In a surreal moment of live television, comedian Stephen Colbert testified before a House Judiciary Committee today. Remaining in-character as a faux conservative ideologue, Colbert railed against illegal immigrants in front of a subcommittee about migrant farm workers.
As he continued his shtick, sullen-faced representatives stared into their Blackberries as a deafening silence overtook the room. Before he spoke, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich) asked him to leave the hearing, but somewhat inexplicably, he called Colbert back into the session to testify. "This is America," Colbert went on. "I don't want a tomato picked by a Mexican. I want it picked by an American, then sliced by a Guatemalan and served by a Venezuelan in a spa where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian."
It's not clear how Colbert's appearance was supposed to benefit the Democrats, but Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz gave a quote to Fox News which will likely be echoed in the blogosphere. "We have never, ever had a substantive discussion on any immigration issue ... and they're calling Colbert as their first guy?" Chaffetz said. "The meeting room will be packed. Everybody will want to get their picture taken with him and an autograph and what no, but we're not here to make Comedy Central look good. We do that all by ourselves."
Here's the video of his testimony followed by the reactions buzzing around Twitter:
Colbert testimony felt like a Friday in elementary school where they held class outside & recess went on for 3 hours. http://bit.ly/d0bjCI
RT @BrianFaughnan: Christine O'Donnell unqualified to join a Congress that just heard testimony from Colbert?
I'm outraged that a comedian trivialized a serious issue today, by making a bunch of internet dilettantes care about it
Colbert's testimony is his usual genius. Making a real point with buckets of satire. Farmwork: "It's really hard....Soil is at groundlevel."