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Stephen Colbert's testimony: Mocking Congress?

September 27, 2010 | 10:00 am

Colbert House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer confirmed Sunday that Democrats can be just as cranky as Republicans when being made fun of on their own turf. According to the New York Daily News:

Even some Democrats thought Stephen Colbert's Capital Hill routine was more gaffe than goof.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called the Comedy Central star’s bit, which had some laughing and others groaning last week, "not appropriate."

"I think it was an embarrassment for Mr. Colbert more than the House," the Maryland politician said on "Fox News Sunday."

"What he had to say was not the way it should have been said," Hoyer added.

The "Colbert Report" funnyman was invited to testify before the House Judiciary Committee by Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a move that rankled some.

"I think that he mocked the hearing process," Rep. Steve King, a Republican from Iowa, said after the hearing on Friday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi supported Colbert.

King's reaction is in line with the Beltway consensus that Colbert made a "mockery" of Congress with his satirical testimony on immigration reform. King, who confessed he had never watched "The Colbert Report" in the past, was evidently so unprepared for some face-to-face humor that he ordered his staff to flag any unflattering footage Colbert may have aired of him.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) preempted everyone else's crankiness by inviting the comedian to leave the House Judiciary Committee hearing before he could speak. Conyers and his colleagues looked every bit the part of elderly curmudgeons protecting their lawn as they sat poker-faced during Colbert's act, while their younger aides, seated behind them, cracked a few smiles and laughs.  

I'm not a regular Colbert viewer; I probably take in more hours of early-morning rebroadcasts of congressional hearings on C-SPAN than late-night Comedy Central. But I'll give Colbert this: If there's any issue for which Congress deserves some face-to-face mockery, it's immigration reform.

-- Paul Thornton

Photo: Stephen Colbert. Credit: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

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