It’s true – Stephen Colbert is going to testify before Congress in character. He’s scheduled to appear Friday before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law.
The hearing is titled “Protecting America’s Harvest," and it’s supposed to start at 9:30, but Congress generally runs a bit behind schedule and Mr. Colbert is listed fourth on the witness list, behind a political science professor from Vanderbilt. So you probably don’t have to look in until 11 or so if you want to catch him on the webcast.
And a lot of people will want to watch, which is the point of having him, after all. We’re sure all the other testimony will be very, uh, interesting, but don’t you want to know what a fictional blowhard TV pundit will say about “Protecting America’s Harvest”? He’ll probably start off by asking Congress to organize militias to help guard America’s crop of butternut squash.
Actually, there apparently is a real connection here: Colbert had the head of the United Farm Workers, Arturo Rodriguez, on his show in July, and accepted the “Take Our Jobs” challenge from Mr. Rodriguez. This challenge called for Colbert to take the job of an immigrant farm worker for a day or so, to demonstrate how hard that work is. The UFW posits that American citizens don’t want to have to underake this kind of labor anymore.
As Colbert said on his show Wednesday night, “Is farm work something Americans will do? Depends. Do corn fields have WiFi?”
So Colbert went to the Gill Corn Farm in Hurley, N.Y, to investigate. And if the stuff he’s broadcast so far is any indication, the Democrats who invited him to testify don’t know what they’re getting into.
Yes, he’ll get lots of attention. But he’s a comedian – you don’t know what he’ll say.
“The immigrant job I was hoping for was Mexican wrestler,” he said Wednesday night in his first report on his Gill Corn Farm experience.
“This all seems fairly archaic to me,” said Colbert. “We don’t get our food from farms any more. We get it from grocery stores.”
As you might expect, not every lawmaker is happy about fictional characters giving Congress expert advice.