Tim Washer. Keynote Speaker + Event Emcee

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How Many Stephen Colberts Are There?


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The New York Times Magazine article suggests there are three Stephen Colberts.  I’d submit that there are four, considering the hip-hop Colbert who performed Empire State of Mind with Alicia Keys. (thanks Matt McMahon!)

A few years back Tom Purcell, executive producer of The Colbert Report (pictured next to Dr. Colbert ) taught a writing class at the P.I.T.  He spent six Saturday afternoons with us reviewing how the staff approaches writing The Word and the other classic bits, and generously offered to extend the class a few more weeks to help us develop our writer’s packet.  I managed to write a few pieces I was happy with, including one for the Threat Down segment, but struggled with insecurity to finish a strong packet.

I’ll accept David Meerman Scott’s challenge to make 2012 the year of courage.

The Colbert Bump


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I spent two months’ of Saturdays in a class taught by the head writer for The Colbert Report, Tom Purcell. After the class ended, Tom decided to spend an additional three weeks with us, which says a lot about his generosity, or maybe the dimwittedness of our class.

It focused on developing a packet to submit to the show, but the lessons Tom shared have been a huge help in writing a few recent corporate viral videos. Here’s a sample I wrote for the “Threat Down,” a segment where Colbert convinces his audience that some innocuous issue will kill us all.

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Threat #1: Speedos

It’s the biggest scandal to rock Olympic swimming since 1932, when an IOC investigation revealed that 400 meter backstroke gold medalist Babe Didrikson Zaharias was a mermaid.

[OTS: (Over The Shoulder graphic) Speedo LZR suit]

The New York Times reports that since Speedo introduced its LZR Racer swimsuit designed with input from NASA, swimmers wearing it have broken 22 world records. The Italian national team coach Alberto Castagnetti said using Speedo’s LZR suit was “technological doping.”

Nation, when does a swimsuit have too much technology? When the athlete wearing it can out-swim a tiger shark.  [Full Frame mock-up of three medal winners on Olympic podium, two guys in Speedos, and on the lowest tier wearing the bronze medal is a sulking Jabber Jaws. ]

These souped-up swim trunks are just a couple of gadgets away from transforming our athletes into full on aqua-robots. And as this integration of artificial and natural systems continues, by the time the games return to Helsinki, these NASA/Speedo swimming Symbiotes will have enough power to accomplish superhuman feats, such as winning eight gold medals, or devouring Cleveland.

[OTS: mock-up of Venom, symbiote from Spiderman II wearing Speedo and USA swim cap.]