Stephen Colbert’s The Colbert Report is a spin-off of and counterpart to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Like its predecessor, this show critiques politics and the media. It satirizes personality-driven political pundit programs, particularly Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor.
Host Bill O’Reilly a.k.a “Papa Bear” known for having a conservative bias and a short fuse was the main influence for the creation of The Colbert Report. The Stephen Colbert character and The Colbert Report are generally parodies of Bill O’Reilly and The O’Reilly Factor. It pokes fun at both O’Reilly’s personality, and his program segments in a hysterical manner.
The Colbert Report features a commentary segment called “The Word” which is similar to O’Reilly’s “Talking Points Memo”. Like the Memo, The Word features the commentator asserting a political point of view with a text screen graphic next to him. However, while O’Reilly’s text serves to emphasize his points, Colbert’s text generally serves as an ironic counterpoint to his character’s position. Other segments juxtaposed with The O’Reilly Factor are The Colbert Report’s Inbox compared to O’Reilly’s “Factor Mail”, Stephen Colbert’s Balls for Kidz, which, unlike The Factor’s “Children at Risk”, tends to portray messages and lessons typically considered unsuitable for children. And That’s The Craziest F#?king Thing I’ve Ever Heard, is comparable to O’Reilly’s “The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day”. Additionally, Colbert parodies O’Reilly’s references to his program as the “no spin zone” by inviting viewers of his show to “take a spin in the no fact zone.”
In a historic moment, Stephen Colbert was a guest on The O’Reilly Factor, in January of 2007. Colbert was in full right wing, well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status-idiot-mode and kept O’Reilly on the ropes while getting in a few good jabs – like ripping on Bill’s ancient audience. O’Reilly then refers to Daily Show viewers as “stoned slackers,” a myth put to an end, when MSNBC found that Daily Show viewers are actually more educated than those who watch The Factor.
During the interview, when referencing the similarities of their shows, O’Reilly asked Colbert, “Don’t you owe me an enormous amount of money?” Colbert did not flinch, as usual, and said, “Well, if I were imitating you, Bill, I would, but there’s a difference between imitation and emulation.”
It is not surprising how popular The Colbert Report has gotten since its debut in 2005. It is one of Comedy Central’s highest-rated series,winning both an Emmy and a Peabody award. This 30-minute segment is sure to put a smile on your face while informing you on important current issues simultaneously.
Here are two clips where Colbert and O’Reilly are discussing the same issue: Christmas. I’ll leave it for you to decide which one you’d rather watch.
Click here to see Colbert’s version.