Y’know that thing where you’re at a party with someone you kinda know, and you both have a lot in common, and you both have the same interests, and you both work in the same industry, and you have lots of the same friends, and you’re both charismatic, so you’re trying to make everyone laugh and act polite, but the person is really, really driving you nuts, so you get progressively more and more passive-aggressive until you’re both grinning but clearly want to throttle each other, and everyone is uncomfortable?
That’s basically what happened over the course of Stephen Colbert’s interview with Bill Maher last night. There were early signs of tension when Maher said some bigoted stuff about Muslims. Then it got worse when Maher said Stephen’s Catholicism meant he “believe[s] intellectually embarrassing myths from the Bronze Age” (“y’see, my religion teaches me humility,” Colbert retorted, a grin pasted on his face). Then it all really jumped the rails when they started arguing about whether primary elections count as meaningful elections and Maher called Colbert “Steve,” to which he replied, “Who the f*#k is ‘Steve’?” and giggled combatively for the delightfully tense remaining minutes.