Stephen Colbert Almost Kicked Out of Hearing on Capitol Hill
By Donovan Slack, Globe Staff
At least one lawmaker was not amused.
Comedian Stephen Colbert had barely seated himself at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing this morning when US Representative John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan, asked him to leave. Conyers said the committee had not seen so many reporters at a hearing since presidential impeachment proceedings in the late 1990s, and he wanted Colbert to leave so that the committee could carry on with its work.
Colbert, however, did not budge, saying that he was present at the invitation of the hearing chair, US Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California. But Colbert said if Lofgren wanted him to leave, he would.
Lofgren said she wanted him to stay, and a good portion of Capitol Hill was glued to broadcasts of the hearing.
The hearing was about illegal immigrants and farm work. Colbert, host of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, recently spent one day working on a farm.
Colbert, who got five minutes to share what he called his “vast knowledge” of farm labor, began by touching on the effect of his presence.
“I certainly hope that my star power can bump this hearing all the way up to C-SPAN1,” he quipped.
His testimony at times bordered on the absurd.
“The obvious answer is for all of us to stop eating fruits and vegetables,” he said at one point. At another, he said, “Maybe the easier answer is to have scientists create vegetables that pick themselves.”
Colbert did include one seemingly serious notion.
“Maybe we could offer more visas to the immigrants, who lets face it, will probably be doing these jobs anyway,” he said before thanking the committee for allowing him to testify.