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If you haven't yet seen Stephen Colbert's spectacular performance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, do yourself a favor and watch the video. It's pretty shocking, very funny, and most of all, it'll make you admire the sheer enormity of what Mr. Colbert describes as his "big brass balls." They keynote speaker at the White House Correspondents Dinner is traditionally a comic who makes fun of the President, something which has never been controversial. Then again, there's no comic with a style quite like that of Stephen Colbert.

Colbert's performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner has been characterized on a scale ranging from brilliant and hysterical to just not that funny, largely depending on where the reviewer stands on the political spectrum. In particular, the blogs have erupted with Colbert posts, predictably grading Colbert's performance according to their ideologies. So let me get a quick disclaimer out of the way: I'm a huge fan of Colbert's, and obviously, I'm a diehard progressive. With that in mind, Colbert's peformance is just being blown way out of proportion.

Anyone who watches The Colbert Report with any regularity realizes that the Correspondents' dinner was the exact same routine for Stephen Colbert as his show. As always, Stephen 'championed' truthiness and George W. Bush while vilifying the non-Fox News media. The only difference was that this time, Colbert was standing about ten feet away from Bush, and performing to virtually every major player in the media. Colbert really had two choices: tone his performance down for a less friendly (to put it mildly) audience, or keep his character the same. Considering what we know about the size of Colbert's... ego, I think the choice was pretty clear.

Yes, Colbert is getting panned for perhaps being too harsh on Bush. But as Colbert lifted half his speech from previous jokes he'd made on the Report, how can you be surprised at Colbert's monologue if you've ever watched his show? Well, apparently by not watching his show. The New York Times notes that "Mark Smith, a reporter for The Associated Press who is president of the White House Correspondents' Association, acknowledges that he had not seen much of Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central before he booked him as the main entertainment for the association's annual black-tie dinner on Saturday night." In all fairness to Mark Smith, vetting your performer is probably a good idea if you don't want to shock your audience. Luckily for us, though, Smith skipped the background check, and we got an amazing show.

The Colbert Controversy has ignited so many passions that it's even led to a doubly ridiculous post by Kos calling for a primary challenger to Steny Hoyer in 2008. Hoyer's being silly for calling what Colbert does every night "in bad taste." Meanwhile, I've written before on how ridiculous I think it is to spend resources on derailing Democrats when we're so far behind the Republicans in seats, and though I enjoy reading DailyKos, there is perhaps no worse reason to invest in a primary challenger to Steny Hoyer than his dislike for Stephen Colbert.

As for whether he was any less funny than on his show, I think the answer is that comedy has everything to do with the audience. If Colbert did the same skit in his studio, it would get plenty of laughs, but obviously that changes a little bit when the entire room is looking to see if Bush is laughing. My personal opinion? Except for the unspectacular audition tape bit, Colbert was hysterical. Colbert's also probably the bravest (rather, ballsiest) comic I've ever seen for not diluting his performance at all in front of the same people he makes fun of. Even more admirably, those same people just happen to be some of the most powerful individuals in the world. But regardless of how amazing (or, if you're a Republican, not funny) Colbert was at the dinner, he still did the same thing he does every night. Criticizing Colbert's performance for being too political, pointed, or over-the-top is kind of like criticizing Robin Williams for being too hairy. If you ask either comic to come, what you can expect is pretty obvious.