It doesn’t get a lot easier for the team of Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert. Following the news that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had been indicted for allegedly striking his son with a switch, Fox News’s Sean Hannity said on his eponymous program, “I don’t want to see this guy get a felony, I don’t want to see this guy lose his job.” After all, Hannity, argued that he himself was spanked by his father with a belt — a punishment that Hannity displayed for his audience. “I got it like this,” said Hannity as he whipped his belt against the counter. “I was not mentally bruised because my father hit me with a belt,” he said, noting that he never had to see a shrink.
“I think Hannity is right on this one. Adrian Peterson went too far, but the man deserves a second chance. After all, Sean’s dad whipped him with a belt and he never had to go see a psychotherapist. He just has to have them on his show three times a week,” ripped Colbert.
These are good times for “Hannity.” Colbert’s sendup completes a Comedy Central sweep for the far-right TV and radio personality, whose remarks about Peterson earlier this week received some critical attention from Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show.” Nothing out of the routine here: Hannity’s take on Ferguson, on Cliven Bundy and on many other topics have gotten robust pass-around on Comedy Central. When Hannity traveled to Israel to cover the summer conflict with Hamas, Colbert riffed on his propensity to say “literally” in live shots, an easy tic for a scripted comic to ridicule. In an interview with TVNewser, Hannity wasn’t impressed:
Look Stephen Colbert… I understand that people have their job to do. First of all, he’s not as funny as Jon Stewart. Stephen Colbert will have the lowest-rated late night show. There are issues that just aren’t funny. Terrorism isn’t funny. I didn’t see the bit. I won’t see it. I don’t care.
Maybe Stephen Colbert needs to come over here and get a dose of reality. He sits in the comfort of his studio, reading jokes written for him by 30 writers. So, I have a challenge for Stephen Colbert: I’ll pay for your flight. I’ll pay for your hotel, your meals. Then you sit on the border. You talk to the people. You sit across from the mother of an Israeli solider who was killed, and then make a joke about it.
Tough words there. Yet Hannity has a stronger rebuttal for his Comedy Central detractors, and it involves public documents. In April, Stewart ran a satire on Hannity’s outraged segments on the spring break scene in the Florida panhandle, specifically Panama City Beach. The treatment was hilarious and much shared on social media. Hannity and his cohort came off as moralizing and hypocritical.
And effective, too. The Erik Wemple Blog today got in touch with our contacts in Panama City Beach, and it turns out that the city council next week will consider three ordinances that stem from a review of spring break madness prompted by the Hannity segments. One would roll back the cutoff for sales of alcohol from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m. next March; another would require a government-issued ID for possession of alcoholic beverages on Sandy Gulf Beach; and a third would place restrictions on special events, at which spring breakers commonly get terribly drunk and do stupid things. The big-government dimension of these initiatives may not please the conservative Hannity, but he’s at least having an impact on local politics. Let’s see the Comedy Central guys make fun of that.