Tonight, Slate is thrilled to announce we’ve obtained video footage of late-night host Stephen Colbert spoofing Rachel Maddow’s cynical, reputation-scarring “scoop” from Tuesday night, which we’ll share with you in this very post. But first, a little context. According to Wikipedia, Stephen Tyler Colbert “is an American comedian, television host, and author,” which is why we’re sure that this new video footage—which we’ll present to you shortly—is so historic and important. The Colbert segment is based on a segment that aired on MSNBC Tuesday night, featuring host Rachel Maddow, who started her career as a radio host in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Watching Colbert mimic Maddow’s distinctive diction and gestures—one television host versus another—raises very interesting questions about how much the churn of cable news pushes people to overhype their stories, packing them with unecessary background information to make them seem more important. It’s an issue you’ll no doubt be wondering about once you’ve seen the video for yourself.
But first, it’s worth asking: Just how accurate was Colbert’s “impression?” Although you’ll be able to judge for yourself once we embed the video, we think it’s important to present you with our opinions about it before allowing you to reach your own conclusions. So we consulted the experts at The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (Thumb Index Edition), who told us that impression means “pressure applied by one thing on or into the surface of another; an instance or effect of such pressure; the stamping of character or quality on.” And it’s true: Colbert stamps all over Maddow’s character, as you’ll see very soon. Need more evidence to back up all the other irrefutable evidence we’ve promised to eventually provide? Perhaps a single frame from the Colbert segment—which, again, you will eventually find on this very page—will help you get excited about seeing the full video once we release it. To avoid spoiling anything before we give you the opportunity to watch the complete footage, we’ve applied a 5.1-pixel Gaussian blur:
The colors, the wardrobe, the chyron: You can tell that this is going to be a highly-shareable video clip, which we’ll be sharing with you before the end of this post, and we hope you’ll share with everyone you’ve ever met. We don’t want to give too much away until you’ve got all the necessary context, so here’s a blurred frame from the Maddow video Colbert is spoofing:
Wow. This Colbert segment is the kind of story that anyone can understand is incredibly important and groundbreaking. I bet you all really want to see it now, right? Would you say your emotions are at a fever pitch? Expectations sky-high? Then this seems like the perfect time to talk about provenance. Colbert is the host of a television program entitled The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, which airs on CBS, a network historically known as the Columbia Broadcasting System. The show has a dedicated channel on YouTube, which provides media outlets like Slate the opportunity to embed … Excuse me. I’m hearing—they’re cutting in on my earpiece with some breaking news. They’re saying in the booth that this gag has gone on way too long already, so we’re just going to cut to the embedded video now. Any second now. Wait for it … wait for it …