Wednesday, September 04, 2013

At Long Last, The Dolan Report

As Comedy Central's Colbert Report returned from its end-of-summer hiatus last night, the revered satirical news-show blasted out of the gate with one of its most intensely desired bookings... and it didn't exactly take a set dweller to know that the sight of Tim Dolan at Stephen Colbert's interview table has been a long time coming.

Make that a very long time – the idea was pitched and has been percolating around 452 Madison for the better part of three years. Even with a standing invite to appear, though, the cardinal-archbishop of New York – no stranger to raucous humor, by any stretch – reportedly took a bit of convincing that a sit-down with the famously devout comic wouldn't descend into a "shtick" unbecoming of his office. While a key icebreaker came at a Fordham conversation the duo headlined on laughter in the spiritual life, it'd take another year before the mix of a burgeoning friendship and Colbert's ability to draw the crucial 18-49 demographic coveted by TV advertisers – and, well, much of the Stateside church, to boot – finally got Dolan on-set. (Taken in Colbert's green room, the shot above was tweeted out by the cardinal before the show aired with the message "Here are words I never thought I'd say: watch me on Comedy Central tonight.")

In any event, the timing works well for the bench-chief – ten weeks hence in Baltimore, the Gotham prelate is set to hand over the reins of the USCCB after a presidential term that's been historic and controversial by turns, but a memorable three years throughout. (As for the succession, the first part of the process – nominations submitted by the individual bishops – has already been underway over recent weeks. Around mid-month, the most frequently-cited names will be quietly asked to stand for election, and the first ten to accept will comprise the November 12th ballot.)

Now sporting a silver cross sans cufflinks in an ostensible nod to Francis – and fresh off a summer tour of Europe that, among other stops, saw him welcome the New York-based Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal to Ireland and attend the dedication of the new patriarchal cathedral of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Kiev – here's fullvid of Dolan's two-segment turn: Conclave briefing, cheering atheists, mug of "grappa" and all....

Next stop: Howard... at least, we can always hope.

SVILUPPO: If you've covered Dolan long enough, you come to learn that there's always another shoe to drop... and that's indeed the case again – fresh off last night's turn, this morning an op sent word that Colbert will be the principal speaker at this year's Al Smith Dinner, slated for October 17th, a Thursday as always.

Named in honor of the first Catholic nominee for the Presidency – a son of the Lower East Side tenements who lost to Herbert Hoover in 1928 – the annual white-tie roast at the Waldorf-Astoria is a major fundraiser for New York's Catholic Charities. In the weeks before generations of presidential elections, of course, the Al Smith is best known as the lone joint appearance made by the contenders apart from their debates, as happened again last year, to the memorable fury of Dolan's right flank.