The Poprah (c) Stephen Colbert

No one goes from the sublime to the ridiculous quite as quickly or gleefully as Stephen Colbert, and last night we saw a great example of that. After last week’s moving tribute to his writers, this week he’s accusing them of murder and telling the world what he claims Catholics have always known but just didn’t tell.

So, without further ado, parts one and two of yet another case of “Muuuurrrrderrr.”

“Tell Old Pharaoh”

Wow! Last night’s Report was simply amazing. I may yet post all of it, but for now, here’s the closing piece. Ambassador Andrew Young was Stephen’s guest, and the middle segment was extended footage of the 1969 nurses’ strike in Charleston, SC. He pulled together so many things past and present and gave us such an incredibly intimate look at the way the WGA strike is never out of sight while the show is back on the air. If you saw the episode, you know what I’m saying. If you didn’t, find a way to see the rerun today. Go to the Comedy Central site if you have to. And maybe some of today’s Pharaohs need to be reminded of the real flesh-and-blood people who are at the heart of this strike, people who deserve respect for the work that they do.

The old spiritual reminds me that the words of Scripture and the exodus experience provide an archetype that can be applied in many different situations of varying degrees of seriousness. And that’s the beauty of the kind of satire that Stephen does. He can shift back and forth between silliness and seriousness and make a lot of subtle points that would sound ridiculous if pushed to extremes.

Edited to add:I decided I might as well put up the other two videos. You really have to see the whole thing to appreciate the effect.

Here’s the interview with Ambassador Young.

Crossed metaphors

You have to know your audience when you’re setting up a metaphor. On Monday’s show, Stephen was talking to the governor of South Carolina about the confederate flag that flies outside the statehouse and whether it represents slavery.

The governor said, “It’s like the crucifix. It doesn’t have Jesus on it, but for alot of folks….” and Stephen jumped in with, “Mine does.” And the governor said, “It does?!!” Stephen laughed and said, “I’m a Catholic. Biggest difference. Except for the pope. And that Protestants are heretics.”

(Now technically the governor’s metaphor was off on the wrong foot anyway, because without the corpus it’s a cross, not a crucifix.)

Because of the ongoing WGA strike, I’m not going to link to the clip, but I believe it’s up at Comedy Central. This was the first bit in the new shows that tempted me. And judging by the site stats from earlier today, other people caught it as well.