People seem to have forgotten about this thing called "satire": the use of irony and humor to make a POINT. And it tends
to be employed where and when it's "not supposed to" happen, such as
during a Congressional hearing. When wielded well, it can be quite
effective. The ability or inability to recognize satire may be THE defining characteristic of the political and cultural divide in America today.
We should all watch this again. And again.
via Gawker, 9/24/10:Stephen Colbert Testifies Before Congress, Despite Being Asked to Leave Stephen Colbert made his spontaneous, in-character appearance testifying in a House committee this morning, where he said some very nice things about migrant workers. This came after mean old Rep. John Conyers asked him to leave at the hearing's start.
Apparently Colbert fans began lining up outside of Congress around 6:30 this morning for a chance to sit in on the jam-packed Judiciary subcommittee hearing. But John Conyers, who's head of the Judiciary Committee (but not this particular subcommittee), is about 459 years old, and didn't care for all of these youthful satirical murmurs in the chamber room.
Before Colbert could speak, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) praised "The Colbert Report" – and then asked if the comedian would be willing to submit his testimony in writing and leave the hearing without speaking.
Some in the room gasped. Colbert muttered into the mic, "No hablo ingles," before straightening up and asking Lofgren, the subcommittee chairwoman, if she'd prefer if he left the room. She did not.
Conyers subsequently withdrew his request and Colbert began speaking – quickly moving past his somber prepared remarks in favor of the comedy many had turned out to see.
And then he gave a nice speech is praise of migrant workers, which Republicans chastised as "amnesty," and so on.
This, by the way, was the best anecdote about congressional preparation for this hearing:
The subcommittee's ranking member, Rep. Steve King (Iowa), told The Hill he was unfamiliar with "The Colbert Report's" format, but he had asked his staff to pull some clips so he could watch them before the hearing. He was "especially" interested in "any where [Colbert] has mentioned me."
King, who worked in agriculture during his teen years, worried that Colbert would "try to give hard work a bad name."
The lawmaker also said he wouldn't hesitate to ask Colbert tough questions about agricultural policy.
"It'll be interesting to see what he does when faced with some of the data," King said, seemingly unaware that Colbert would be playing a satirical character.
That's Steve King, staring blankly and judgmentally at Colbert during the hearing. And he did get a chance to grill Colbert, who was able to parry his attacks with one sweeping gay joke. Works every time.
Watch full Colbert testimony
Watch full hearing: Link to YouTube