Comedian Stephen Colbert commandeered a hearing on migrant farm workers with lewd one-liners Friday morning, creating a public relations pile-up at the tail end of a legislative session that is limping into a pre-election recess.
It was lost on no one that the Comedy Central faux news anchor delivered his off-color rant against the backdrop of the House canceling floor votes for the rest of this week as Democratic leaders struggle to reach consensus on how to move a simple stopgap spending bill that will prevent the government from shutting down on Oct. 1.
"I would like to submit a video of my colonoscopy into the Congressional Record," he told mortified lawmakers at one point. "Sorry for saying cornpacker, I know it's an offensive term for gay Iowans," he told conservative Iowa Rep. Steve King. He made reference to getting a "Brazilian" — a wax-based hair-removal service in a very delicate area of the body — from a Chilean at a spa serving tomatoes sliced by a Guatemalan.
Colbert’s comedic rant was also a sleight of hand – his “prepared” testimony was passed out to the media before he spoke, and it was a bland, seemingly straightforward speech on migrant workers in America.
Asked about whether the comedian’s appearance before a House panel Friday morning was appropriate, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she hadn’t seen it but applauded him for testifying before Congress...
[I]t's not as if some Democrats on the committee couldn't see the disaster coming.
Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) implored Colbert to simply enter his testimony into the record without speaking.
Some in the room gasped. Colbert muttered into the mic: “No hablo Ingles,” before straightening up and asking Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the subcommittee chairwoman, if she’d prefer if he left the room.
@Chuck Todd has been wringing his hands for hours. Rough translation:
Lawdy, lawdy lawdy!! Bring me the smellin' salts Miss Mellie, I almost like to daaaah! Ah have nevah been so appalled in mah laaaahf! Why, po Aunt Pittypat fainted dead awaaay!
Of course in a world where Glenn Beck is considered a serious political figure, I suppose you can't blame them for not getting the joke.
Via Peter Daou, here's the testimony along with a trip back in time to the best moment of the dark years of the Bush administration: