In 1996, I remember flipping through the channels one late evening at the tender age of 16, and coming across a strange, comical news report being given about “a small town where nothing ever happened”. The punchline came for me when they revealed the reporter standing next to a sign with the name of the town; it happened to have been the town I lived in before moving to the Ithaca area in 1990.
This was how I became hooked on The Daily Show. I loved it, and it became a part of my regular schedule. The correspondents were all excellent, the bits were consistently funny, and on top of it all, you had Craig Kilborn at the helm. The show had this wonderful smug air about it – the on-air staff refrained from laughing at their own jokes as much as possible. It was serious, it was funny; it was, you could say, seriously funny.
But in 1999, everything changed. Craig Kilborn was out, and Jon Stewart was in. The title changed slight, the staff went through a big rotation, and most distressing to me, the air changed. Jon’s habit of laughing at his own jokes completely threw my enjoyment of the show. It seems minor – hell, it *is* minor – but nonetheless, the show fell off my viewing schedules. Debates with my parents about which version of the show was funnier ensued. When Jon came to Cornell campus to do comedy in 2001, I didn’t feel bad about going out of town and missing it.
And so on. TDS did not become interesting to me again until the second half of 2004 – right around [the Crossfire incident](http://mediamatters.org/items/200410160003) – when the new political bent to the show finally caught hold with me. But even now, Jon’s frequent self-giggles still distract me.
Luckily, my need for a smug comedy news show have been answered; everything I was missing is available in spades on [The Colbert Report](http://www.comedycentral.com/shows/the_colbert_report/). Colbert is amazing, to the point where I am tempted to switch languages and use a term such as *en fuego* to emphasize the degree to which he is on fire. The writing is razor sharp (sample: “I’m not mad at James Frey for stretching the truth – hey, we stretch taffy. And that only makes it more delicious.”). The pacing is brisk, despite being largely a one-man show. It transcends merely being a parody of O’Reilly or Fox News; it is a consistently funny show. One that you should be watching right now, if it’s on.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is: hand me my passport, because I am emigrating to the [Colbert Nation](http://www.colbertnation.com/). I have tickets for the taping on February 27th, and I cannot wait.
P.S. I know a fair number of people on my blogroll [love Jon Stewart](http://www.fancyrobot.com/2006/01/before_we_meet__4.html). Please don’t think I hate Jon – far from it. He can be terribly funny, and he can do a great interview. It’s just the funny faces that drive me up the wall.
P.P.S. I am not writing this post merely because David Cross was on Colbert Report tonight.
P.P.P.S. If you didn’t watch the first showing of Colbert tonight, be sure to watch the repeats! Thursday, 8:30 PM – David Cross appears!
P.P.P.P.S. Speaking of David Cross, [here’s his bit](http://cheapseats.tv/clips/feature_drtimlin_hi.html) from Cheap Seats a number of months ago. It is great.
P.P.P.P.P.S. Has putting an extended number of “P.S.” statements after a post ever been funny?
P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Yeah, I didn’t think so. Oh well.