As if we needed another reason to love Stephen Colbert, his intro to Tuesday night’s edition of “The Colbert Report” was pitch perfect. (A heads up: The link contains profanity.) Interrupting his own bombastic set piece lead-in, he addressed the recent bombing of the Boston Marathon with humanity and humor, lauding the people of Boston as too tough to be shaken by terrorism. “This is a city founded by pilgirms,” he said as a rather grim-faced example of same flashed over his shoulder, “people so tough they buckled their hats to their head.”
Laughter, so it goes, is the best medicine, and comedians, especially those with national platforms, are by necessity multi-taskers, able to provoke and comfort in equal measure. In the days following a tragedy especially, we look to television’s late-night icons to give us a voice and a context. How do we absorb the news without being paralyzed by it?
The trick, of course, is timing and tone -- how soon is too soon, and what can the jokes reside without increasing the pain. By reminding everyone that Boston is a city as scrappy as they come, a town long able to accept what it cannot change -- the Red Sox -- and change what it can -- being a British colony -- Colbert and his writers found a way to make us to control our shared anxiety and see ourselves as survivors rather than victims.
It was also pretty darn funny.