Login | Member Center | Contact Us | Obituaries | Site Map | Archives | Alerts | myDelivery

HomeNewsLocal News

Comedy program pits Abe, Santa

Will Koch, the president of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, has makeup applied by Lewis Chaney of WEHT-News25 before Koch is interviewed for the Comedy Central program “The Colbert Report.” The program spoofs two bearded Southern Indiana icons.

Will Koch, the president of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, has makeup applied by Lewis Chaney of WEHT-News25 before Koch is interviewed for the Comedy Central program “The Colbert Report.” The program spoofs two bearded Southern Indiana icons.

Will Koch, the president of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, has makeup applied by Lewis Chaney of WEHT-News25 before Koch is interviewed for the Comedy Central program “The Colbert Report.” The program spoofs two bearded Southern Indiana icons.

Television personality/comedian Stephen Colbert tried to provoke some verbal fisticuffs among his interview guests Wednesday, but Will Koch and Jerry Sanders weren't really in the mood.

During a taping of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," Colbert played up a rivalry between Spencer County, Ind., icons Santa Claus and Abraham Lincoln.

He talked via satellite with Koch, president of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, and Sanders, who represented the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial.

Koch and Sanders preferred to discuss mutual admiration between the two tourist attractions, which are separated by a five-mile stretch of Indiana 162 in northern Spencer County and target the same visitor traffic.

Colbert began the segment by asking Sanders, "What do you have against Christmas?"

Jerry Sanders

Jerry Sanders

Jerry Sanders

Sanders chuckled that he had nothing against Christmas and "I celebrate it every year." Koch later told Colbert about memorials to Lincoln throughout the town of Santa Claus, where Holiday World is located.

The two men then gave mini-history lessons. Sanders discussed Lincoln's upbringing in Spencer County from 1816 - when the future president was 7 years old - until 1830, and how the national memorial in Lincoln City, Ind., was established in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy.

Koch talked about how his grandfather founded the theme park, then called Santa Claus Land, in 1946 "because he wanted to create a place for families to visit." Its name changed to Holiday World in 1984.

Apparently, none of that interested Colbert very much.

During a lengthy break in the taping to deal with technical difficulties, Koch and Sanders were asked in their earpieces to mix things up a little.

"We're trying to not go down that road. They don't seem real pleased," Koch said jokingly to people watching the taping.

When the taping resumed, Koch and Sanders tried to play along.

Referring to Lincoln, Koch turned to Sanders and asked, "How many presents has he brought to children?"

"I suppose he gave some to his own (children)," Sanders answered.

Noting that Lincoln emancipated slaves, Colbert likened Santa Claus' use of elves at the North Pole to slaves.

"If elves were slaves," Sanders said, "Lincoln would have freed them too."

Sanders noted a national movement to prepare a celebration of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth on Feb. 12, 2009, and he said the occasion will present an opportunity for more people to learn about the president's Indiana history.

Colbert pointed out that there's no national celebration of Santa Claus' birthday.

Koch and Sanders will appear on an upcoming episode of "The Colbert Report." It airs Monday through Thursday at 10:30 p.m. with replays the following day at 7:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Your Turn

There are 8 responses to this article.

All comments are subject to our user agreement.

Posted by MoonSpells on September 14, 2006 at 7:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Good to have the recognition for the area, even if it was "The Colbert Report"

Posted by ssterchaos on September 14, 2006 at 7:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I thought it was going to be on last night so I stayed up to watch it. Any idea when it will air?

Posted by truthseeker on September 14, 2006 at 8:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

These guys might have been a little more ready and willing to play along with what sounds like a ridiculous idea if they'd been given any warning. The Colbert Report's producers didn't tell Koch and Sanders what the agenda was at all, or what was expected. I wouldn't really feel like picking a 'fight', either, if I'd had no idea what was coming. And with Colbert, there's no way to guess what he's got in mind.

Posted by embreyhowerton on September 14, 2006 at 10:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I was sorry it wasn't on last night too. I hope we get an actual air date soon. To refer to the previous comment, Hello? It is the Colbert Report, surely they watched it before they agreed to appear on the show. They had to know that Stephen would want them to be funny. It is a comedy show.

Posted by truthseeker on September 14, 2006 at 10:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm not saying they didn't know it would be funny, but God only knows WHAT direction he'll go. It's hard to prepare for something like that.

Posted by tourism on September 14, 2006 at 11:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm sure it is hard to prepare for something like The Colbert Report. You don't know what will be thrown at you. But I'd venture a guess that Spencer County had faith in Will and Jerry being able to handle whatever Stephen tossed at them.

Posted by fun on September 14, 2006 at 12:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

They actually didn't want Will and Jerry to "play along" ... as one of Colbert's bits is to pick a fight where one doesn't exist and to act as if he's trying to calm an argument that isn't occurring.

Not to worry, Will and Jerry went into this with open eyes ... knowing it was for Comedy Central was certainly the best way to "prepare."

They agreed it was a risk worth taking.

Should air within a few weeks, according to the producers. They'd intended to air it last night, but lost needed editing time when Will's mic malfunctioned.

Paula Werne
Holiday World

Posted by Sancho on September 14, 2006 at 2:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The attitude of Will Koch and Jerry Sanders did themselves, their organizations and all of Indiana proud.

A round of applause for them.
.

Post your comment
(Requires free registration.)

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. By using this site, you agree not to post comments that are off-topic, defamatory, crude or sexually suggestive, threatening, an invasion of privacy or predominantly a personal attack. Violators, including those who monopolize a discussion thread, may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Username:

Password:
(Forgotten your password?)

Your Turn: