Over my lifetime, they’re the ones who invented rock n’ roll, protested unjust wars, challenged the hypocrisy of political and religious institutions, questioned authority and demanded equality for all.
Their parents looked on, clucking their tongues and longing for the day when kids respected their elders’ self-proclaimed infallibility.
So it was with great amusement I watched media conservatives freak out after CBS announced Stephen Colbert would replace David Letterman on the “Late Show” in 2015.
Colbert, who has hosted Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” since 2005, is one of the most popular entertainers on television.
Mercilessly skewering Fox News’ insufferably egotistical Bill O’Reilly, Colbert plays a pompous right wing know-it-all hilariously turning his acid wit on conservative fantasies and failings.
“If you’re a longtime viewer of this show,” observed Colbert, “you know Bill O’Reilly and I have a mutual appreciation society — I admire Bill and so does he.”
“CBS has just declared war on the heartland of America!” howled frequent Colbert target Rush Limbaugh in protest. “This hire is a redefinition of what is funny.”
That Limbaugh and his 40-plus conservative ditto heads don’t get Colbert’s shtick is precisely why Generation X-ers and Millennials flock to Comedy Central at 11:30 p.m. and why CBS signed him for the “Late Show.”
That’s the audience big spending advertisers salivate over.
O’Reilly’s show is supported by funeral insurers, denture adhesives, and reverse mortgage lenders. “The Colbert Report” attracts Dos Equis, Audi and American Express.
Bill-O’s viewers are dying a slow death, while Colbert’s are just hitting their stride.
O’Reilly went on an anti-Colbert rampage last week, no doubt jealous he was passed over for the “Late Show” gig, as if anyone in his audience could stay up past nine o’clock to watch this vainglorious humbug.
“Recently Colbert mocked me on the subject of inequality,” whined O’Reilly. “He is the darling of the far left Internet, which rhapsodizes over him.”
“Bill’s right!” responded Colbert. “For some reason the far left Internet loves me. I mean, I’m in all the hash tags (with this, he displayed a graphic that said #CancelColbert) … if I thought for one second something I said hurt (O’Reilly’s) feelings, then I too am hurt and to be honest, a little turned on.”
“Ah, but Mr. Colbert is a deceiver,” droned O’Reilly. “I’m not against equality … I oppose the government trying to impose equality because every human being is different.”
“Bill, you’ve got me wrong,” countered Colbert. “I agree with every word you’re saying, even if those words don’t agree with each other.”
“Colbert does damage because he gives cover to powerful people who are selling Americans a big lie,” pontificated Bill-o.
The big lie, according to O’Reilly, is that America’s economic system is rigged, never mind the overwhelming evidence that it is: “47 percent,” voter suppression, lavish tax breaks for billionaires, millionaires (like O’Reilly) and corporations, deep cuts in public education and social services and the GOP’s refusal to raise the minimum wage.
Colbert isn’t the only one cashing in on the 18-to-34 demographics’ taste for ironically satirizing self-important blowhards like O’Reilly, Limbaugh, et al.
Sid Kibbitz is the sleazy Hollywood agent featured in Garry Trudeau’s “Doonesbury” comic strip. In a recent series, Sid gets a phone call from Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus, who wants him to line up a Conservative Celebrity Task Force that can help the GOP attract younger voters.
Sid suggests aging rocker Ted Nugent, elderly action movie star Chuck Norris, and has-been comic Dennis Miller.
Who else is on the conservative celebrity A-list? asks Priebus.
That is the A-list, says Sid, adding, “The cold truth is Hollywood doesn’t much relate to the GOP demo.”
“What demo is that?”
“Angry old white guys.”
Kevin Foley is an author, writer and public relations executive who lives in Kennesaw.