With his trademark brand of faux-right wing punditry, Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert testified to a hearing of the House Judiciary subcommittee today on farm jobs and immigrant workers. Colbert delivered several strong jabs, though kept most of his politics under wraps. (Scroll down for video 1)
"America's farms are presently far too dependent on immigrant labor to pick our fruits and vegetables," said Colbert in his opening statement. "Now the obvious answer is for all of us to stop eating fruits and vegetables, and if you look at the recent obesity statistics, you'll see that many Americans have already started."
Before Colbert even had a chance to read his statement, however, there was some question of whether or not he would even get a chance to do so. Democrat John Conyers of Michigan thanked Colbert for his presence and for bringing attention to the subcommittee hearing and then politely asked him to pack his things and leave. Colbert was clearly taken aback by the request but did not exit the chamber after Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the committee chair and the person who invited Colbert to testify, stepped in on his behalf (Scroll down for video 2)
Depending on where you get your news, Colbert either killed it or fell flat. Fox News reported, "Colbert fails to amuse lawmakers" while the NY Daily News headline reads: "Stephen Colbert cracks up Congress with testimony..."
But whether you thought his testimony was a waste of the Judiciary Committee's time (as did Michigan's John Conyers, a Democrat) or if you lapped up every word of his carefully-crafted statement, Colbert did one thing today in his opening statement that few reporters, or anyone else for that matter, has had the ability (or desire) to do, as David Dayen of Firedoglake writes, "Colbert gives more attention to Farmworkers' struggle than any other reporter in half a century." Watch it and decide for yourself:
Watch as Rep. Conyers skillfully butters up Colbert before dropping the bomb (jump to 25:00 in the video for the exchange).