Stephen Colbert Lampoons Democratic Debate VR Broadcast Inside a Gear VR


A mainstay of US TV for years, The Late Show has joined the ranks of mainstream media outlets to feature VR on their show, and then tak the piss out of it. Exploring the recent news that CNN will be broadcasting the live democratic presidential candidate debate in VR, powered by NextVR technology, Colbert dons a Gear VR headset to see what all the fuss is about.

Virtual reality is coming, and one sure way to tell is the amount of airspace the technology receives in the mainstream media, and better still, how much time satirists and comedians spend making fun of it.

Political satirist Stephen Colbert, whose show The Colbert Report was a critical and popular success for Comedy Central before taking the reigns on the Late Show on CBS, took the opportunity of poking fun at this latest intersection of cutting-edge technology and dusty politics. Donning a Samsung Gear VR headset, he points out over a series of jokes how pointless seems to him.


CNN have announced that they’re to “make history” on October hosting the first-ever live stream of a news event in virtual reality. The network is partnering with virtual reality technology platform NextVR to stream the CNN Democratic Presidential Debate live, in full “3D immersive virtual reality”, from Las Vegas, NV.

The Republican debate earlier in September also saw NextVR’s camera array, which recorded the event in 3D 180-degrees from several vantage points. Since the Democratic debate is going to be livestreamed, you’ll be able to catch all the political gaffs and, audience reactions as if you were actually there.

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • DieselVR

    BTW This was on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, not the Colbert Report. He’s taken over from David Letterman.

  • vrepl

    ‘Wow, I see the same stuff on TV’ – this sentence says all… VR without real interaction (tracking, ability to move, and at least hands VR controller) is nothing but funny gimmick for a minute of fun. It cannot by any means compete with developed by decades traditional ways of gaming, and other entertainment. Screen with 100 FOV is just not enough. And mobile VR is just a mistake.

    • David Mulder

      Did you try it? Because watching a show all around you is quite amazing, even with no interaction at all. Of course it makes little sense for a political debate (there is always just a single non-visual point of focus), but the same is not true for even a simple recorded tour through a museum or a battle scene in a movie. Just the feeling of presence on its own already makes a huge difference.

  • vrepl

    Yes. I tried it (mobile VR) – and it was like childrens toy (for me, long-term player gamer, and for many people whom I show this) – nothing interesting for serious consumer. We need real VR games (not those from android), real VR movies etc. Until we have them, there will be no VR for masses.
    We are used to quick, dumb, cheap entertainment (games from console for example…) – and VR is not like that. You have to use imagination, really sink into imaginary world. it is return to 80′, 90′ so it will require serious content, not demos or contents from flat screens.

    • Will

      Funny – everyone I’ve shown it to was ecstatic. Also, Android VR seems to offer precisely the “quick, dumb, cheap entertainment” you say people are used to.

      • vrepl

        Well, evidently I live in less ‘ecstatic’ environment :)