Stephen Colbert is back. Why is Nancy Pelosi appearing on his show?

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to be on Stephen Colbert's show Wednesday. Our suspicion is that she and Colbert will engage in a faux feud over super PACs.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. at a news conference on Capitol Hill Thursday, Feb. 16. Pelosi is Stephen Colbert’s scheduled Wednesday guest.

It looks like Stephen Colbert will be back on air with new shows this week. Word is he will resume taping following an unexpected break to deal with a family matter. Our long national nightmare – OK, our short minor preoccupation – of Colbert withdrawal appears at an end.

Colbert reportedly needed the time off due to the ill health of his 91-year old mother.

“My family and I would like to thank everyone who has offered their thoughts and prayers. We are grateful and touched by your concern,” Colbert tweeted on February 17. It was a rare touch of seriousness from a man who seldom appears in public without donning the armor of his bombastic comic persona.

Anyway, what we really want to talk about is this: Why is Nancy Pelosi appearing on the “Colbert Report”? The former Speaker and current House Minority Leader is Colbert’s scheduled Wednesday guest.

Our suspicion is that she and Colbert will engage in a faux feud over super PACs. Will the fur fly? How many “F”s can we work into this paragraph? Time will tell – in the future.

Colbert has an actual super PAC, of course. He set it up to highlight what he perceives as the absurdity of current campaign law. Super PACs can take unlimited donations from individuals and/or corporations, and use them in support of particular candidates, as long as they don’t actually coordinate their actions with said candidate.

Of course, it’s easy to coordinate without coordination, if you know what we mean. Nudge, nudge, wink wink. A super PAC can inform the media about what it’s going to do, secure in the knowledge the info will get passed on to its inamorata, and so forth.

Nancy Pelosi is pushing a bill called the “Disclose 2012 Act” that would force super PACs to make public more information about their donors, among other things.  To promote it, she’s trying to play off Colbert as a villain. She’s cut an ad that pretends to take Colbert’s super PAC, technically named “Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow”, at face value.

“Stephen Colbert used to be my friend,” Pelosi says as the ad begins. “I even signed the poor baby’s cast when he hurt his hand. But since the day he started his super PAC, taking secret money from special interests, he’s been out of control.”

Pelosi even criticizes Colbert for using his super PAC money “to attack my friend, Newt Gingrich”. While she says this a photo of Nancy and Newt on a sofa, taken from an ad they shot about the dangers of global warming, flashes on screen.

Why is that funny? Well, Gingrich is running for the GOP nomination, see, and he really isn’t Pelosi’s friend, and he’s getting attacked by his rivals for doing that ad in the first place.

Still not laughing? Yeah, the “Disclose” ad does suffer a bit from the fact that Nancy Pelosi is no Tina Fey. She’s got no timing and little material to work with. At one point, she says of Colbert, “I hear he doesn’t even like kittens”, in the tone of voice you might use to say, “Mr. Chairman, I move for cloture on the amendment”.

So it is going to be interesting to see how Colbert uses his blowhard schtick to create entertainment with a politician whose natural comedic talents are modest. We’re betting that actual kittens may be involved.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.