Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

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Much ado about nothing

Wow: Bill O’Reilly and Stephen Colbert, together on the Colbert Report.

Who would have thought that would be so lame?

Now, Fox News’s The O’Reilly Factor was much spicier!

Host Bill O’Reilly introduced the segment by saying: “… In the Culture War segment tonight,  The Colbert Report, a very sucessful show on Comedy Central, that owes everything to me.”

The first words out of Colbert’s mouth: “This is an amazing honor. I want you to know that I spend so much time in the world that is spinning all the time, that to be in the No Spin Zone actually gives me vertigo.”

An excerpt from the Fox News transcript:

O’REILLY: … Now who watches you? What’s your audience? Do you do research? Do you know who…

COLBERT: Well, Bill, that’s one of the reasons I want to do my show. OK? I emulate you.


COLBERT: And I want to bring your message of love and peace, which I understand that is your message.

O’REILLY: It is.

COLBERT: I want to bring the message of love and peace to a younger audience. People in their 60s, people in their 50s, people who don’t watch your show.

O’REILLY: OK, so people in the 50s and 60s, too young for “The Factor” are watching your show.


O’REILLY: Because we did a study of Jon Stewart’s show.

COLBERT: Yes. That guy?

O’REILLY: And it was stoned slackers that were watching his show.

COLBERT: Absolutely. You have to be high to understand Jon Stewart (laughter from The O’Reilly Factor studio crew). That guy is pinker than an Indian River grapefruit.

You can see the video here.

From an AP story on of O’Reilly on Colbert. Here’s the Comedy Central video:

Once inside Colbert’s studio — decorated for the occasion with a large “Mission Accomplished” banner and a portrait of O’Reilly placed fireside — O’Reilly seemed to be regretting the decision.

“This was a huge mistake, me coming on here,” he muttered. …

For the first time, Colbert began the show’s interview segment seated, allowing O’Reilly to enter to applause. Well, mostly applause. O’Reilly blamed a handful of boos on “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, joking he was in the audience. …

O’Reilly also managed one dig of NBC, which he has recently criticized as a liberal-leaning network. When asked what is “destroying America” more — NBC, activist judges, illegal immigration or gay marriage — O’Reilly didn’t hesitate in answering NBC.

But not all of Colbert’s expectations were met. When he prompted O’Reilly to say who would win in a fight between him and his Fox News colleague Sean Hannity, O’Reilly demurred — and nearly upset the delicate balance of parody and reality.

“Hannity would kick my butt,” said O’Reilly.

“I’m effete. I’m not a tough guy.”

“This is all an act.”

Colbert retorted as though his mirror-image of O’Reilly had been broken.

“If you’re an act, then what am I?”

BTW, Alessandra Stanley of the NYT picked up on Colbert’s “sexual predator” reference:

Mr. Colbert, in character as a media-elite-hating archconservative, dismissed Mr. Stewart as a “sexual predator.” He paused for a beat, then said to his guest, “You have no idea what that’s like.” It could have been an innocuous joke, of course, but it sounded like an oblique reference to the sexual harassment suit that a former producer on “The O’Reilly Factor” filed against her boss in 2004 and settled out of court.

Here’s a 2004 post related to that.

Of the two, I’d say O’Reilly was the more nervous as a guest — and the least funny.

Stanley also had this to say:

His lines weren’t very funny, but Mr. O’Reilly remained good-humored throughout, and that was perhaps the real point.

The Fox News commentator is famously thin-skinned and bellicose. Last year, his feud with his would-be rival at MSNBC, Keith Olbermann, became so heated that it drove up the ratings of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.” (Mr. Olbermann frequently took on Mr. O’Reilly in the “Worst Person in the World” segment of his show.) Mr. O’Reilly has also had well-publicized dust-ups with Mr. Stewart, and other personalities he regards as part of the liberal media elite.

After Mr. Colbert’s appearance, Mr. O’Reilly asked Fox News contributors to explain the success of satirical shows like Mr. Colbert’s. Jane Hall, a media expert, assured the host that he was “generous to fraternize with the enemies of the culture war and have him on.”

But his time with Mr. Colbert provided Mr. O’Reilly with a chance to show that he has a sense of humor. Mostly, he proved he could take a punch.

Fri, January 19 2007 » Main Page, Media