Since the Daily Show and the Colbert Report have been off the air owing to the writer’s strike, our television has sat black-screened and unwatched. There was a particularly dark bought of HGTV watching somewhere in there resulting in what one of my colleagues referred to as “a wicked TV hangover,” but I have learned that I am more or less a single-show television watcher.
Unfortunately for the cause of the writers strike, but thankfully for myself and for the nation Messrs. Stewart and Colbert are back. An election season is packed full of too much balderdash to do without them.
Apparently they’re back under some mysterious duress. As amends for knuckling under, both of last night’s shows were devoted to a thumb in the eye of their paymasters. They even got a dig in when conceding their return to air back in December (de Moraes, Lisa, “Stewart and Colbert Won’t Stay Out in the Cold,” The Washington Post, 21 December 2007, p. C7):
“We would like to return to work with our writers. If we cannot, we would like to express our ambivalence, but without our writers we are unable to express something as nuanced as ambivalence,” the two men said in a joint statement.
It’s always been a bit of a mystery how much the success of those shows are the genius of Messrs. Stewart and Colbert and how much they relied upon their staffs. Last night was bad news for the writers: Stewart and Colbert are good enough to pull it off on their own.