NEW YORK - As promised yesterday, here is a link to the video from my appearance on The Colbert Report. It's hard to come up with exactly the right word to describe what it feels like to be on Stephen's show. It's somewhere between fun and excruciating -- and really, it's both at the same time (does saying that make me a masochist?).
Before the show, Stephen came by the green room to say hello and chat. He's much different off the air than on, in that he's not in character. The first time I went on (2 years ago) he made sure I understood his character is satirical (apparently, some guests -- mostly conservatives -- don't get the joke). This time around we just chatted about other things, and traded a few stories about living in the Willard dorm at Northwestern, where we both went to college.
When I was brought out to the stage, I think he could tell that I was nervous and he yelled out to the crowd "are you ready Sirota?" That calmed me down a bit -- sorta took the edge off. But then when he came over and started doing the interview, I knew I was in for it. You'll notice in the clip above that he's aggressive right out of the gate, not letting me get out a full sentence for a little bit.
The trick of the show -- which I'm curious if you think I succeeded in mastering -- is getting your message across while not coming off as too serious and a party pooper.
I wasn't worried so much that he would humiliate me a la Bill Kristol as I was that I would have trouble trying to convey what the book is about. I was even more concerned about that with this appearance on his show, because my new book THE UPRISING is more of a nuanced story than my first book, which is more talking-point-able.
I thought the funniest moment in the interview was when Colbert called me Che Guevara, and asked whether I was looking forward to college students having my face on their t-shirts. It's inquiries like that which really throw you off. Such "questions" make the show hilarious but also make it impossible to prepare for his show -- and make the lead up to being on his show more than a bit nerve-wracking.
I'm curious to know what you think -- post your reviews in the comments here. If you like the clip, pass it on to your friends and let them know about the book. As I've always said, getting this book out there is going to be a grassroots campaign - and as you can see from the schedule, I'm trying to use the book as a tool to work with and build local grassroots groups. The Colbert Report is merely one of the vehicles to get the word out. You can get the book at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or through your local independent bookstore.
On Monday, I'll be posting a combined update on my events in Connecticut and at the Riverside Church tonight here in New York (details here). I'll also post on my new column this week and on the first book excerpt that has now been published - they are both related to the Iraq War.