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The Evolution of Stephen Colbert

08cover-sfSpanThe New York Times Magazine has a cover profile of Stephen Colbert on Sunday, in which the Comedy Central star talks about his SuperPAC, a real-life foray into politics that actually could have influence on the presidential race. As Charles McGrath points out, the South Carolina Republican Party was very close to accepting $400,000 and in turn placing a Colbert-backed measure on the primary ballot that asked voters whether “corporations are people,” or are “people people.”

McGrath writes, “The new Colbert has crossed the line that separates a TV stunt from reality and a parody from what is being parodied. In June, after petitioning the Federal Election Commission, he started his own super PAC — a real one, with real money. He has run TV ads, endorsed (sort of) the presidential candidacy of Buddy Roemer, the former governor of Louisiana, and almost succeeded in hijacking and renaming the Republican primary in South Carolina. ‘Basically, the F.E.C. gave me the license to create a killer robot,’ Colbert said to me in October, and there are times now when the robot seems to be running the television show instead of the other way around.

“‘It’s bizarre,’ remarked an admiring Jon Stewart, whose own program, ‘The Daily Show,’ immediately precedes ‘The Colbert Report’ on Comedy Central and is where the Colbert character got his start. ‘Here is this fictional character who is now suddenly interacting in the real world. It’s so far up its own rear end,’ he said, or words to that effect, ‘that you don’t know what to do except get high and sit in a room with a black light and a poster.'”

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