Anderson Cooper and Stephen Colbert are now engaged in an old-fashioned media feud following Cooper’s anti-Colbert diatribe on his “AC360” show on CNN Tuesday night.
The issue tearing these two TV titans apart: Who first came up with the whimsical feature “AC360” calls “The Ridiculist” and Colbert’s “Colbert Report” on Comedy Central calls its “On Notice” list. Both “lists” are designed to showcase public figures who recently made fools of themselves for inane public statements or behaviors.
Cooper’s anti-Colbert soliloquy Tuesday was a response to Colbert attacking Cooper a few weeks ago on his own show. Back then, Colbert – who has adopted the persona of an angry right-leaning cable talk show host on his show – took Cooper to task for placing Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity on his “Ridiculist.” Cooper explained then that Hannity qualified for the list for criticizing something Cooper said on his own show. Cooper accused Hannity and/or his producers of taking his statements out of context.
So this past Tuesday, Cooper went after Colbert, starting his attack by claiming not to remember who Colbert was, and then purposely mispronouncing Colbert’s name (he used the “t” at the end of the name when everyone knows the “t” is silent).
You can watch Cooper’s attack on Colbert here on HuffingtonPost.com and judge for yourself whether Colbert deserved Cooper’s verbal beatdown.
Or you could choose not to take this “feud” too seriously because the truth is, it’s as phony as a three-dollar bill. What we want to know is: Why is Anderson Cooper suddenly trafficking in comedy? “Ridiculist”? That is like something we’re more accustomed to seeing on a news-spoof show such as “The Colbert Report” or Comedy Central’s other news-satire “The Daily Show.” (In fact, to counter Cooper’s “Ridiculist,” Colbert introduced his own “Absurd-U-Chart” – take that, AC!)
We’re guessing that “The Ridiculist” is an attempt on the part of Cooper and his producers to try and lighten up his “360” program, which more often than not reports from the sites of the world’s worst disasters and catastrophes – from earthquakes and floods to wars and revolutions. It seems to us that Cooper is trying to be part comedy and part news these days. And we’re not sure we’re comfortable with that.
Probably, Cooper and his team are well aware that a feud with Stephen Colbert can only succeed in generating publicity for “AC360” while causing virtually no harm to it.
With so much to gain and so little to lose, how could they resist escalating the “hostilities” with Colbert?