Today we're taking a short break from the MediaWorks Guide to Summer TV (yesterday's installment, in case you missed it: 'Boston Legal' + 'Good Will Hunting' = USA Network's Big New Drama Bet). Instead, we're sharing one of our favorite things on TV this week: Stephen Colbert's hilarious takedown of corporate-sponsored summer indie-rock festivals -- by way of introducing his own summer music festival, StePhest Colbchella '011: Rock You Like a Thirst-Icane, brought to you by Dr Pepper.
Throughout the week, the StePhest Colbchella segment of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" featured performances by Florence and the Machine, Bon Iver and Talib Kweli, plus a multi-part interview with Jack "The White Stripes" White, who helped to produce Colbert's latest novelty single "Charlene II (I'm Over You)." (White introduced Colbert's performance of the song on the show last night; it's available on iTunes and 7" vinyl.)
In the video below (starting at the 1:10 mark), Colbert complains about the summer's insufferable "half-naked, patchouli-soaked, white-guy-dreadlock festivals, like Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Coachella, Salmonella." (After a pause for laughter: "There are never enough Porta-Potties at Salmonella Fest.") He then says that in "fighting back" with his own summer-concert series, he realized that he needed to get the kind of "street cred" that the established festivals have. So he takes a cue from them:
Kids won't show up unless it's gritty, unless it's real, unless it has authenticity. And there's only one way to get that : Corporate sponsorship! [wild audience applause] Woooooooooo! Crank up the cross-platform market pen-e-tra-tion!
Enjoy the montage of mainstream-marketer logos that have been slapped all over these "indie" festivals -- and be sure to play through to Colbert's analysis of the "sick lineup" of sponsors at Bonnaroo this year, including State Farm, Ford, Miller Lite and Wheat Thins: "That's what it's all about, baby! It's all about driving your well-insured minivan to have a diet lager with a tasty snack that 's also a good source of fiber. Rock and roll."
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.