The Late Show with Stephen Colbert launched in early September. Arguably, the first bit to go viral is his satirical announcement of a men’s lifestyle brand in the vein of Preserve, Draper James and Goop. It feels a little closer to The Colbert Report in tone because in this new batch of late night talk show hosts, celebrities aren’t made fun of. They can be made to do silly things, or “embarrassed”, or have to lip synch, but they are never mocked. Ever. I thought that sarcastic fury would have ended with Letterman, but maybe not?
Colbert’s take on lifestyle is good-natured but biting – he mocks not just the celebrities cashing in, but the readers and shoppers who frequent the sites. Since he has a lifestyle, Stephen has decided to launch Covetton House (f-ck me, that actually sounds like a celebrity brand), where he introduces ludicrous products in his “living room” on a tasteful beige couch placed in the woods. Stephen’s real problem with lifestyle seems to be the cynicism of it, along with the blatant consumerism wrapped up in vague promises of health, wellness, fulfillment and an authentic experience. Of course the idea that a celebrity could make anyone’s life easier/more enriched/healthier is wishy-washy at best, but it’s also the entire basis of all of these sites, which is easy to forget. Stephen’s take is sharp, particularly because celebrities aren’t the only butt of the joke – all of the people who shop these sites looking for an identity in a product line absorb the brunt of his comedy.
The products he highlights for Covetton -- like a hand-crafted tie stand and hand-touched suede coasters -- are supposed to be ridiculous and fake (and they are). But for me, the problem with the bit is that it wasn’t outrageous enough – I actually believe that one of these sites would sell a hand-crafted tie stand if it were made in Brooklyn.
The video made a bit of a wave when it was released, and now Goop has responded with their own satirical bit:
6 Fail-Proof Tips for Launching a Men’s Lifestyle Site. Click here to read it. (They also give a shout-out to Snoop Dogg’s new marijuana-themed lifestyle site, Merry Jane. Which I think is real?!)
Gwyneth and team’s 6 tips include a mention of gold plated juicers, vaginal steaming and the infamous Goop cleanses, along with a wink at her reputation for being snobby, image obsessed, out of touch, elitist, and materialistic.
The response is, in a way, the real Gwyneth. This is the Gwyneth who grew up inside. She knows everyone, and is always, always in on the joke. This is the Gwyneth who doesn’t give a f-ck what normals think, because the right people, the important people, consider her relevant to the conversation. The fact that the hottest new talk show chose to mock Goop actually adds to her superiority. Getting made fun of by Stephen Colbert is an honour. Even Gwyneth’s detractors are better than everyone else’s.