Following David Letterman announcing his retirement from the "Late Show," his replacement is getting quite the backlash in conservative circles.
David Letterman has been a staple on American late night television for nearly 35 years. In 1980, David Letterman hosted "The David Letterman show," and went on to host "Late Night with David Letterman" from 1982 to 1993 and has hosted the "Late Show with David Letterman since 1993." As Letterman winds down his career, host of the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert, has gotten the call to replace him in 2015. The reaction has been mostly positive, but not everyone is happy about the decision.
Leading the conservative media outrage is none other than Rush Limbaugh. Following the announcement of Colbert as Letterman's replacement, Limbaugh took to the radio airwaves and stated that CBS has "declared war on the heartland of America" by replacing Letterman with Colbert.
"CBS has just declared war on the heartland of America. No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values, conservative values — now it’s just wide out in the open. What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny and a redefinition of what is comedy and they’re blowing up the 11:30 format under the guise of ‘the world’s changing."
The next round of attack came from conservative political commentator, radio talk show host and editor-at-large of Breitbart News, Ben Shapiro. Shapiro doesn't take to kindly to Colbert's conservative satire and attacks the soon to be Late Show host over his brand of comedy.
"This routine, in which Colbert plays at conservatism in order to portray it as unendingly ugly, should be labeled for what it is: vile political blackface. When Colbert plays “Colbert,” it’s not mere mockery or satire or spoof. It’s something far nastier."
Shapiro continued his rant, comparing Colbert's conservative satire to "blackface" comedy of the early 1920s and attacks on Jews, even noting that Colbert has out-Archie Bunkers Archie Bunker"
"Blackface, which has an ugly history dating back to at least the fifteenth century according to historian John Strausbaugh, was used to portray demeaning and horrifying stereotypes of blacks. Such stereotypical imitation has not been limited to blacks, of course; actors tasked with playing stereotypical Jew Shylock often donned a fake nose and red wig, as did actors who were supposed to play Barabas in The Jew of Malta. Such stereotypical potrayals create a false sense of blacks, or Jews, or whomever becomes the target of such nastiness.
And this is precisely what Colbert does with regard to politics: he engages in Conservativeface. He needs no makeup or bulbous appendage to play a conservative – after all, conservatives come in every shape and size. Instead, he acts as though he is a conservative – an idiotic, racist, sexist, bigoted, brutal conservative. He out-Archie Bunkers Archie Bunker. His audience laughs and scoffs at brutal religious “Colbert” who wishes to persecute gays; they chortle at evil sexist “Colbert” who thinks men are victims of sexism. This is the purpose of Colbert’s routine. His show is about pure hatred for conservatives in the same way that black-face was about pure hatred of blacks. In order to justify their racism, racists had to create a false perception of blacks; in the same way, Colbert and his audience can justify their racism only by creating a false perception of conservatives."
Whether it's Rush Limbaugh, Ben Shapiro or another right-wing commentator, they all have the right to voice their opinion. But in doing so, they also open themselves up to attacks on their hypocrisy. For many conservatives, their defense of the First Amendment only seems to hold true when defending conservative principals or ideology and any other opinion is null and void. Stephen Colbert does mock the conservative agenda and if his brand of humor is as bad as Limbaugh and Shapiro claim it is, the free market will take of the problem and correct it. Unless, of course, these conservatives suddenly don't agree with the free market.