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Friday
Sep242010

No Joke: Colbert Asked to Leave Congressional Hearing

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News.

UPDATE:  Stephen Colbert Takes On Congress, Sarcastically Argues For Farm Workers

(WASHINGTON) -- Stephen Colbert launched a comedy sneak attack on Congress Friday.

He submitted serious testimony for a hearing on the issue of farm workers and immigration, but when it was his turn to speak, the talk show host slipped into character as a satiricial conservative to make his points in support of more favored status for migrant farm laborers.

"This is America," he told the panel. "I don't want a tomato picked by a Mexican," he said. "We do not want immigrants doing this labor."

He tried to enter images from his colonoscopy into the Congressional Record during a riff on how Americans should eat less ruffage. Then Colbert recalled his day spent picking vegetables at an upstate New York farm earlier this summer.

On the bill dealing with immigrant workers, Colbert quipped, "Like most members of Congress, I haven't read it." He sarcastically expressed confidence that as the bill moves forward, "both sides will work together as you always do."  That was one of the rare jokes that actually drew a good laugh from the packed committee room.

Colbert then concluded his opening statement by saying, "USA, number one."

Rep. John Conyers, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was not amused. "Mr. Colbert's submitted statement was considerably different from the one that he presented," Conyers said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.

 

(WASHINGTON) -- Stephen Colbert’s appearance on Capitol Hill Friday almost ended before it ever began.  As reported Thursday, Colbert was listed as an expert witness for a House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, refugees and border security hearing on immigrant farm workers and the AgJOBS bill.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, told the subcommittee Friday morning that Colbert should leave the hearing before he’d even started testifying.
 “I’m not asking you not to talk,” Conyers told Colbert. “I’m asking you to leave the committee room completely and submit your statement instead.”  Conyers’ request drew groans from the massive crowd assembled at the hearing.

 “I think many are eager to hear his comments,” the subcommittee’s chair Zoe Lofgren told Conyers.

 After initially forgetting to turn his microphone on, Colbert responded to Conyers’ request.  “I’m here at the invitation of the chairwoman and if she would like me to remove myself from the hearing I am happy to do so,” he said.

Colbert’s involvement in the issue dates back to July when United Farm Workers president Arturo Rodriguez appeared on his show The Colbert Report. The next month Colbert traveled to pick vegetables at a farm in upstate New York, part of a campaign by the UFW to invite US citizens and legal residents to replace immigrant farm workers -- to date only seven people have done so. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.







ABC News Radio