In a rather annoying effort to make a mountain out of a molehill, POLITICO has taken a good look at Stephen’s recent interactions with Congress and concluded that Congress wants nothing more to do with him, with last Friday’s testimony in front of the House subcommittee as the last straw.
Congress Cools on Stephen Colbert
By Erika Lovley & Marin Cogan, Posted 9/30/10 4:33 AM EDT
Members of Congress have been fooled time after time after time by Stephen Colbert, and after last week’s mockery, they have a message for the satirist who makes a living lampooning them: Colbert, you’re dead to us.
Colbert’s act had steadily been losing cachet on Capitol Hill, but his spoof testimony merely accelerated a pending divorce.
Lawmakers and their aides are repeatedly turning down requests for “The Colbert Report,” political advisers are suggesting members avoid Colbert like the plague and the infamous “Better Know a District” segment that put Colbert on the map on Capitol Hill appears to be dying out.
The issue for most of the Congressional representatives who have turned down requests for interviews, or regret doing a past interview (hello Rep. Lynn Westmoreland), is the heavily selective editing that can make them look stupid. What they don’t seem to realize is that Stephen works with the material he’s given. If they’re sharp enough to withstand Stephen’s ridiculous line of questioning and they’re open to being silly and making fun of themselves, then the final edited interview will be a success. But if they give Stephen enough ammunition, they can certainly wind up looking foolish.
Not all past BKAD participants were worried about how an appearance on the Report would affect their reputation. Many of them say they knew what they were getting into when they agreed to be interviewed, and weren’t concerned about negative feedback.
Still, other members say the opportunity to connect with — and appear cool to — younger voters is too alluring to pass up… Members who dared to go on — including Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) — say they knew what they were getting into.
“He’s a good, fun guy if you’re OK with getting made fun of. You never know how you’re going to respond to a question,” said Chaffetz, who appeared on the show in 2009. “But I like self-deprecating humor.”
. . .
Pascrell has the bluntest message for his Colbert-hating colleagues: “Aw, give me a break, would you please? We’ve got serious problems — come on, look! We took ourselves so seriously, people’s expectations rose, and we couldn’t meet them. ‘Get a life,’ I tell those people.”
Here’s where I have a problem with this article: the authors make it seem like the declining number of BKAD segments and the reaction to Stephen’s testimony on Capitol Hill are related and add up to a soured relationship. But the BKAD segments have been dwindling over time, and the number was fairly low well before Stephen’s appearance before the subcommittee last week. As Stephen himself has said, the congressional representatives know what he’s up to now and are reluctant to put themselves in a position where they might say something they’ll regret, or worse, that could could cost them reelection. I can understand their reluctance to appear, but I’m disappointed that one of the most popular segments of the show could disappear because of Congressional cowardice. I think it’s going too far to say that it proves that Congress is done with Stephen.
Here’s one of my favorite BKAD segments, which shows that an interview with an it-getter who understands how to play along with Stephen can get hilarious results.