Julie MarshWhat did California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren expect when she invited comedian Stephen Colbert to testify before the House immigration panel? Moreover, who looks most ridiculous -- Lofgren, Colbert, or everyone else on the House floor who apparently checked their sense of humor at the door?
I adore Stephen Colbert, but he shouldn't have been there. Specifically, Lofgren shouldn't have invited him. He behaved as his fans expected him to, not as Congress expected him to.
Who can blame him? He's a comedian, not a subject matter expert on immigration issues.
Some have railed against both Lofgren and Colbert for this performance. Others think it was inspired. Kathryn Wilson at Tonic maintained that Colbert's presence brought attention to a bill that was largely unknown. Bradley Blakeman at FOXNews raged: "His 'testimony' was an embarrassment to himself, his country, the Congress, and the entire issue of immigration reform. It amounted to nothing more than a bad comedic monologue."
Well, of course it was (though I take issue with it being described as "bad"). Tirdad Derakhshzni of the Philadelphia Inquirer plainly stated: "Colbert stayed in character the whole time. And he was in fine form." Truly, if it weren't for the different background and the occasional shots of sour-faced Congressman Steve King, I would have thought it was an episode of Colbert's show.
Colbert doesn't champion issues; he makes fun of government. He's drawn the ire of commentators simply by doing what he does.
But I expect he doesn't care if folks like Bradley Blakeman weren't amused. Because his fans were, and for Colbert, that's what matters.