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Stephen Colbert reacts to Boston bombing

April 17, 2013|By Mary McNamara
  • Stephen Colbert discussed the Boston bombings in this intro to Tuesday night's "Colbert Report."
Stephen Colbert discussed the Boston bombings in this intro to Tuesday… (Comedy Central )

As if we needed another reason to love Stephen Colbert, his intro to Tuesday night's edition of "The Colbert Report" was pitch perfect. (A heads up: The link contains profanity.) Interrupting his own bombastic set piece lead-in, he addressed the recent bombing of the Boston Marathon with humanity and humor, lauding the people of Boston as too tough to be shaken by terrorism. "This is a city founded by pilgirms," he said as a rather grim-faced example of same flashed over his shoulder, "people so tough they buckled their hats to their head."

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Laughter, so it goes, is the best medicine, and comedians, especially those with national platforms, are by necessity multi-taskers, able to provoke and comfort in equal measure. In the days following a tragedy especially, we look to television's late-night icons to give us a voice and a context. How do we absorb the news without being paralyzed by it?

The trick, of course,  is timing and tone -- how soon is too soon, and what can the jokes reside without increasing the pain. By reminding everyone that Boston is a city as scrappy as they come, a town long able to accept what it cannot change -- the Red Sox -- and change what it can -- being a British colony -- Colbert and his writers found a way to make us to control our shared anxiety and see ourselves as survivors rather than victims. 

It was also pretty darn funny.

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