When Celebrities Rule the World

It might be unnerving to find that these men hold a great amount of political power. Four times a week, for the majority of a year, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert deliver a powerful comedic satire of American politics. However, these two comedians have power that results in actual change, as evidenced by the “Colbert Bump”.

The “Colbert Bump” is how Colbert officially endorses people and products on his show, and while he presents this action with a great deal of comedic arrogance, according to NBC it actually works. However, it is a little alarming to think that a television show that serves to make fun of anything and everything has such control over our political opinions, but I believe that we support these men because they don’t pull any punches. Robert De Neufville asserts that we should make fun of politicians, because in this way we reveal their inconsistencies.

Still, part of what gives Stewart and Colbert power is that they are satirists. When politicians use humor to their own advantage, it can be a powerful tool. However, when Stewart and Colbert use humor, they speak to the “nation”, but they don’t speak as leaders, they speak as our companions. They humble assert “Nation, this happened today” and then they show a clip or a soundbite. When politicians speak, they usually do so from behind a podium, with an air of gravitas that we can’t seem to shake. In a world of politically charged television, “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” are the most important to understand.

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