Stephen Colbert’s “Wikiality”

UPDATE 2-18-07: Since Viacom no longer allows any of their content to be posted at YouTube, most of the links on this page no longer function. I’m sorry about that. Viacom is a bunch of douchebags.


I really hope you all watch Stephen Colbert’s show “The Colbert Report” on a regular basis. From his early days on “The Daily Show” Stephen has

consistently displayed the remarkable ability to highlight the idiocy of popular culture, politics, and bears with his ironic snarkiness.

From popularizing the term “truthiness” to deep-throating bananas, Stephen’s comedic material spans the gamut from surface-level parody to insightful satire. His show garnered five Emmy nominations this year, and I have no doubt he’ll walk away with at least one little statue.

In one of the recurring bits on his show, “Better Know A District,” Stephen interviews congressmen in their respective offices in his absurd on-going quest to personally interview all 434 congressional representatives (yes, I realize there are 435, but Stephen declared California’s 50th ”˜dead to him’). A couple of weeks ago Stephen’s interview with Floridian Rep. Wexler garnered quite a bit of attention after Stephen finagled the representative into saying that he liked cocaine because “it’s a fun thing to do.” Then last week, he conducted an interview with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton that completely blew my socks off. After it ended Leigh and I couldn’t believe what we had just seen.

Warning: Do not watch those interviews while drinking milk. I will not be held responsible for your nostrils if you do.

Internet forums are filled with rumors that Colbert roams the net regularly. Internet memes appear on Colbert’s show with amazing frequency, and I’ve seen things appear on his show the same day they appeared on the net. He has a website dedicated to his fictional, as in never actually having been written, sci-fi novel “Alpha Squad 7: Lady Nocturne: A Tek Jansen Adventure,” and if you read the site carefully it becomes clear that Stephen is most likely the actual designer of the site.

Tonight on his show during “The Word” segment, appropriately titled “Wikiality,” Colbert called on his viewers to change a few facts on Wikipedia, the user-ran on-line encyclopedia. He asked that his viewers amend the entry for “elephants” to include the “fact” that the elephant population has tripled in the last six months, thus proving Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” wrong. In true Orwellian doublethink fashion, Colbert basically stated that if we all agree on a reality then it must be true, regardless of verifiable “facts.” Therefore, if we all agree that the elephant population has increased three-fold then it must be true.

Well, because I watch TV with the computer in my lap I immediately logged onto Wikipedia and searched for “elephants.” The entry looked okay. So I refreshed it a couple of times and after about the fourth reload, just like magic, the line “THE NUMBER OF ELEHANTS HAS TRIPLED IN THE LAST SIX MONTHS” appeared. I refreshed the page once more and it came back with an internal error, which usually occurs when a massive amount of traffic overloads a server. This happens when an overwhelming number of people try to access a page simultaneously. I refreshed some more, the page came back up, and amazingly the moderators had already removed the erroneous “fact” and had also locked the page to prevent any more additions. All of this happened within maybe three of four minutes.

You can thank me later, because I was quick enough to get a screen capture of the wikipedia page before the mods corrected the page. You can click the image below to see the Colbert-elephant-entry in all its full-size goodness.

colbert screen cap

I hope I’ve piqued your interest in “The Colbert Report.” It’s a brilliant piece of satire, and the fact that Colbert is a huge nerd definitely helps. He’s much more likely to latch on to and report on interesting subjects that I want to hear about.

Categories: T.V. | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Stephen Colbert’s “Wikiality”

  1. Dave

    That was a really great article. Keep them coming.

  2. Very cool. And here I thought I had something special.

  3. You DO have something special – you got it live 🙂

  4. ahedge

    I find appalling that Colbert would mess up an important source like Wikipedia to further his personal agenda. Nice job capturing proof of and denouncing that behavior.

    I never liked the guy and now I have one more reason to never watch his stupid program

  5. wiki sucks

    those wiki bastards had it coming.

    the only internet encyclopedia worth reading is


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