Book Review: Telling the Truthiness: The Gospel According to Stephen Colbert (Richard Braaksma)

So one of my other pastors is also a published author (The Day Metallica Came to Church is the book by my other pastor). Our church recently merged with another church for a variety of reasons and one of the great benefits is that Rich is one of my new pastors. He geeks out on church history and theology and he’s just a couple years older than me (I think) so we have quite a bit in common. I can’t imagine him angry, he’s that happy all the time (I think).

His book is on two of my favourite subjects: Stephen Colbert and the Gospel. Rich takes the position that Colbert through his parody character on The Colbert Report images the prophetic. Through humour, through pointing the camera back at news agencies who are supposed to be telling the truth and exposing their hypocrisy, through invitation to people of all stripes to his interview table, through being a fool – Stephen Colbert allows the truth to channel through him.

Braaksma takes on what would be many people’s basic criticisms – that Colbert is crass, that this is just entertainment, that he is profiting greatly from his show – and turns them on their head. He deftly tackles the topic of comedy and shows how it allows truth to be seen. Given that people turned on The Colbert Report for a laugh, it doesn’t hurt that they got far more than laughs, they were being exposed to truthiness as well.

In enjoyed the book over the past couple months reading a few pages before bed most nights. I encourage any fans of Colbert to pick it up as it adds some important theological flesh to what my generation goes to for entertainment, comment and news.

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