twain to Michael Moore before I'd choose Colbert. But Twain would probably think they were both a hoot.

on edit: Adding one more person. Garrison Keillor.

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Response to Generic Other (Reply #13)

Sat Aug 17, 2013, 07:07 AM

25. Many of the past greats you mention are unknown to the current generation.

 

Colbert is front and center for the younger set in search of satire. In those terms, I think he is this generation's Mark Twain.
[hr][font color="blue"][center]Stop looking for heroes. BE one.[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 07:44 PM

12. It is no insult to Colbert to say he is no Twain; Twain was beyond all superlatives

Colbert is very, very good and he seems to truly share the compassion for others Twain (largely) did; Colbert, however, at least at this point in his life, lacks the bitterness that gave so much sharpness to much of Twain's writing. Colbert still has hope in his vision; Twain had it and tried to hold on to it, despite all he'd seen ("Letters from the Earth" and "The Damned Human Race" as well as his autobiography spell this out pretty clearly).

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Response to REP (Reply #12)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 08:14 PM

14. Most comic voices have a dark edge, don't they?

And sometimes seem bitter. I think Twain's pessimism came from the loss of all his loved ones, as well as going bankrupt late in life. He seemed very disillusioned with the imperialistic jingoistic numbskulls of his day as well. Perhaps sensing the direction the world was heading.

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Response to Generic Other (Reply #14)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 08:44 PM

16. Twain was very bitter but tried to fight it

He couldn't really let go of seeing the good in humanity, despite evidence to the contrary. His darkness sharpened his vision (and his pen) and generations will benefit from it, but a good and decent man paid heavily.

As much as I like Colbert - which is a lot - he hasn't developed much real darkness. In a way, I hope he doesn't, simply because I don't wish the things that bring that on him.

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Response to REP (Reply #12)

Sat Aug 17, 2013, 12:31 AM

20. Well when you lose all your money in bad investments and you bury two of your daughters...

It's a wonderthat Twain kept it together.


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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 08:15 PM

15. No he's not in Twain's league

Twain was anti-imperialist and against religion for starters.

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Response to malaise (Reply #15)

Sat Aug 17, 2013, 12:49 AM

22. The thing is Twain was the premier Saturist of his era...

What I was saying is, like Twain, Colbert is certainly one of the sharpest wit of our era.

Twain to Colbert mano y mano, no question Twain is still a national treasure.

I picked Colbert because George Carlin isn o longer alive...

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Response to WCGreen (Reply #22)

Sat Aug 17, 2013, 05:33 AM

23. You're 100% correct re satire

and Colbert is a very sharp wit.

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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 08:47 PM

17. Maybe that's the problem

Maybe we should be going crazy?

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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Fri Aug 16, 2013, 10:24 PM

19. The White House Correspondents Dinner

Epic.

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Response to GreatCaesarsGhost (Reply #19)

Sat Aug 17, 2013, 12:44 AM

21. Yep, a modern classic....

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Response to GreatCaesarsGhost (Reply #19)

Sat Aug 17, 2013, 07:18 AM

27. I bought the DVD at the c-span store.

.
That was in 2006. It's a prized part of my collection.
.

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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Sat Aug 17, 2013, 07:03 AM

24. Can't say.

What I do believe is that his show is the most brilliant satire since Jonathan Swift was writing.

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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Sat Aug 17, 2013, 07:13 AM

26. Yes. Humorist, satarist and prolific.

but to be fair, I'm not sure that Twain would have delivered something like this for Teddy Roosevelt...

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Response to WCGreen (Original post)

Sat Aug 17, 2013, 09:41 AM

28. I'd say he is more like the Will Rogers of our time, Twain was a novelist and story teller as well

 

as a maker of one line gags and live entertainments. Twain was also a harsh critic of religion while Stephen endorses Cardinal Dolan as a 'funny, good time' guy. Dolan is a rabid homophobe, Colbert claims to favor equality but he also does live shows with Dolan and often legitimizes hate mongers like Dolan for the sake of his precious faith. Mark Twain would never be so two faced as being very direct was Twain's style, being 'of two meanings' is Colbert's entire comic conceit.

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