Stephen Colbert is known for tearing apart politicians with an acerbic, unforgiving wit — a trademark that strikes fear in the heart of many a public official. “He’s clearly the most political late night host, and arguably the most partisan,” said Robert Lichter, director of the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University and the author of the forthcoming book “Politics Is a Joke: How TV Comedians Are Remaking Political Life.”
Now that Letterman is also on his way out, we may soon be seeing even less politics in the late night landscape. As I reported in February, Leno and Letterman heavily relied on political jokes for their monologues and often interviewed politicians. While Leno was rather balanced targeting both Republicans and Democrats in his jokes, Letterman made fun of Republicans in 71 percent of his jokes, versus just 29 percent of jokes targeting Democrats, according to data from Robert Lichter, director of Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University.
The curtain rose this week on a new era of late-night TV — altering the terrain for politicians who frequent the shows and complicating life for Republicans, who have lost their most comfortable seat in front of the camera.
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