The affects of political comedy like Colbert Report, Daily show

By Zachary Brictson

The popularity and recent noise over Comedy Central’s satirical news hosts, John Stewart and Stephen Colbert, raises questions over how much influence the two men and their shows have.

Airing four times a week, ‘The Daily Show’ and ‘The Colbert Report’ cover news about domestic affairs, world events and politics while poking fun at issues in the process.

Stewart, whose show runs right before Colbert’s, points out contradictions in the news, covers issues with his own mock news team and interviews a variety of guests.

Colbert also covers the news and interviews guests, but garners laughs with his over-the-top character and his extreme take on issues.

With the shows’ continuously high ratings and Stewart and Colbert’s recent rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., students weighed in on the comedic duo’s relevance to today’s society.

“Real news doesn’t always talk about stuff I care about,” said Ryan Hogan, a junior photography major.

While Hogan finds Colbert funnier, he said Stewart’s show is more informative and practical.

Hogan said he thinks both men are pretty influential, especially to the college age group.

“Most of what I hear politically is from The Daily Show,” he said.

Rebecca Hannagan, an assistant politcal science professor, said the shows are valid based on their context and audience.

Hannagan said the target audience of the shows are people already interested in politics and can appreciate the humor. For this reason, she said she does not find the two hosts’ influence to be problematic.

Regarding Stewart and Colbert’s ‘Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear,’ Hannagan said it was a “pretty interesting, if not effective way to show people what the mainstream media is not doing.”

She said she is personally a bigger fan of Colbert.

“He has satire nailed down,” she said. “It’s perfect.”

Grant Shcrepple , a junior video game design major from DePaul University, said he also prefers Colbert.

“I enjoy Colbert’s more erratic humor,” Schrepple said. “John Stewart is a little pretentious.”

Schrepple said that as a conservative, he finds Colbert’s narcissistic, right-wing character to be very amusing.

While Schrepple doesn’t think people should get all their views from the two shows, he said that both men occasionally make good points.

“They are both pretty ballsy, like when Stewart gets serious or that time when Colbert testified before congress,” he said.

Christopher Pantel, a junior accountancy major, said he thinks people around his age identify more with humor, and that “the satire helps us realize things.”

“They are funny, but they still make points in their shows,” Pantel said. “They are definitely saying something.”