I I already have a bias against award shows. To me, it’s just a bunch of rich out of touch people congratulating themselves on making millions of dollars by acting. Yes, I know acting takes a lot of effort, but millions of dollars in effort? I don’t know. But that’s a debate for another time. What I want to talk about today is the song, “Everything is Better on TV,” which Stephen Colbert performed as the host of the 2017 Emmy Awards.
Stephen Colbert isn’t my favorite late night talk show host. Mainly because his comedy, though funny and on the nose at times, is mainly catered to white cis men. He tries to be “feminist” and “inclusive,” but a lot of it - especially when it comes to Trump - perpetuates toxic masculinity. He makes fun of Trump’s hand size (which presumably means he has a small penis), cracks jokes about the “pee pee” video, and like SNL, thinks it’s funny to put Putin and Trump in bed together. These jokes are weak. Really, you can’t think of anything more funny than jokes based in masculine stereotypes or homophobia?
Covering the president and the way the government is being run is really hard. You’d think satire and comedians - the artists who supposedly bring truth to our world - would be the place to get some real information. Some are - such as John Oliver - but some aren’t. Colbert certainly isn’t, especially after he invited Sean Spicer to the Emmys to take selfies with the stars. Basically, the White House has turned into a reality TV show. Which brings us to two things, this Cracked video and this song, “Everything is Better on TV.”
As much as I think Colbert does believe that it’s wrong to see our White House as a reality show and that we should really look at our media more closely than we do, he also can’t help but to capitalize on our current situation.
Here's the opening of the song:
“Dear friends, the next time the world’s problems
Make you feel the blues
Turn on any channel
Well, except the news'
Cause troubles aren't so troubling
If you see them in HD
The world’s a little better on TV”.
He’s singing about how we just turn to TV for entertainment and to shield ourselves from reality. He's saying that it's wrong even though the song makes you think it's okay. Yet, Colbert is the one telling us to turn to TV at the same time he's telling us to turn away from it. Like what a hypocrite?! You’re the one helping this media circus continue (inviting Sean Spicer to the stage and acting like we “forgive him”). You don’t want us to take the news seriously or him and his lies. It’s the whole form of comedy known as lamp-shading. “We’re self aware it’s wrong that we look down on the 'third world,' so it’s okay to sing and make fun of ourselves, ha-ha, self depreciating humor doesn’t hurt anyone.” Well, you’re wrong it does. It’s hurting our environment (Spicer never asked Trump if he believed in global warming), our healthcare, and our education.
We need to look at the news. Maybe Colbert should have sung a song saying, "wow we all suck because we don’t do anything about this shit. We should protest and do more," but instead, he validates our feelings by saying, “it’s okay, everything IS better on TV, so continue watching us as we live in a world that’s more dystopic than A Handmaid’s Tale.” I know he’s supposed to be being sarcastic and whatnot, but is that really what we need right now? No, no it’s not. Then they have Chance the Rapper sing the true meaning of the song ("show up to protest"), but that lasts less than a minute. We need a harsh dose of reality, and this song and type of comedy doesn’t cut it.
23 year old English major and ESL Teacher. Currently living in Fortaleza, Brazil. Feminist and kill joy with a cause.