Studying Stephen Colbert: Nation, who is the most important humorist of the day?

Tracy Wuster

According to the opinion piece–Truthinessology: The Stephen Colbert effect becomes an obsession in academia–in a recent Washington Post, academics love them some Stephen Colbert.  So much so, that we write about him.  Now, in the opinion of this author, writing in the voice of Colbert’s character, this is silly.  He writes:

Stephen Colbert report truthiness

…ever since Colbert’s show, “The Colbert Report,” began airing on Comedy Central in 2005, these ivory-tower eggheads have been devoting themselves to studying all things Colbertian. They’ve sliced and diced his comic stylings more ways than a Ginsu knife. Every academic discipline — well, among the liberal arts, at least — seems to want a piece of him.

And while the piece starts as a satire of the study of satire, it segues into a discussion of the reasons Colbert is a good person to study in our current political moment.  In a way, I wish the article had continued its conceit of being written in Colbert’s voice–exploring the liberal arts and questioning the serious study of the funny.  In other words, I would like to hear what Stephen Colbert thinks of the study of Stephen Colbert. [If you want to do an interview, Mr. Colbert, contact me.]Stephen Colbert report america

But the piece also got me thinking about which current comedians/humorists academics are interested in beyond their entertainment value for what they might say about our society and the role of humor in it.  Based on the relatively small sample of our posts on this page, the most significant–academically speaking–living humorists are listed in the poll below.  Please vote.  Your vote won’t mean anything.  Superpac money will allow you to vote multiple times.

If you chose “other” and wrote in a name, please consider writing a post for us on that person.

Jon Steward daily show

Hal Holbrook Mark Twain

margaret cho

louis ck


2 responses

  1. […] provided a bounty of material for comedians and satirists to play with. As we have discussed before on this site, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert rank as two of the most important humorists of our time. Clearly […]

  2. […] Studying Stephen Colbert: Nation, who is the most important humorist of the day? by Tracy Wuster […]

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