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Case Number 12528

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The Best Of The Colbert Report

Comedy Central // 2005 // 175 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Adam Arseneau (Retired) // December 5th, 2007

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All Rise...

Like facts, Judge Adam Arseneau has a well-known liberal bias.

The Charge

He reports. He decides.

Opening Statement

Stephen Colbert is the most American man ever in the history of his great nation. He personifies all values that are good and just, opposes all things bears and technological, and values loyalty to his commander-in-chief, even in the face of declining polls, unpopular wars, and general insanity. Most importantly, he feels things, not thinks them. Facts, after all, have a well-known liberal bias.

The Colbert Report, a spin-off from Comedy Central's successful The Daily Show with Jon Stewart exploded like a firecracker into the conscious of the American public-at-large. His stone-faced acerbic lampooning of the right-wing pundit-styled television personality—people like Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity—gently bites the hand that feeds upon it, offering up one of the most grippy half hours on television today. The Best of The Colbert Report brings viewers nearly three hours of barely controlled political satire, slander, and musings from the most correct and truthy face in American politics today—a comedian.

After all, he is America, and so are you.

Facts of the Case

Comprised of clips from various episodes, The Best of The Colbert Report highlights the show's two-year run with favorite moments: "truthiness," Colbert's infamous sabotage (or "Wikiality") of Wikipedia, the online and editable encyclopedia, his constant harassment of congressional hopefuls in his ongoing "Better Know A District" series, his spectacular green-screen challenge (with a surprise entry from a "George L."), a duet with Barry Manilow, a musical guitar solo challenge, picking fights with the mayor of Oshawa, Ontario, over hockey games, a surreal interview with Bill O'Reilly, a "gravitas" showdown against Stone Phillips, and more.

The Best of The Colbert Report includes the following segments:

• "The Word: Truthiness"
• "The Word: Wikiality"
• "Better Know A District"
• "Indecision 2006"
• "Green Screen Challenge"
• "Barry Manilow"
• "Guitarmageddon"
• "Saginaw Spirit"
• "Papa Bear"
• "Cooking With Feminists"
• "Jane Fonda Interview"
• "Stone Phillips: Let The Gravitas Begin"
• "Stephen Jr."
• "Stephanie Jr."
• "Threat Down"
• "Ice Cream & Willie Nelson
• "Hungarian Bridge"
• "A Rare Correction"
• "Meta-Free-Phor-All"

The Evidence

It is an amazing thing to see the prolific rise of Stephen Colbert to the conscious of American culture, both comedic and politically. First of all, he managed to get a spinoff of the enormously successful The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, something no other comedic correspondent has been able to pull off yet. Jon is a hard act to follow, but follow he did—Comedy Central took a shot on Colbert with a measly eight-week contract, created a new show in the next time slot, and went to town. The show was a smash hit with fans, which dug Colbert's almost imperceptivity subtle humor and pundit style, ridiculing right-wing talking heads by imitating them perfectly down to the molecule.

Now on DVD, at least in truncated form, The Best of the Colbert Report (the "t" is silent, in both words) captures outstanding moments from the show's past few seasons with moderate success. All segments included here are indeed classic moments, but a DVD with a three-hour running time has no chance in Hades in capturing all the classic moments of The Colbert Show, a deviously difficult task considering the show's mediocre moments are few in between. The funniest moments of Colbert's show are the times when he breaks character, reverting to Steven Colbert (the comedian) instead of Stephen Colbert (the right-wing pundit), his impish, @#$%-eating grin cracking through his angry man façade, if only for a split second. Those are the moments us fans live for. That, and Jane Fonda getting her revenge on Colbert from an earlier appearance by giving an interview entirely perched upon his lap, much to his chagrin and discomfort. Now that's comedy.

Nobody takes a joke farther than Stephen Colbert. The Best of the Colbert Report highlights this perfectly, illustrating how throwaway one-time bits, like jokes about green screens and guitar solos metamorphose over the weeks into "Stephen Colbert's Rock and Awe: Countdown to Guitarmageddon," full of five-necked guitar solos, Dr. Henry Kissinger, Peter Frampton, and New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer. A slow news day discussing minor-league hockey leagues in Ontario, resulting in the declaration of Stephen Colbert Day as a regional holiday in Canada, not to mention Colbert fans flooding the Internet and got a Hungarian bridge named after him. For such a young program, the show's cultural impact has been enormous, going so far as to coin new phrases ("truthiness," etc) and give a thorough comedic rogering to the President of the United States at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in a way no person has yet dared do, right to his face. Sadly, that particular performance is not included here. It really needs to be included somewhere.

Each bit is selectable a la carte, or via the handy "play all" feature from the main menu. There are no "special features" so to speak, since the disc is essentially a giant selection of unrelated clips (save for some DVD previews, which I discount as anything "special").

From a technical standpoint, this disc is unremarkable in its presentation—it is exactly like one expects a cable television show transferred to DVD to look. Colors are pleasantly saturated, with bleeding primary colors, moderate black levels, and a fair amount of compression artifacts noticeable. Audio, likewise, is simple stereo, with minimal bass response and clear dialogue. This is a total middle-of-the-road presentation.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

"Best of"? Says who? There's an awful lot missing here, a lot of funny timeless moments passed over for consideration. But such is the way of things—these "best of" DVDs are inherently unsatisfying in that they are short, sweet, and only leaving you wanting more material.

With a daily show like The Colbert Report, especially a topical one, the chances of getting anything more on DVD than these canned offerings is slim, which is terribly unfortunate. Thank heavens Comedy Central puts the majority of its content online for repeat viewing.

Closing Statement

For fans, The Best of The Colbert Report is the show's only offering on DVD at the moment, so we must take what we are given, slim as it may be. A low MSRP makes this disc a solid value, but one cannot help but wish for more material to be made available to fans.

The Verdict

Slim in its offering, but one cannot deny the truthiness of this DVD.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 83
Audio: 83
Extras: 5
Acting: 90
Story: 90
Judgment: 86

Perp Profile

Studio: Comedy Central
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 175 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Comedy
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• DVD Previews

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