The 2009 Creativity 50: Stephen Colbert

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Stephen Colbert
Stephen Colbert
If Stephen Colbert (the character) was a plot conceived by Stephen Colbert (the actor) to overthrow the Republican Party via satire and mockery, 2008 was the year the plot succeeded.

Although Colbert (the character and the actor) had been a part of The Daily Show since the Clinton (and Kilborn) administration, it wasn't until Bush's second term that The Colbert Report took to the airwaves. The following year, Colbert used his smug persona to smuggle WMD grade jabs into the now legendary 2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. Along the way, he popularized Merriam-Webster's 2006 "Word of the Year"—"truthiness"—and launched (but later abandoned) a bid for the presidency. And in 2008, the student surpassed the master, as The Colbert Report won its first Emmy for writing, an award The Daily Show had won four out of the previous five years.

What the post-Bush era holds for Colbert (character and actor) remains to be seen, since it seems like the former (at least) was particularly well-suited to mocking the ex-president. As Colbert explained his character to an interviewer in 2003, "I'm essentially a very high status character, but my weakness is that I'm stupid," further explaining that his persona is "a fool who has spent a lot of his life playing not the fool."

Sound like anyone we know?

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