Kilborn provides daily fun

By Jack Schillaci
Daily Arts Writer

Comedy Central's foray into the world of television journalism sheds a humorous light on many of today's important issues. Ranging from the berating of Libby Dole to Boris Yelstin at a ho-down, "The Daily Show" always leaves the viewer laughing - not only because of the humorous statements but also because of the way in which they are presented.

The show's basic premise is taking contemporary news events and adding humorous interpretations or twists to them. The hilarious, if not occasionally harsh delivery of information, is what gives the show its energy and appeal - revealing double meanings, while keeping a straight face.

Truth is stranger than fiction - especially when it runs through the spin that "The Daily Show" puts on it.

In an episode first broadcast on Tuesday, a portion of the show was devoted to spotlighting a small New England town whose city council had recently resigned. The town was presented as being in a state of anarchy. The situation became more and more amusing because of the drama and color the correspondent put into his oration.

Some of the show's segments include "God Stuff," a weekly mockery of TV evangelism playing highlights of the week's Christian TV. Jon Bloom leads this segment, speaking with all the conviction and drama of a televangelist - Bloom, however, has a higher purpose in mind.

"Michael Bleiden's Video Review" has the resident "Videogapher" look for subliminal messages hidden in contemporary music videos. Among Bleiden's more recent revelations is that Toni Braxton was really dating a merman in the video for "Unbreak My Heart."

The centerpiece of the show's humor is charismatic host Craig Kilborn whose muscular 6-foot-4 leading-man-esque presence gives the show its voice and power. He has an aura of excitement and energy that permeates through everything he says and does - a shtick that serves his performance well.

Kilborn was known before "The Daily Show" for his work on ESPN's SportsCenter - which he had to record at 2 a.m. In a telephone interview with The Michigan Daily earlier this week, Kilborn said he got his new job because "the man who runs Comedy Central watched me on ESPN and finds me attractive."

His new status as a "hottie" eventually led to his new "Not Necessarily the News"-esque comedic news anchor position.

Kilborn said he enjoys the new opportunities he has now that he lives in Manhattan.

"Now I have more of a life. It's not the seclusion up in Bristol, Connecticut with a bunch of men. There's a nice balance here," he said.

Kilborn's unique style of presentation certainly adds flavor to "The Daily Show"'s style. Viewers can cut through the superficial yet believable aura he gives off with a knife. Thanks to Kilborn's presentation, audiences undoubtedly believe that ridiculous happenings - like the Model Olympics - are important news events.

But Kilborn is more than just a pretty face - he is a writer.

"I write what we call the 'big laughs.' We have a group of writers that do what we call the 'medium laughs' and the rest of the stuff is written by a guy named Ray," Kilborn said.

One of the segments Kilborn writes and for which he is most famous is "Craig's Five Questions." Every episode, the guest must answer questions that are a mix of obscure fact and subjective opinion. There is only one right answer, and it is a rare guest who manages all five.

"The Daily Show" also has educational value. Near the end of every show, Ginny and Wilbur Winstead (parents of head writer Lizz Winstead) call in a Jeopardy-type trivia question - making the Daily Show more than just fun.

"The Daily Show" is meant for people who like to laugh at themselves and the absurdity of the human condition. While the show's comments can occasionally get a bit harsh and racy, it always manages to force a smile onto viewers' faces.

"Hottie" Craig Kilborn hosts "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central.



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