Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that this news satire pokes fun at conservative political viewpoints, borrowing much of its in-your-face style (and many of its patriotic graphics) from more serious Fox News programs like The O'Reilly Factor. The show's self-important host, Stephen Colbert (played by comedian Stephen Colbert), thumbs his nose at political correctness and generally abhors anything with the slightest scent of liberalism. He's also known for openly criticizing his guests and sharing passionately misguided opinions, most of which lead to absurd conclusions. (For example, while speaking out about the dangers of Mother's Day, he says with deadpan sincerity: "If kids want to do something nice for their mother, that's fine. But for me to join in, it is incest. And it is wrong.")
Witty banter sometimes vamps into sexual innuendo, and Colbert often hawks a made-up product, Formula 401, which consists of his own "DNA" (for those looking for sperm donors). Topical subjects, such as abortion and gay marriage, are often part of the discussion.
No violence to speak of, though the show covers current events, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Swearing ("crap," "bitch") pops up occassionally. More serious words are bleeped out, usually for comic effect.
Nothing is sacred, and the show takes a fairly cynical attitude toward politics, government, and just about every other institution in America -- though Colbert also uses his considerable influence to benefit causes from the U.S. military to nonprofit organizations that give money to schools.
The show plugs its own website at least once during each episode. Other products are shown if they've made the headlines. Colbert has made on-air pleas to companies like Apple to send him free goods (like a new iPad) and then praised them later; he's also had different segments of his show sponsored (like when Doritos sponsored his run for the presidency in 2008) -- although it's ostensibly meant to mock product placement, it results in some pretty nice plugs for the companies involved.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Some references to drinking and smoking, and Colbert has done both on camera -- usually as the punchline to some kind of joke.