What a remarkable day it was, Zoners! Stephen’s testimony for the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law created a huge stir in the media, with reactions ranging from “a disgrace,” “embarrassing,” and “cringe-worthy” to very positive. I’ve tried to round up most of the highlights for you here, but there’s a lot to cover, so grab some extra caffeine and settle in!
- HuffPo has a roundup of media reactions, and says that Stephen “nailed it” with his answer to the final question. In a separate article, they identify the seven funniest lines from Stephen’s testimony.
- The New York Times’ Caucus blog said the hearing “alternated between the serious and the absurd.” They also highlighted Stephen’s sincere answer when asked why he had an interest in the plight of migrant farm workers.
- Mediaite was less than impressed with Stephen’s testimony, calling it “cringe-worthy,” and wondering if it made a mockery of the legislative process. But a separate article says that his testimony was, at best “really smart and nuanced performance art,” and calls his serious comments at the very end “a true moment of redemption.”
- If you haven’t seen it already, CNN has a good run-down of the proceedings. If you read it earlier, the article was updated during the day to add a slightly redeeming quote from Rep. Conyers at the end: He initially asked Stephen to leave because he feared creating a circus atmosphere, but when asked later, he admitted that Stephen “actually turned out to be ‘profound.’”
- Also from CNN, an excellent column by Roy Peter Clark explaining how Stephen is the heir to social commentary in the tradition of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley. He also refers to Stephen as “this nation’s court jester.”
- Gawker’s article about the hearing includes an interesting anecdote about Rep. Steve King’s preparation, which included watching some Colbert Report clips. He said he’d ask Stephen tough questions about agricultural policy. Stephen parried those tough questions with a gay joke about corn packers. (When will they learn not to take on Stephen’s lightning-fast wit?)
- A separate Gawker article reveals that Fox News and some Republican congressmen are furious at the idea of a comedian testifying before Congress. (Shocking, I know.) The article also reveals that Rep. Steve King thought Stephen was “a liar who ‘staged’ his 10-hour workday with migrant laborers.”
- Roll Call quotes Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), who was once better known by Stephen, as being “not happy about the prospect of treating the Comedy Central host as a policy expert.”
- The L.A. Times has some excellent analysis of the day’s events, and deemed it a success: “Colbert had taken a chance… by pushing his fictional character out into the real world. He emerged from the two-hour Capitol Hill session with only modest yucks, but with his credibility intact.” The article also points out that some Congresspeople seemed to have trouble accepting the idea that “satirists are citizens too” and therefore have the same right as anyone to testify before Congress.
- Over on the other side of the big pond known as the Atlantic, the BBC, here and here, The Scotsman, and The Guardian all have coverage of Stephen’s testimony, which is quite interesting since the Report doesn’t even air in the UK.
- Time magazine does a great job describing the atmosphere of the hearing, and wins points for the title of their article: “Stephen Colbert’s Fallback Position: Expert Witness?”
- The CultureKitchen blog makes the point that few media outlets were reporting the most important part of Stephen’s testimony: the quote at the end, where he explains why he chose to support migrant farm laborers, which was a “powerful moment of Progressive Catholic activism.”
- Andrew Sullivan made Stephen his Face of the Day. I can’t say it’s the prettiest picture of Stephen I’ve ever seen, but I like that he’s making a face while using his pen as a fake mustache.
Finally, to round all this out, here’s Keith Olbermann’s commentary from “Countdown,” along with some highlights of Stephen’s testimony.
(h/t to all the Completists for their help in rounding up all this news!)