Stephen Colbert in the Zeitgeist – December 31, 2010

zeitgeist2Hey there, Zoners! Remember me? I’ve been somewhat MIA the past few weeks as real life caught up with me, wrestled me to the ground, and basically kicked the snot out of me, but I’m back with a quick round-up of some news items to entertain us as we contemplate our resolutions for 2011 and how soon we’ll break them. I’ll have a year-end round-up of “best of the year” zeitgeist items to post later this weekend, but for now break out your favorite celebratory beverage and enjoy the final zeitgeist of 2010!

Jake Tapper

  • Mediabistro’s TVNewser column has some great comments from Jake Tapper on his most recent appearance on the Report: “It’s always a challenge to go on comedy shows… but my goal is never to be funny — it’s to get out alive. I’ve learned the following tricks: try to answer the questions as if it were a news interview, smile, and sit up straight… I’ve known Stephen for six years — we bumped into each other while covering the Iowa caucus and then again in South Carolina before that state’s primary. So I think we have something of a friendship and a rapport. Hopefully.” And I think this helps to explain why Tapper always looks like he’s struggling to keep a straight face when Stephen interviews him.

The Office

  • E! Online has a bit of spoiler info on who might replace Steve Carell on The Office, but this one comes under the heading of “wishful thinking.” B.J. Novak thinks Stephen Colbert would be a great candidate to replace Carell, but there’s that little matter of another show that he tapes four nights a week on the other side of the country. So… nice thought, but not happening.

But did he befriend them repeatedly?

  • If you missed it back on Dec. 13th, Conan O’Brien was interviewed on Larry King Live, where he told Larry, “I’m friendly with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and they were… nice enough to come and help me when I did the tour. They came onstage at Radio City and they were absolutely hilarious, brought the house down.” While I definitely snickered at the thought of Stephen, Jon, and Conan being “friendly,” it was also a reminder of one of this year’s highlights for me, so it’s a good excuse to watch the hilariousness of the Late Night Dance-Off at Radio City one more time.

Late night science

  • At, Dr. Michio Kaku, who appeared on the Report back in July and more recently showed up on Conan, has a blog post up wherein he muses on the two comedians’ motives for bringing him on their shows. It’s an interesting, though brief, discussion of the state of science education in the U.S. and how he sees guys like Stephen and Conan trying to do what they can to promote science education.

The war on Christmas… in space!

  • NPR’s science blog recently pondered how the possibility of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe could co-exist with the message of Christmas. Prominently mentioned in the article is Stephen’s interview with Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno from a little more than a year ago. It was a brilliant interview worth revisiting for the questions it raises about how the discovery of extraterrestrial life, should it ever happen, might impact our beliefs.


  • A question about a recent interview on the Report made it into the trivia game QRANK: “In a recent interview on ‘The Colbert Report,’ who or what did legendary surfer Laird Hamilton say are the ‘most dangerous thing in the ocean’?” (If you don’t remember, you can watch the video again and marvel at the sight of Laird Hamilton wearing flip-flops on a cold day in December in NYC.)

(h/t DB, Katt, wren, and DB’s hubby for the QRANK question)


  1. DogGoneGirl says:

    Great Zeitgeist heist, Ann G and welcome back … hope 2011 treats you well!

  2. lockhart43 says:

    “I’ve learned the following tricks: try to answer the questions as if it were a news interview, smile, and sit up straight… I’ve known Stephen for six years…So I think we have something of a friendship and a rapport. Hopefully.”

    And that is why I always enjoy seeing Tapper on the show. I figured he and Stephen must have known each other for a few years at least, it’s neat to hear they met when Stephen was a TDS correspondent. And Tapper’s comment about smiling and sitting up straight made me laugh. :)

    Great to have you back Ann!

  3. Karenatasha says:

    Thanks for the great zeitgeist, Ann!

    I think Jake Tapper is right about answering the questions seriously and not trying to be funny. Most people just can’t outdo a professional comedian–they’re funnier than we are. THAT’S why they’re pros and we’re not! Only a very few have come on and succeded.

    And *sigh*… thank you for the dance off. But the others shouldn’t even try to equal Stephen in dancing; as he told Jon: “You don’t want to go hip to hip with me!” No, indeedy.


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