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Stephen Colbert: Fair-weather friend?

U.S. Speed skating’s patron was AWOL for Canada’s big day.


 

American funnyman Stephen Colbert has been creating a buzz at the Games.

Thousands turned out in a muddy field near Vancouver’s Science World (temporarily serving as the Sochi 2014 pavilion) this morning and yesterday, to witness tapings of his popular Colbert Report TV show.

And in keeping with his jingoistic persona, the jokes were mostly at the host country’s expense. Under bright sunny skies on a 10-degree morning, he riffed from a stage piled high with fake snow, a giant stuffed moose and a totem pole. “It’s 11:30 at night and the sun’s still shining — and they wonder why there’s no snow here,” he began.

Later at the Richmond Oval, Colbert showed up to cheer on U.S. favourite, and the runaway winner of the men’s 1000m, Shani Davis. Sitting in seats reserved for NBC (Colbert is accredited to do “color” commentary for them) and wearing a red team fleece, with “Assistant Sports Psychologist” emblazoned across the back, he was fairly reserved. (Although he did tape a segment for the show before things got underway, featuring him giving faux encouragement to his U.S. charges, and using one of their skates to cut a sandwich.) Still, when Davis did his victory lap, Colbert did clasp his own hands in triumph.

He does deserves a share. When the U.S. Speed Skating team’s major cash-sponsor, Dutch bank DSB went belly-up last fall, Colbert stepped in and launched a campaign that raised close to US $350,000 for the team.

He of course has been paid back. His “feud” with Davis (real or invented) was comedy gold. And harnessing the power of the Olympics has hardly hurt his ratings and profile.

In interviews Colbert, who was born in D.C., but grew up in South Carolina, claims that he is a speed skating fan from way back, first falling in love with the sport watching the great Eric Heiden win five individual golds in Lake Placid in 1980.

But is that as phony as his right-wing faux-Fox pundit schtick?

The comedian doesn’t leave town until tomorrow. But he was nowhere in sight at the Oval today as Canada’s Christine Nesbitt took the gold.

Maybe he only turns out when the Americans have a prohibitive favourite racing.


 

Stephen Colbert: Fair-weather friend?

  1. Or maybe he had work to do. He does have a week of segments to film. This isn't a vacation for him

  2. "But he was nowhere in sight at the Oval today as Canada's Christine Nesbitt took the gold."

    Uh yeah. It wasn't like Canada as a nation had been building up to Nesbitt's single performance on that one day (not to malign Nesbitt's gold, which was awesome). Too bad you guys have to make politics out of the accomplishments of Canadian athletes. Perhaps you're angry that Colbert mocks conservative columnists and pundits and don't have an effective way to get back at him?

  3. I think Colbert is great, and his continuous jabs at Canada are obviously tongue-in-cheek. I don't know why anyone would expect him to stick around to watch races that didn't feature any prominent Amercians.

  4. Colbert has probably gone to take a swim at Wreck Beach–au naturel.

  5. Incidentally, my girlfriend once used Colbert to filter prospective suitors. She had been dating online, and one of her questions to interested gentlemen was, "Is Stephen Colbert a Republican, or Democrat?" She was fairly proud of the question, and eschewed those who said he was a Republican.

    I pointed out to her that the question did not explicitly ask whether he were one or the other ostensibly or in secret, and could easily have been perceived as a question testing one's media awareness.

    Anyhow, it's a funny thing, I think.

    -BothEyes in Los Angeles

  6. Colbert was nowhere on site because he was with Sarah Palin just next door planning the next tea party coup. Colbert is great . Some dim witted GOP affectionados " 99 percent of GOP " really believe he is a champion of their xenophobic fundamentalist crusade. Go Colbert

  7. … So, we'd expect Rick Mercer to fawn over Americans?

  8. Stuck for an angle much?

  9. Colbert is the most intelligent funny man out there. He pretends to be on one side when he is actually on the other. His satire is unmatched. John Stewart is an idiot. Colbert actually has millions of fans who think he agrees with them, when he actually thinks they are dumber than dirt. Best "fake" newsman currently active.

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