Fan action and political participation on "The Colbert Report"

  • Marcus Schulzke State University of New York at Albany
Keywords: Activism, Stephen Colbert, Fan community, Politics, TV


The Colbert Report merges the increasingly popular political satire genre with fan activism. The result is that the fan community helps to construct Colbert's malleable character and demonstrates symbolic power through its willingness to act. The fans are usually a nonpartisan force, acting to produce entertainment rather than substantive political change. However, this can be politically meaningful, as the fans' projects promote collective action, parallel political activities like voting and protesting, and encourage critical thinking about political information.