COM 208: Tosh, Colbert & Co.


  • Use of humor – along with digital technology and social media – to reach audiences.

Daniel Tosh – Comedy Central site
Bio – Born in Germany, grew up in Titusville, Fla. Son of a preacher. Graduated from Astronaut High School in 1993.
Milestones: On July 13, 2010, Tosh.0 had 2.2 million viewers, 200,000 more than The Daily Show and 800,000 more than than the Colbert Report.

Tosh uses digital technology and social media to reach viewers

  • Tosh.0 for the iPhone
  • Text PUKE to 44686 to get the latest info on Tosh.0 sent to your phone.
  • Interaction with fans: Caption challenge, fan favorites, rename this video, what you’re saying about Tosh.0, Web redemptions.
  • Use of MySpace, Twitter, Facebook

From an April 2010 interview with Tosh:

Question: Your show Tosh O. is the second most watched cable network show in its time slot among 18-34 year old men. First, what does that say about the women who watch your show? And second, how much credit do you give to Facebook and Twitter for its growing popularity?

Answer: Both Facebook and Twitter have given us the interaction with fans and given them the opportunity to feel like they are part of the show. They have also obviously realized that the meaner they are, the more likely they are to be mentioned on the show. It’s pretty funny. In terms of the women that watch the show, it’s great that there are women that want to see someone behave the way I do for a half hour.

Question: You were born in Germany, and moved to Florida. Do you speak German?

Answer: No. My parents were having sex in Europe and gave birth to me there. I grew up in Florida and went to school there, and ended up going to University of Central Florida.

Stephen Colbert – Colbert Nation
Bio: Born in Washington, D.C. Grew up in Charleston, S.C. Youngest of 11 children. His father and two brothers were killed in an Eastern Air Lines crash in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 11, 1974. Colbert was 10.

  • One of Time’s 100 most influential people in 2006.
  • Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting in 2008.
  • 15 Primetime Emmy nominations.

Named after Colbert, according to his show’s website:

  • Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle, the mascot for the minor league hockey team Saginaw Spirit
  • Stephen Jr., a bald eagle at the San Francisco Zoo
  • Stephanie Colbertle the Turtle, a leatherback turtle in the first Great Turtle Race
  • Aptostichus Stephencolberti, a trapdoor spider
  • Air Colbert, a Virgin America jet
  • Americone Dream, a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor
  • Esteban Colbert, a very virile falcon in San Jose
  • Stelephant Colbert, an elephant seal tagged as part of a study by University of California Santa Cruz
  • Agaporomorphus Colberti, a diving beetle from Venezuela
  • A NASA treadmill called the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (C.O.L.B.E.R.T.).

Colbert connects with his audience on Facebook and other sites.
Colbert talks, his fans act.
Example: In 2010, the Colbert Nation became the main sponsor for U.S. Speedskating after the original sponsor, Dutch bank DSB, declared bankruptcy.


You see, any user can change any entry, and if enough other users agree with them, it becomes true. … If only the entire body of human knowledge worked this way. And it can, thanks to tonight’s word: Wikiality. Now, folks, I’m no fan of reality, and I’m no fan of encyclopedias. I’ve said it before. Who is Britannica to tell me that George Washington had slaves? If I want to say he didn’t, that’s my right. And now, thanks to Wikipedia, it’s also a fact. We should apply these principles to all information. All we need to do is convince a majority of people that some factoid is true. … What we’re doing is bringing democracy to knowledge.

Colbert evidently vandalized several Wikipedia pages while encouraging his fans to do the same, Wikipedia says.

White House dinner
Colbert was the featured speaker at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Standing a few feet from George W. Bush, he said:

I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound—with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.

Some people in the audience weren’t amused, but Time magazine later called it “the political-cultural touchstone issue of 2006.”

1 thought on “COM 208: Tosh, Colbert & Co.

  1. Pingback: COM 208: Midterm review | Writing • Photography • Blogs • Journalism

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