Saturday, September 25, 2010

Colbert in Congress

Comedy Central legend Steven Colbert testified before Congress yesterday to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. He was invited to appear before the committee following a one-day stint working on a farm as part of the United Farm Workers' "Take Our Jobs" campaign, which aims to highlight the contribution made by immigrant farm workers.

Colbert of course remained true to the conservative blow-hard persona featured on The Colbert Report. "This is America! I don't want a tomato picked by a Mexican. I want it picked by an American, then sliced by a Guatemalan and served by a Venezuelan in a spa where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian," he said.

His antics prompted mixed reactions from those present, with several legislators saying that it had been a mistake to invite Colbert. "I'm asking you to leave the committee room completely and submit your statement instead," said a clearly-irritated John Conyers, a Democratic representative, although he later withdrew his request. Zoe Lofgren, Chairperson of the hearing said that Colbert's appearance would "bring attention to a critically important issue for the good of the nation".

While Colbert did retain his comedic persona throughout most of his appearance, he broke character when asked by a representative why he had chosen to address the issue of migrant workers. "I like talking about people who don't have any power. And it seems like some of the least powerful people in the United States are migrant workers who come and do our work, but don't have any rights as a result," he said. "And yet we still invite them to come here and at the same time ask them to leave. And that's an interesting contradiction to me... Migrant workers suffer, and have no rights."

Colbert also took a sardonic side-swipe at those who accused him of trivialising Congress's role and the immigration issue. "I trust that, following my testimony, both sides will work together in the best interests of the American people, as you always do," he remarked dryly.

Source: The Spy Report / Daily Beast

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