Stephen Colbert Bashed by Papa Bear

ColbertStephen Colbert often refers to Bill O’Reilly as Papa Bear on The Colbert Report. Not surprisingly, the conservative pundit is no fan of his faux protégé. Papa Bear has been bashing  Stephen Colbert this week in response to the comedian’s selection as the new host of The Late Show to replace David Letterman. Speaking as a guest on The View, O’Reilly stated that Colbert is a tool of the left and that the 40 percent of Americans who identify themselves as conservatives will likely avoid the new Late Show host.

Bill O’Reilly models himself as a no nonsense guy. The O’Reilly Factor is a mainstay of Fox News and O’Reilly is a vocal critic of those he sees as threats to continued freedom in America. Agree with him or not, O’Reilly says what he thinks and takes a stand. In this instance, he does not care for a smarty pants comedian. The Colbert Report is generally recognized as a takeoff on O’Reilly’s show. Both Colbert and Jon Stewart make fun of Fox News; however, the comedic slant is often different. Stewart tends to make sport of hypocrisy in which a pundit or politician bashes the other guys while doing the same thing himself. While his targets are more frequently on the left, as pointed out by O’Reilly, Jon Stewart will also tweak Democrats when they fail to walk their talk.

Colbert is less of an equal opportunity mocker. He is less likely to push on left leaning politicians than Stewart. Papa Bear bashes Colbert because he spanks Republicans at a far greater rate than even Stewart. To some degree, O’Reilly misses the point of Colbert’s show. Colbert always remains in character and his character is so conservative he makes Justice Clarence Thomas look liberal. The strident conservatism of Colbert’s character is his comedic shtick. The character does not really allow him to be an equal opportunity mocker.

The real question is whether the master faux conservative mocker can be funny when he is playing himself. Most comedians have a set persona they use for performances. They typically use the same sort of standup performance persona throughout their career. Colbert will have to show he is entertaining without his familiar faux conservative character. He will also have to win over the 40 percent referred to by O’Reilly. Reaching older viewers in general will be virgin territory for the comedian. The Report plays to a young audience and the leaders of CBS no doubt viewed Colbert’s existing audience as a positive in his selection to take over for David Letterman. Each of the network late night shows has “gone younger” with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien. Further, Letterman was likely not a landing spot for older conservatives anyway.

While Stephen Colbert has been bashed by Papa Bear this week, he certainly has not been intimidated. He made fun of O’Reilly’s logic when the straight talker criticized the President’s quest for more income equality. Hopefully, the two TV show hosts can push on each other for a long time to come for our entertainment.

By William Costolo


The Wrap

LA Times

Huffington Post

4 Responses to "Stephen Colbert Bashed by Papa Bear"

  1. Eric Ekstrand   April 20, 2014 at 1:27 am

    “…O’Reilly misses the point of Colbert’s show…”. O’Reilly misses the point of everything. He is a big ego-for-nothing waste of oxygen. He proves night after night you don’t have to be smart to get rich. You just have to be smarter than the morons who watch your show and think they’re getting accurate information.

  2. Freddie   April 19, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    “O’Reilly stated that Colbert is a tool of the left and that the 40 percent of Americans who identify themselves as conservatives [a clear minority, thank goodness] will likely avoid the new Late Show host.” [Okay, we can live with that but it’s too bad. If they watched Colbert maybe they could learn to laugh themselves. After all, we laugh at them!] And “O’Reilly misses the point of Colbert’s show.” [Ya think?]

  3. Richard   April 19, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    O’Reilly is a real joke. He intimidates people, he tries to put words in other peoples mouths. He is actually a puppet for fox news, another joke. I hope Colbert mops up the floor with you.

  4. Jay in Austin   April 19, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Anyone being criticized by O’Reilly has gotta be intelligent, informed, and capable of drawing both wise and useful opinions … and voting accordingly. Besides, what, exactly, is senor O’Reilly’s I.Q.? Minus twelve hundred? Not much of a contest here ….

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