I hear Stephen Colbert is running for president—yay! But I am kind of upset about it. I'm addicted to the show, and doesn't he have to go off the air or something if he becomes a political candidate? I hope not!
—John, South Carolina
The B!tch Replies: Turn off the hysterics, kid. You sound like Chris Crocker just lost his favorite Wet n Wild eyeliner during a slap-off with Clay Aiken.
Chances are, Colbert will remain in your face as both host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report and his serpentine-haired alter ego, Tek Jansen, for many years to come. The Federal Communications Commission, which regulates candidate access to television and radio, assures this B!tch it's unlikely to give the matter as much thought as you already have.
For those of you not paying attention, Colbert recently announced his bid for the presidency, saying he will run in his home state of South Carolina. He has said he will try to get on the ballot as both a Republican and a Democrat. The New York Times has reported that Colbert already has people in that state working to get him signed up all proper with the right authorities.
Now, the FCC has rules about all candidates having equal access to television and radio. If one politico gets a certain amount of love from, say, ABC, then so must all the others, the ruling goes. That's why Fred Thompson's Law & Order reruns were scuttled by NBC after the actor announced his presidential ambitions on Leno. (I hear TNT is still running the episodes, if you really miss a guy whose acting range runs from gruff to stern.)
Despite those rules, the FCC is unlikely to nail Comedy Central about that regular 30 minutes it gives to Colbert. The commission would only get involved if another candidate, say, John Edwards, tried to claim equal airtime, failed and then came bawling to the FCC with his Boy Scout coif all a-tremble.
The network, in turn, would probably pull Colbert's show so it wouldn't have to offer another 30 minutes a day to Edwards. And another 30 to Obama. And another 30 to Hillary, even though she'd probably entertain me a lot more than the cast of Reno 911. It's not a small consideration: In 1994, Howard Stern ran for governor of New York as a Libertarian, but he dropped out before any FCC equal-time regulations could interfere with his three-plus hours of daily airtime.
The chances of a Colbert Report-free America actually happening, however, are about as massive as Karl Rove's pea-size, coal-like heart. After all, an FCC spokesman tells this B!tch, "No candidate wants to be the one to tell America, You can't see this program anymore."
Especially because Colbert is a comedian, not a bona fide minion of Bill O'Reilly or a serious contender for political office. (You do know Colbert doesn't really carry a mortal fear of bears and an obsession with an ex named Charlene, right? You do know most of what he says if for laughs?)
"The candidacy," reminds political analyst Larry Sabato, author of A More Perfect Constitution, "is a joke."