May-7th-2006, 09:23 AM
with a twist
The Colbert Roast of Bush
Amazingly, all the video content has been removed from the net. But here is the entire transcript of what I think is a brilliantly funny lampoon of our beloved POTUS:
Transcript of Stephen Colbert's WHCA Speech: You Be the Judge
By E&P Staff
Published: May 04, 2006 10:25 AM ET
NEW YORK Four days after the event, the controversy over Stephen Colbert's routine at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday night -- and the media's reaction to it -- continues to build, with followup stories in The New York Times, Los Angeles, and dozens of other places, including MTV.com.
E&P published the first account of the affair on Saturday night, and has presented numerous stories -- and dozens of letters to the editor -- since. But you be the judge. Here is a transcript of his speech, delivered in his usual faux-Bill O'Reilly voice. It closed with a video segment, not transcribed here.
COLBERT: Wow, what an honor. The White House Correspondents' Dinner. To actually sit here, at the same table with my hero, George W. Bush, to be this close to the man. I feel like I'm dreaming. Somebody pinch me. You know what? I'm a pretty sound sleeper -- that may not be enough. Somebody shoot me in the face.
Is he really not here tonight? Dammit. The one guy who could have helped.
By the way, before I get started, if anybody needs anything else at their tables, just speak slowly and clearly into your table numbers. Somebody from the NSA will be right over with a cocktail.
Mark Smith, ladies and gentlemen of the press corps, Madame First Lady, Mr. President, my name is Stephen Colbert and tonight it's my privilege to celebrate this president. We're not so different, he and I. We get it. We're not brainiacs on the nerd patrol. We're not members of the factinista. We go straight from the gut, right sir? That's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up.
I know some of you are going to say "I did look it up, and that's not true." That's 'cause you looked it up in a book. Next time, look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that's how our nervous system works. Every night on my show, the Colbert Report, I speak straight from the gut, OK? I give people the truth, unfiltered by rational argument. I call it the "No Fact Zone." Fox News, I hold a copyright on that term.
I'm a simple man with a simple mind. I hold a simple set of beliefs that I live by. Number one, I believe in America. I believe it exists. My gut tells me I live there. I feel that it extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and I strongly believe it has 50 states. And I cannot wait to see how the Washington Post spins that one tomorrow.
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong, welcome. Your great country makes our Happy Meals possible. I said it's a celebration. I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.
I believe in pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. I believe it is possible -- I saw this guy do it once in Cirque du Soleil. It was magical. And though I am a committed Christian, I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion, be you Hindu, Jewish or Muslim. I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.
Ladies and gentlemen, I believe it's yogurt. But I refuse to believe it's not butter. Most of all, I believe in this president.
Now, I know there are some polls out there saying this man has a 32% approval rating. But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in "reality." And reality has a well-known liberal bias.
So, Mr. President, please, pay no attention to the people that say the glass is half full. Sir, pay no attention to the people who say the glass is half empty, because 32% means it's 2/3 empty. There's still some liquid in that glass is my point, but I wouldn't drink it. The last third is usually backwash.
Okay, look, folks, my point is that I don't believe this is a low point in this presidency. I believe it is just a lull before a comeback. I mean, it's like the movie "Rocky." All right. The president in this case is Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed is -- everything else in the world. It's the tenth round. He's bloodied. His corner man, Mick, who in this case I guess would be the vice president, he's yelling, "Cut me, Dick, cut me!," and every time he falls everyone says, "Stay down! Stay down!" Does he stay down? No. Like Rocky, he gets back up, and in the end he -- actually, he loses in the first movie.
OK. Doesn't matter. The point is it is the heart-warming story of a man who was repeatedly punched in the face. So don't pay attention to the approval ratings that say 68% of Americans disapprove of the job this man is doing. I ask you this, does that not also logically mean that 68% approve of the job he's not doing? Think about it. I haven't.
I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound -- with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.
Now, there may be an energy crisis. This president has a very forward-thinking energy policy. Why do you think he's down on the ranch cutting that brush all the time? He's trying to create an alternative energy source. By 2008 we will have a mesquite-powered car!
And I just like the guy. He's a good Joe. Obviously loves his wife, calls her his better half. And polls show America agrees. She's a true lady and a wonderful woman. But I just have one beef, ma'am. I'm sorry, but this reading initiative. I'm sorry, I've never been a fan of books. I don't trust them. They're all fact, no heart. I mean, they're elitist, telling us what is or isn't true, or what did or didn't happen. Who's Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was built in 1914? If I want to say it was built in 1941, that's my right as an American! I'm with the president, let history decide what did or did not happen.
The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man's beliefs never will.
As excited as I am to be here with the president, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America, with the exception of Fox News. Fox News gives you both sides of every story: the president's side, and the vice president's side.
But the rest of you, what are you thinking, reporting on NSA wiretapping or secret prisons in eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason: they're super-depressing. And if that's your goal, well, misery accomplished.
Over the last five years you people were so good -- over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn't want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.
But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the Decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!
Because really, what incentive do these people have to answer your questions, after all? I mean, nothing satisfies you. Everybody asks for personnel changes. So the White House has personnel changes. Then you write, "Oh, they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg!
Now, it's not all bad guys out there. Some are heroes: Christopher Buckley, Jeff Sacks, Ken Burns, Bob Schieffer. They've all been on my show. By the way, Mr. President, thank you for agreeing to be on my show. I was just as shocked as everyone here is, I promise you. How's Tuesday for you? I've got Frank Rich, but we can bump him. And I mean bump him. I know a guy. Say the word.
See who we've got here tonight. General Moseley, Air Force Chief of Staff. General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They still support Rumsfeld. Right, you guys aren't retired yet, right? Right, they still support Rumsfeld.
Look, by the way, I've got a theory about how to handle these retired generals causing all this trouble: don't let them retire! Come on, we've got a stop-loss program; let's use it on these guys. I've seen Zinni and that crowd on Wolf Blitzer. If you're strong enough to go on one of those pundit shows, you can stand on a bank of computers and order men into battle. Come on.
Jesse Jackson is here, the Reverend. Haven't heard from the Reverend in a little while. I had him on the show. Very interesting and challenging interview. You can ask him anything, but he's going to say what he wants, at the pace that he wants. It's like boxing a glacier. Enjoy that metaphor, by the way, because your grandchildren will have no idea what a glacier is.
John McCain is here. John McCain, John McCain, what a maverick! Somebody find out what fork he used on his salad, because I guarantee you it wasn't a salad fork. This guy could have used a spoon! There's no predicting him. By the way, Senator McCain, it's so wonderful to see you coming back into the Republican fold. I have a summer house in South Carolina; look me up when you go to speak at Bob Jones University. So glad you've seen the light, sir.
Mayor Nagin! Mayor Nagin is here from New Orleans, the chocolate city! Yeah, give it up. Mayor Nagin, I'd like to welcome you to Washington, D.C., the chocolate city with a marshmallow center. And a graham cracker crust of corruption. It's a Mallomar, I guess is what I'm describing.
Joe Wilson is here, Joe Wilson right down here in front, the most famous husband since Desi Arnaz. And of course he brought along his lovely wife Valerie Plame. Oh, my god! Oh, what have I said? [looks horrified] I am sorry, Mr. President, I meant to say he brought along "Joe Wilson's wife. "Patrick Fitzgerald is not here tonight? OK. Dodged a bullet.
And, of course, we can't forget the man of the hour, new press secretary, Tony Snow. Secret Service name, "Snow Job." Toughest job. What a hero! Took the second toughest job in government, next to, of course, the ambassador to Iraq.
Got some big shoes to fill, Tony. Big shoes to fill. Scott McClellan could say nothing like nobody else.
May-7th-2006, 09:56 AM
Virtual standing ovation.
May-7th-2006, 10:45 AM
Colbert's speech is still on the web.
May-7th-2006, 10:57 AM
Colbert is a brilliant satirist, I don't know what they were expecting putting him on the podium next to Bush. He's got balls, thats for sure.
May-7th-2006, 11:11 AM
with a twist
Thank you so much for posting that. Tremendous stuff.
Originally Posted by Dr Dave
May-7th-2006, 11:20 AM
maybe I just don't follow politics closely enough, but I didn't think this was very funny (after seeing the clips on youtube last week). seriously ballsy, obviously, just not very funny. not a big Colbert fan, though, give me Jon Stewart any day.
the ABC camera stayed focused on Bush while the second part of this (untranscribed) played, he doesn't look too thrilled...
May-7th-2006, 11:28 AM
with a twist
Colbert filled a comedic void with this persona he's created. At first I didn't quite get with him, but after a few weeks I became a big fan. Not drop dead hilarious, but funny to me nonetheless.
Definitely took balls to stand up there for 20 minutes and pull that off.
May-7th-2006, 12:02 PM
Colbert on a good day is about as funny as anyone can be. The "Better Know a District" series is his best bit - it's usually hilarious, and I can't figure out how he gets away with it. At some point, people are just going to stop talking to him.
As for the Whitehouse talk, pretty much cobbled together from things he's said on the show. Not his best material.
But yeah, what the fuck were they thinking inviting him to do it? Have they never heard of him? Or just read some transcripts of shows and thought he was serious.
The first couple of months of the Report (pronounced re-pore) he ws better at staying in character. I've noticed that lately he's having a harder time keeping a straight face during some of it.
May-7th-2006, 05:07 PM
While it may be true that some of Steven Cs material was somewhat of a rehash from his show, I wholeheartedly salute the giant brass cojones it took to stand there...four feet from the beady eyed little f***ing prince.. and deliver it! Bravo!
And a big "shame on you" to the national media for NOT giving Colbert any space on his wonderful rant ( possibly because he righteously got on their case as well during the DUBBya screed ) They sure found time to show DUBBya and his imitater performing their little cornball self deprecating skit.
This performance ranks right up there with Jon Stewart chastising the CNN bunch last year ...
the arrangers best friend is his pencil .. the end with the rubber on it ( E.K.Ellington )
May-7th-2006, 07:15 PM
That was pretty much the performance he had to give...rehash old material, but do it in front of the president and the press. I enjoyed watching the clip tremendously, not so much for the comedic content, but just to hear the nervous laughter in the room.
May-7th-2006, 09:17 PM
I found Colbert quite checked in his speech. I am sure they redlined his intended speech. But the fact we got what we got made me happy enough. If he didn't redline his speech, then I think Colbert was quite gracious to his audience. It was worth watching that little red-faced weasil slouch and writhe.
May-8th-2006, 07:39 AM
I've never seen his who and don't watch tv but reading the transcript gave me the best laughs I've had in months. Brilliant.
May-8th-2006, 08:17 AM
I'm the face.
Not many get the opportunity to tell the POTUS what they really think about him. He took the bull by the balls and put it to him. Think what a presidential ass-licker like Bob Hope would've done. My hat's off to Colbert.
May-8th-2006, 08:18 AM
Sorry, no right wing plot to remove the performance from the web. It was business. Here's what happened:
May 8, 2006
A Comedian's Riff on Bush Prompts an E-Spat
By NOAM COHEN
Stephen Colbert's performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner nine days ago has already created a debate over politics, the press and humor. Now, a commercial rivalry has broken out over its rebroadcast.
On Wednesday, C-Span, the nonprofit network that first showed Mr. Colbert's speech, wrote letters to the video sites YouTube.com and ifilm.com, demanding that the clips of the speech be taken off their Web sites. The action was a first for C-Span, whose prime-time schedule tends to feature events like Congressional hearings on auto fuel-economy standards.
"We have had other hot — I hate to use that word — videos that generated a lot of buzz," said Rob Kennedy, executive vice president of C-Span, which was founded in 1979. "But this is the first time it has occurred since the advent of the video clipping sites."
After the clips of Mr. Colbert's performance were ordered taken down at YouTube — where 41 clips of the speech had been viewed a total of 2.7 million times in less than 48 hours, according to the site — there were rumblings on left-wing sites that someone was trying to silence a man who dared to speak truth to power.
But as became clear later in the week, this was a business decision, not a political one. Not only is the entire event available to be streamed at C-Span's Web site, c-span.org, but the network is selling DVD's of the event for $24.95, including speeches and a comedy routine by President Bush with a President Bush imitator.
And C-Span gave permission to Google Videos to carry the Colbert speech beginning Friday. The arrangement, which came with the stipulation that Google Videos provide the entire event and a clip of Mr. Bush's entire routine as well, is a one-time deal.
Peter Chane, senior product manager of Google Video, said "C-Span has some very, very unique content," adding that "online is really great distribution outlet."
But Julie Supan, senior director for marketing at YouTube, said officials there were stung by C-Span's behavior, because, she said, the site had helped fuel momentum for the Colbert clip.
"This was an exciting moment for them in a viral, random way," she said. "To take it down from one site and uploading on another, it is perplexing."
She also noted that YouTube had tried to make a similar deal for the clip that Google Video eventually made. "Google will stop at nothing to try to win over the community," she said.
May-8th-2006, 08:24 AM
Yeah but the page won't display.
May-8th-2006, 09:33 AM
May-8th-2006, 09:52 AM
I just watched it on the C-Span website.
I don't know what it is about Colbert, but I just don't find the guy to be funny. Never have.
And I've heard people talk about how "brave" he was to say what he said. Hell, Bush himself said as many "controversial" things along with his "clone" before Colbert took to the podium. And at least some of that skit was funny.
May-8th-2006, 10:22 AM
Of course, one would have to think there was truth to Colbert's roast to find it funny--which of course means I found it hilarious! For someone who has managed to somehow NOT think Bush is a colossal train wreck of a president, Colbert verbally torching Bush alive might not have been all that humorous.
May-8th-2006, 11:24 AM
Nah, some of the stuff was funny. I just don't find Colbert, or his delivery, to be funny.
He's kind of like Louie Anderson in my book. Has some funny material but butchers it.
May-8th-2006, 01:35 PM
Kills all threads!
I found it to be more "awesome" than "funny". But it was still pretty funny.
"The challenge of creative music has never been more important than in periods of profound unrest and realignment."--Anthony Braxton
May-8th-2006, 01:41 PM
I may have found it "awesome" if Bush hadn't been making similar fun of himself earlier in the event.
May-8th-2006, 02:27 PM
Kills all threads!
There's a difference between jokes about Bush being peevish and a bad speaker, and jokes about him being a fake and a bad president with failed policies enabled by a pathetic 4th estate.
Me, I find the latter more worthy.
"The challenge of creative music has never been more important than in periods of profound unrest and realignment."--Anthony Braxton
May-8th-2006, 03:12 PM
Absolutely. Though I agree with Scott. Colberts delivery is not so good. He needs some acting classes.
Originally Posted by Rob C
May-8th-2006, 03:19 PM
Originally Posted by Rob C
Bush was hosting the event. Right? Don't you think they knew full well what Colbert would be saying when he got up on stage?
Obviously Bush and his "people" didn't have a problem with it. That's why I guess I just don't find it so "awesome".
May-8th-2006, 03:45 PM
Originally Posted by Scott Dolan
No. It was the correspondents' dinner. Usually it's run like a Dean Martin roast. A journalist books the main speaker. The president is supposed to make light fun of himself and then be "roasted."
Colbert took that last to heart. He bombed in the room at the time; it was harsher than the event has had in the past.
May-8th-2006, 05:15 PM
The audience was a bit agast but what a moment for postarity!
Originally Posted by Chris D
May-8th-2006, 05:18 PM
And what a moment for a dictionary.
May-9th-2006, 06:14 AM
I don't care what Bush or his babysitters thought about it, I was just thankful for the comic relief and felt like sharing the transcript. It's been a rough winter and spring around here (still is) with few real laughs.
I'm not at all sure that Bush is smart enough to understand some of the funnier remarks in Colbert's piece. I'm pretty much convinced he's organically damaged to the point of at least mild retardation. That's a serious comment. It's not meant to be an insult. It's my genuine take on the guy. There's something the matter with his brain.
Some time back we had a friend over for dinner and conversation who's a judge and so, of course, intellectually wedded to the society's institutions and their moral validity and so forth. Vietnam officer, nuff combat, including Cambodia. He could hardly bring himself to say it out loud, but he looked at me and said very quietly so that I had to lean in to hear him: "The president is out of his mind."
You're right, I told him. At least the third in just our own time. (Nixon, Reagan, Bush jr)
Last edited by Gary Sisco; May-9th-2006 at 06:19 AM.
May-9th-2006, 08:49 AM
All Ur Base R Belong 2 Us
I think -- and this is not a joke -- that his alcoholisml gave him "wetbrain." He's a non-recovered alcoholic. A dry drunk. Narcissistic. And out of his mind.
Originally Posted by Gary Sisco
Nice to know he's in charge.
May-9th-2006, 09:15 AM
Yes, Republican presidents are all mildly retarded.
Bush is too stupid to have gotten half the jokes Colbert made.
Such an intellectual and insightful group of folks here.