Monday, January 7, 2008

Should be interesting: Daily Show and Colbert Return Today

Stewart and Colbert return Monday night
By FRAZIER MOORE, AP Television Writer

Not a moment too soon to help make sense of things, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will be back on duty Monday, ready to mock everything in sight.

The New Hampshire presidential primary scheduled for the next day? A likely topic!

The woes of Jamie Lynn and Britney Spears? Why the heck not?

And they'll surely make hay of the writers strike that has kept them off the air, and kept their viewers satire-starved, since Nov. 5.

But how will they carry out their mission without writers?

Boy, is that ever an excellent question. 

The fact is, both of these guys pretend to be something they're not. Jon Stewart, a fake news anchor - Stephen Colbert, a fake Conservative blowhard.

How do they do these characters without WRITING them? 

Stewart has it easier: He has correspondents that go out on the street and interview people... I think that's his easiest answer. Improving interviewing Rob Riggle at the New Hampshire debate, that's not writing.

But Rob Riggle sitting down and writing his answers to prepared questions is.

Trickier for Colbert. I don't believe for a moment he can carry a half hour a day of fake Conservatism without a team of snarky liberals behind him making that work. Unless he comes on today and says "Today's show doesn't star Stephen Colbert, it stars Stephen Colbert..." He HAS to be breaking guild rules.

Gonna be an interesting day.

- Steve

P.S. No Golden Globes? Oh no! As much as I'd like to see the rest of the world felch Nicole Kidman for another year, I think I'll be okay.


Alex Weitzman said...

Since they were good enough guys to keep their writers paid while they were on strike, I doubt they'll make any effort to paint their writers as unrequired for their shows. I'll be intrigued to see what their shows are like.

Matt Wayne said...

Colbert's a good interviewer. He can do his character, buy jokes under the table and interview non-actors almost indefinitely. I can't imagine him doing "The Word" though.

I doubt the WGA is going to penalize these guys for doing Daily Show/Colbert Report LE as long as there's plausible deniability and no script. They just organized last year, and the Guild is probably more interested in keeping them organized when the smoke clears.

Kevin Koch said...

Over at the Artful Writer, Mazin makes the point that the WGA rules specifically exclude jurisdiction for writing (not ad libbing, actual writing) if the person writing is the one who will perform the written material. Putting aside the possibility that Leno, Stewart, or Colbert aren't talented enough to do their own writing, it sounds like they can make an attempt to do their shows as they have been, without violating guild rules.

I know, those shows actually depend on the input of a lot of writers. But if Stewart and Colbert and Leno CAN do their own writing, and people like Rob Riggle are writing their own material, they apparently aren't violating WGA rules.

Alex Weitzman said...

So, still pretty durned funny, but they pretty much made the strike the topic du jour for the whole of their episodes. Also, plenty of clips; anything to fill the time.

Stewart brings up an interesting question, though: did TDS/TCR make an offer to WGA that the writers turned down?

Steve said...


I'm sure Jon Stewart would have agreed to the deal, and maybe even Comedy Central would have - as Comedy Central agreed to those shows being WGA.

Comedy Central is owned by Viacom, which is one of the eight big companies that WON'T make that deal. Just like Kimmel is owned by Disney. And Leno is owned by NBC.

On the other hand, Letterman's show is owned by World Wide pants, and World Wide Pants can make any deal it wants.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the WGA turned down the offer to accept the same agreement as WWP and regardless of the reason neither Stewart or Colbert sounded very happy about it.

The shows were every bit as funny sans writers as with - maybe funnier because it allowed both to do what they do best interact with guest and get to the real stories for a longer period of time.

Anonymous said...

Warner Bros hands out WARN letters today to many of the real underdogs in this town as the WGA makes side deals to keep a small handful of top end scribes working for Tom Cruise. And Letterman, Leno, and the rest are all still on the air, regardless of whatever ownership hairs the WGA wants to split. It's not adding up, and will not add up whatever deal is made. Not for the real underdogs in this town. The WGA is a pose. They are reckless and disappointing. And now here comes the state budget fiasco! Great timing, Patric!