Basically, this week there was a lot of Jack Bauer in a race against time, and political intrigue involving power-hungry politicians with questionable motives.
Ok, fine. I didn’t watch the episode. At all. I tried to have my housemate Tivo it for me, but unfortunately he wasn’t home at the time. Come to think of it, the possibility remains that I’m smarter than myself and set the timer to record the episode... I’ll have to check on that when I get home, but I doubt it. I’m wily, but rarely am I able to sneak one by myself like that.
Anyway, getting to the reason I wasn’t around in the first place. I went to a taping of the Colbert Report. And it changed my life.
For a glorious 30-45 minutes I was not 50 feet away from the Greatest Living American, Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A.
It was everything I dreamed it could be. And more.
I was fortunate enough to have a seat in the front row, and when the man himself came out to riotous applause, he ran along the audience, high-fiving as he went. He struck my hand in an unmistakable gesture of solidarity! Yes, we are all here together in this studio to make this show happen. The elegant performer/audience symbiosis was in full effect. Energy was given and taken and swirled about and launched through the air with orgiastic abandon and electric wordplay.
Then it happened.
For those of you not in the know, before taping, Mr. Colbert will take questions from the audience, both to get the crowd going and to warm up his Olympian Ad-libbing skills. And he called on me! Me, Rev, the devilishly handsome boy from Utica was suddenly conversing with the heir to Captain America’s shield himself.
I asked some question that I thought was clever, but am even now rewording and editing and revising in a futile exercise of what-could-have-been. We exchanged a few sentences. The rest of the audience may have heard something different, but thanks to REVisionist history, it went like this:
Mr. Colbert: I sense a kindred spirit in you. Join me, and become invincible.
Rev: I pledge my life and soul. Your God is now my God, and your enemies shall tremble before my wrath.
Mr. Colbert: Your response pleases me. Return home, and I shall send you coded messages through your television.
Then the absolute unthinkable happened. He shook my hand. I can see it still, in slow motion. The microphone shifted to the left hand, the right arm lowering, lowering, extending, perfect fingers uncurling in a gesture of warmth and acceptance. What was happening? How am I to respond? Good God, what is my hand doing? It’s moving of its own accord! Where my thoughts have been stricken numb with the unimaginable weight of this reality, my body automatically responds with the instincts and muscle memory of someone raised in a household of courtesy and manners. I must remember to thank my parents. Oh crap, the hands are still going… And contact. It was a half second, three hundred year grasp, with one pump, and release. Lightning.
The craziest thing is I never even intended to make that paragraph so blatantly sexual. I honestly just noticed when I typed the word 'pump.' I’ve made myself slightly uncomfortable, but I take nothing back.
The rest was a blur, Mr. Colbert talked to two guests while I sat back and silently cursed the studio’s No Smoking policy. The first guest was some enviro-weirdo close talker and the other was an ultra-liberal crazy lady who couldn’t ad-lib her way out of a paper bag. She didn’t even pick up on any of the fantastic openings Mr. Colbert generously shoveled towards her.
Then it was over. The audience picked up their temporarily forgotten belongings and shuffled out into the brisk night air. We didn't say it, but we knew we were all sharing the unmistakable pangs of something glorious lost, but also the fulfillment of having witnessed history.
God Bless you, Mr. Colbert. We shall meet again someday.
God Bless the United States of America!