COMMENTARY | Stephen Colbert has stumbled into a common mistake that edgy comedians make by crossing that edge into offensiveness. For some, insulting Asian Americans would be a career killer. But Colbert, being a liberal, is likely safe.
According to AFP Colbert was pointing fingers at someone else when he decided to be racist.
“Colbert, who is liberal but parodies a blustery conservative on his late night talk show, took aim at the Washington Redskins football team whose name is considered offensive by many Native Americans.
“Colbert mocked team owner Dan Snyder who has announced a fund to support Native Americans while rejecting calls to change the name.
“On Twitter and on his ‘Colbert Report’ show on the Comedy Central network, Colbert said: ‘I am willing to show the Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.'”
The resulting outrage and consternation was as predictable as it was tedious. There are calls for Colbert to apologize and his show to be cancelled and so on. Colbert is cheekily trying to say that it is not him who made the racist comment but rather his persona.
He will not suffer lasting harm, any more than Bill Maher did when he obscened Sarah Palin. The rules are different for liberals. On the other hand if Colbert’s right wing caricature is responsible for committing racism perhaps he should be taken off the air while Colbert the man is forced to come up with another character to play. My suggestion is that he play himself, an exaggerated, entitlement addled lefty who dispenses madness to his slacker, stoner audience that is take for wisdom. To be sure Jon Stewart already has that job, but there seems to be a market for it. Colbert should practice rolling his eyes and mugging for the camera.
Maybe, one of these days, the other Colbert can be allowed back on the air once he has spent some time thinking about what he did.