Instead of playing it straight like his counterpart Jon Stewart, who despite being witty and sarcastic is pretty clear about meanings and intentions, Colbert is a parody of the spin casting right-wing anchors that appear on such networks as Fox News.
For example, he consistently blames all of his problems, personal or otherwise, on France and Barack Obama. He contstantly reminds everyone how great he is and he even gets to jog to meet his guests to the cheers of his audience, instead of letting his guests bask in the glow.
The charade is absurdly poignant, and despite his best efforts to make the act over the top, there are so many personalities that display such similar attributes legitimately that it has to be continually pointed out that he is faking it, and many who follow the reporters that he parodies are consistently confused.
This fact is utterly amazing. Simply listening to the 'between the lines' message in his commentary illustrates that he is attempting to point out the absurdity with his own absurdity, but the fact that some see it as straight talk simply points out his necessity even further. Because of this, sometimes he really has to take it over the top to drive the point home.
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After watching something like this, it is amazing that anyone could take him 100% seriously.
Below is Colbert's appearance on 'The O'Reilly Factor' where Bill O'Reilly proudly claims that Colbert owes everything to him. No one can deny this claim and Stephen does no such thing.
Perhaps most of us should be thankful that we will never understand such deep rooted narcissism.