Question: I was shocked by your short riff on The Colbert Report. I understand your possible concerns for future spin-offs and caricatures, but you have to admit that the consistent top-notch writing and the complex character that Steven Colbert has crafted deserves high praise. His segments and interviews feel fresh and engaging, because Colbert is playing this particular character. I daresay that the show has surpassed its sister show, The Daily Show, in terms of overall quality. While at times Jon Stewart will goof off and blubber instead of making a crafty comment, time after time Colbert "nails" the audience with his bold wit and his spot-on character pronouncements. I think that you should give the show its due, and hopefully it will attract the thriving audience it deserves. Consistent, smart, quality writing in a daily show is difficult to find, and, in the rare moments when it comes together, it should be praised.
Answer: I would respectfully disagree that Colbert Report has outpaced The Daily Show in any respect. Both shows are uneven, but that's the nature of the game, and both are incredibly intelligent and entertaining and make for a wonderful pairing. I do stand by my opinion, though, that the Colbert show is more limited because of its single-minded focus on a portrayal (however brilliant) of a parody of self-absorbed, fatuous punditry. In the long haul, I don't think this act has the legs of the show that spawned it. But for now, I'm enjoying it much as I do The Daily Show: in fits and starts, in gasps and giggles.