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Comedy Central's Carell and Colbert: Their unconventional view of the presidential debate

October 4, 2000
12 p.m. EDT

(CNN) – Comedy Central’s "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" provides a humorous take on the political scene in its Indecision 2000 campaign coverage. Two correspondents for the show, Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert, joined the Allpolitics Chat to "analyze" the presidential debate October 3 between Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush.

Carell has performed in numerous theater groups and TV series, and is the voice of several characters on the animated Saturday Night Live series "The Ambiguously Gay Duo." Colbert helped to create the series "Exit 57" and "Strangers with Candy" for Comedy Central. He has also written for "Saturday Night Live." Both Carell and Colbert were members of the "Second City" improvisational troupe in Chicago.

Chat Moderator: Thank you for joining us today, Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert, and welcome.

Stephen Colbert: It's our pleasure!

Chat Moderator: What are your thoughts on last night's debate?

Stephen Colbert: I think if people turned off halfway through, it was Gore's debate. But somehow Bush rallied out of his fumpfering halfway through and pulled up very close by the end, which was sort of disappointing. There were no major gaffes. The only lasting impression I have was Al Gore sighing through the whole thing. *SIGH*

Steve Carell: Which I think was a pre-determined move on his part. I think the sighing was intended to take away any strength of Bush's argument. If Bush had had any guts during the debate, he would have called him on it.

Stephen Colbert: If there had been anything for Gore to destroy, it would have been bad for Bush. It's hard to destroy anything that isn't there.

I understand Ralph Nader got kicked out, that he had a ticket, showed up and was ousted. Did you know that, Steve?

Steve Carell: Nope.

Stephen Colbert: Well, there's a dead-end conversation.

Steve Carell: I heard it.

Stephen Colbert: You did?

Steve Carell: Nope.

Question from Albert: Was the debate a comedy?

Stephen Colbert: Gore's look was comedic! Suddenly he had absolutely no neck! He used to have a lovely neck! He lost two things last night: his chin, which is normally taken over by his neck. It was just a head going straight into...

Steve Carell: ...a massive shoulder! Let's face it, Gore is a hottie!

Express your opinion: Debates 2000
Presidential race 2000

One thing I did notice was that Bush seemed to be attempting not to "smirk." In those attempts, he did something different with his mouth that was more of a "pucker," as if he was sucking on something sour. After the debate, he actually WAS sucking on something. Gore was hugging everyone and Bush was sitting over there sucking on something -- the bitter pill of defeat, maybe.

Stephen Colbert: Another thing about Gore was that he was really tarted up. He had so much ROUGE rubbed into his cheeks, he looked like Ronald Reagan.

Steve Carell: I would go so far as to say he looked like Irma La Douche.

Stephen Colbert: Basically, he looked like a painted lady, a streetwalker.

Steve Carell: Hooker.

Stephen Colbert: He was dishing out the manly head-wags and following them up with the "sigh" when Bush responded.

Question from Jackie-CNN: Did it seem to either of you that Al Gore was going for the "Ronald Reagan" hairdo look?

Stephen Colbert: Absolutely! He was going for Reagan hair, the kewpie doll red cheeks and the turkey gobbler neck. When I watched him, I had this urge for cranberry sauce. He was 100 percent Reagan last night.

Steve Carell: But he has never looked like Reagan before to me! I don't know how he pulled it out!

Stephen Colbert: Interestingly, I'm watching CNN now, while doing this chat. It's like a lamprey sucking on itself!

Question from I: Bush's chronic sniffing on the podium? Coincidence?

Stephen Colbert: I noticed that! I hope we get a chance to isolate that snorting!

Steve Carell: I believe it was purely hay fever.

Stephen Colbert: Which he's treating…

Steve Carell: ...with massive quantities of cocaine.

Stephen Colbert: Satire!

Steve Carell: That, of course, was satire! And I deny any responsibility for saying that!

Stephen Colbert: We are both fully indemnified by Comedy Central, a member of the Time Warner family!

Steve Carell: One thing I'll say about Bush, and I was speaking with Stephen about this earlier, is that he looked as if he had a teleprompter surgically implanted in his cornea. He had that glazed-over look, but was speaking pretty eloquently. He was much better on his prepared stuff than on his off-the-cuffisms.

Stephen Colbert: When Bush makes a joke or laughs or smiles, he looks like the slow kid on the playground who is being picked on, but doesn't know it. And he decides to laugh because everyone else is laughing, and he figures that he'd better laugh or someone might catch on that he doesn't catch on. It's not a look that inspires confidence.

Steve Carell: By the way, did you know that he put that retarded man to death in a little electric chair?

Stephen Colbert: A "special" electric chair?

Question from LOL: Do you think their uncannily similar choice in clothing symbolizes the entire milieu of this election?

Stephen Colbert: I don't know what "milieu" is but I’ll agree, because I don't want to seem ignorant. I think that their clothing represents the fact that they both have a very good market research team and obey them the way a dog does its master. Pretty strong statement, huh Steve?

Steve Carell: Yes.

Stephen Colbert: Evidently Gore's research team said that people respond to "puffy."

Steve Carell: I believe "fleshy" is the actual market research term.

Stephen Colbert: The Bush team came up with "rodent-like." Politics makes strange bedfellows. (I don't know what that means.)

Question from Squill: Either of you have a comment on Bush's statement that we need to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources by piping in natural gas from Mexico?

Stephen Colbert: Hahahahaha! Well, Bush is from Texas so that excuses a lot. They have a very close relationship with their brothers to the South. And I can see Bush getting a little confused sometimes. It's natural. Get off his back, Mr. Know-It-All.

Steve Carell: Wasn't one of Bush's plans to eventually invade Mexico and take their natural resources from under them?

Stephen Colbert: And their flan?

Question from Dointime: Which candidate looks like the best choice for comedian job security?

Stephen Colbert: Bush, but no comedy is worth that price! That's a price too high for riches. It would also be hilarious if America elected a can opener, but the administrative skills might be lacking.

Steve Carell: I don't see that happening.

Question from Sunny1-CNN: How about "fuzzy math"? Are you guys going to have some fun with that?

Stephen Colbert: I guess we should. I've always kinda been weak in math.

Steve Carell: "Fuzzy math" seems to have now become somewhat of a rallying cry for the Bush campaign, so I’m sure that's not the last we've heard of it, and not the last you've heard from "The Daily Show" either.

Stephen Colbert: I understand that Bush is getting endorsements from Fuzzy Zoeller and Fuzzy Wuzzy.

Steve Carell: And the Police Benevolent Organization, since they were at one time called "the fuzz." Was that a stretch?

Question from Rod: What about Bush and his command of the English language: "There is differences."

Stephen Colbert: He did say, "There is differences."

Steve Carell: Bush was disappointingly good last night. You've heard of the new math. Well, Bush is instituting new English. It's simpler, streamlined. It's more efficient.

Steve Carell: To accentuate that point, it's "morer" efficient.

Question from KateH: Do you feel that Bush can represent the United States on the world stage?

Steve Carell: The vaudeville stage, yes.

Stephen Colbert: Yes. Why not? Why do we deserve better?

Question from Noam: Steve and Stephen, what are your respective opinions of Ralph Nader and the Greens?

Stephen Colbert: Nader is admirable and, yet, sad.

Steve Carell: It's sad that people who intend to vote for Nader are told they're completely wasting their vote, which seems to me to go against the entire belief in the political system.

Stephen Colbert: I still don't forgive him for making seatbelts mandatory. Seatbelts kill. Don't believe the hype.

Steve Carell: And the Corvair? It's a classic. In terms of the Green Party, I saw a sign for it once, but other than that, I'm not sure.

Stephen Colbert: What color was the sign?

Steve Carell: Green and white.

Question from Wayne: What do you think the debate would've been like if Nader and Buchanan had been invited?

Steve Carell: Longer.

Stephen Colbert: A free-for-all.

Chat Moderator: What can we expect from the vice presidential debates tomorrow?

Stephen Colbert: Who are they again? One is a Hindu, right? Where's a turban? And the other is Helmut Kohl? Should be lively. Again, some of my best friends are vice presidents.

Steve Carell: There was a rumor going around that Cheney would actually be dropped from the ticket prior to the election.

Stephen Colbert: Really?

Steve Carell: Yes, because they see him as a liability.

Stephen Colbert: Replaced by an animatron?

Steve Carell: No, replaced with Colin Powell or McCain.

Stephen Colbert: Or one of the pirates of the Caribbean. I think the one that's chasing the woman around with a jug of ale.

Steve Carell: So, we'll see.

Chat Moderator: Do you have any final thoughts to share with us?

Stephen Colbert: Thoughts? I didn't know we were gonna have to think. Steve?

Steve Carell: The American people have a choice between a man some consider mean-spirited and condescending, and a man some consider inept and ridiculously uninformed.

Stephen Colbert: I don't see it that way, Steve. I see it as a contest between a man with no moral compass and a man with no intellectual compass. Or a man who doesn't know how to use a compass and a man who can't spell "north."

Chat Moderator: Thank you for joining us today.

Stephen Colbert: Goodbye! I hope both of you enjoyed it!

Steve Carell: My fingers are cramping!

Stephen Colbert: You should get that speech software I'm using! It's great!

Hi, Mom!! She doesn't own a computer, but I wanted to say that. Bye!

Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert joined the Allpolitics Chat via telephone from New York. CNN provided a typist for Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert. The above is an edited transcript of the chat, which took place on Wednesday, October 4, 2000.

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