Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

The Colbert Report, Jan. 22 episode

Conan O'Brien, David Letterman and Craig Ferguson all did yeoman's work keeping the lights on while their writers were on strike. But the most brilliant bit of strike-era late-night was this Colbert episode, which was really an essay in late-night-comedy form. Colbert brought out civil-rights legend Andrew Young to discuss the lessons of a 1969 strike by black hospital workers, which was resolved in negotiations between Young and — wait for it — Colbert's father, a medical-university administrator. In one stroke, Colbert rolled up African American history, a tribute to his striking writers, a tribute to his own father (who died in a plane crash when Colbert was a boy) and his own comic self-aggrandizement — after which he joined Young, author Malcolm Gladwell and the Harlem Gospel Choir in singing "Let My People Go." An only-on-Colbert moment of surreal solidarity.
(Comedy Central)