Friday, September 24, 2010

Stephen Colbert Appears, in Character, Before Congress

If you've been watching or reading the news recently, you’re already aware that earlier today Comedian Stephen Colbert, known for his stint on The Daily Show and his own mock-news program The Colbert Report, appeared today before a subcommittee of the House of Representatives.

Colbert was on the calendar for the House Committee on the Judiciary to make a statement before the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law. The remarks were intended to speak to Colbert's one-day experience working alongside migrant laborers, an effort designed to encourage legislative leniency toward illegal immigrants performing in jobs that are undesirable to many American citizens.

Not surprisingly, Colbert's prepared comments, linked to from the calendar above, were a much more conservative preview of the comedian's actual statement before the committee.

The C-SPAN Video Archive offers the complete Subcommittee hearing for viewing online, or, embedded below, is the portion primarily featuring Colbert.

These spoken remarks are making their way around the Internet, but transcripts of the comments will eventually find their way into government sources, including the Subcommittee's Web site, the official published version of the hearing, and in turn, into clearinghouses of government information such as GPO's FDsys and in LexisNexis Congressional.

An interesting side note is that while this may be his first appearance before Congress, Stephen Colbert has been mentioned several times by congressional members and witnesses. A search in LexisNexis Congressional reveals that:
  • Colbert's use of the word "frenemy" was cited by Dr. Derek Reveron of the U.S. Naval War College in a 2007 hearing of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
  • In July 2009, the House Subcom. on Space and Aeronautics, Committee on Science and Technology's hearing on "Enhancing the Relevance of Space To Address National Needs" made note of Colbert's campaign to have an International Space Station node named after him.*
  • Stephen Colbert has been named or quoted in hearings of The Defense Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the House Committee on Education and Labor, and in a joint meeting of the Senate Finance Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
For a comedian trafficking in political humor and current events, it's hard to knock that kind of credibility.

*That effort went unapproved, but NASA did offer up the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill -- or the COLBERT, for short.

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