Colbert: The New Bob Hope

Iraq stint brings back predecessor's 'easy-going' style
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 12, 2009 7:36 AM CDT
In this photo taken Sunday, June 7, 2009, released by the U.S. military, comedian Stephen Colbert is shown taping the first of four shows in front of U.S. soldiers at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq.    (AP Photo/Steve Manuel, HO)
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(Newser) – Taping his show in Iraq this week, Stephen Colbert channeled Bob Hope in an "unexpectedly charming" series of shows, writes Alessandra Stanley in the New York Times. Colbert largely stayed in ultra-right character, though he let it slip in places. His interviews were “pleasant, not barbed,” and his standup was “as easygoing and good-natured as many a Bob Hope performance.”

One big difference between the two comics: their intended—and actual—audiences. While Hope was focused on entertaining troops cut off from the outside world, Colbert wanted to remind viewers that there are still 130,000 US troops in Iraq. And while Hope grabbed 60% of the TV audience with Vietnam shows, Colbert has a small audience, but his “cachet” with viewers “who despise conventional politics” was enough to win participation from presidents past and present.
(Read more Stephen Colbert stories.)