Some go even further to allay concern that Colbert has this time taken one liberty too many and say rather than being a sign of disrespect, his candidacy may help pep up the dwindling health of American politics.
"Though it's impossible to predict its impact, it will probably broaden Colbert's act by allowing him to mock the role-playing of all the candidates, rather than just the Republicans, and could in this way generate the kind of cynicism that encourages people to believe that no one running can be trusted," Boston College's Lewis said.
A comedian aiming for the White House was a move first pioneered by Pat Paulsen almost 40 years ago. Between 1968 and 1996, Paulsen ran six times and was able to make his fight for the presidency a key part of his stand-up act. Success in politics was neither forthcoming nor desired, but Paulsen nevertheless became one of the first people to add a welcome element to politics -- tongue-in-cheek humor.
"Running for office has become so formulaic, and politicians have really lost their humor this year," public relations kingpin Howard Bragman told ABC News. "It doesn't matter that Colbert won't get many votes, as he'll bring much needed levity and pop culture."
An example of a comedian taking a joke too far may be when Andy Kaufman fought wrestling hero Jerry Lawler in the 1980s. The match outraged fight fans who took it as a mockery of their sport and a joke at their expense.
While it could be deduced from this that comedians who branch out of their comfort zone do not go down well with the cognoscenti, the fact is that Kaufman was is a very different personality to Colbert.
"Kaufman's comic persona was singularly unappealing and deliberately irritating," Lewis said. "On 'Saturday Night Live,' when he asked viewers to show their support, they voted him off the show."
It may well turn out that the nation's electorate will let Colbert have his fun. The consensus is that if Colbert keeps to his usual style, he will avoid any negative fallout from the stunt, and he may actually be the perfect fit into a world where entertainment and politics are inextricably linked.
"This is what Stephen Colbert does, and it's just his sense of humor," Saltzman said. "It's really nothing to get worked up about."