September 26th, 2010
10:03 AM ET
12 years ago

House leader says Colbert testimony was 'not appropriate'

Washington (CNN) - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said comedian Stephen Colbert embarrassed himself last week when he testified before Congress.

"I think his testimony was not appropriate," Hoyer told FOX News Sunday host Chris Wallace.

Colbert, the popular host of "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central, spoke in character before members of a House judiciary subcommittee Friday to bring attention to the conditions facing undocumented farm workers. Colbert often spoke sarcastically, prompting laughter in the hearing room and drawing Republicans' scorn.

Colbert was invited to testify by the subcommittee chairwoman, California Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren.

Hoyer said on FOX that the testimony "was an embarrassment for Colbert more than for the House."

"What he had to say I think was not the way it should have been said," Hoyer said. "If he had a position on the issues he should have given those issues."

Hoyer said this was his "personal opinion." His views differed from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called Colbert's testimony "great."

"He's an American. He comes before the committee. He has a point of view," Pelosi said Friday. "It can bring attention to an important issue like immigration. I think it's great."

Filed under: Steny Hoyer • Stephen Colbert
soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. Medardus

    What I think was "not appropriate" was the panel sniping back and forth about how long they have to read a bill before a vote. What was "not appropriate" was Mr. Colbert being asked to leave at the conclusion of his statement.

    September 26, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  2. Mary B

    Before Steven talked the talk, he went and walked the walk. How many others in the House can say that? (Besides Rep. Lofgren)

    September 26, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. Gpenn

    Were they expecting Colbert to be any different. If this was going to be a problem. They never should have invited him.

    September 26, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I have to agree with former President George W. Bush when he said "there are jobs out there but the problem is that most Americans don't want them", he was referring to the jobs that Mexican have like picking vegetables, cleaning hotels/toilets and homes, taking care of your children and many others. Americans feel they are above these kind of labor jobs even those who have no education. Go to work and stop complaing, jobs are out there.

    September 26, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Dennis DeMott

    Cobert is an entertainer and a comedian, just doing his job. Why was he invited to testify in front of congress anyway? A free show? He is funny and sharp witted and adds nothing but humor, not wisdom. Why should anyone to express suprise and or outrage that he did not take his "testimony" serious.That he may have flubbed a little bit is understandable, after all it was not exactly the Comedy Club and there were no "second takes" or editing

    September 26, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. LouAz

    Hey, it is all about ratings. Hoyer's are way lower than Colbert's. Colbert had a hard time keeping a straight face while looking at the Congressional Representatives.It was very clear who was the smartest person in the room.

    September 26, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. Mike F

    Hoyner just didn't like that Colbert was poking fun at the the fact that his committee is too busy playing politics than addressing the issues that they've been sent there to fix. Stop making inane statements AND DO YOUR FLIPPIN' JOB!!!

    September 26, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. mtrought

    the GOP/tea Party has been a major embarassment for the freedom and equal opportunity that america espouses. Colbert act was completely idiotic and nonsensical

    September 26, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. paul

    I though Colbert was hilarious and he made Washington look like the joke it truly is. The embarrassment is with these morons in Congess.....and having grown up in Maryland, I know what a total joke Steny Hoyer is.

    September 26, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. NVa Native

    Colbert is great for those of us who enjoy intelligent and clever comedy based on the "stupidity" of the rest of the publice. Especially Repubs who worship "truthiness".
    Like claiming Obama has raised taxes when actually last year Obama LOWERED taxes to a historical low for several generations. .... oh ... wait that's just a shameless Republican / Fox / ditto-head lie.

    September 26, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. Texrat the Crypticum Keeper

    In these Orwellian times, satire is the clearest message. Thank God for Stephen Colbert.

    And you're quite incorrect, Dennis DeMott (and others). There is significant wisdom in Colbert's words, but the witless won't see it.

    September 26, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. Eric-31m

    If I remember correctly, not only were Republicans annoyed, but a Democrat asked Colbert to leave.

    September 26, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  13. Fran

    Actually, Colbert did an excellent job representing my sentiments about this topic. He made valid points, albeit not in the usual dry way congress is used to, but valid nonetheless. And why, may I ask, is CNN quoting people from FOX non-news? If you must interview journalists at least interview a real one from a publication or station that actually report news instead of speculation and opinion. (if one exists.....) Heaven forbid we have people testify to congress in an entertaining and thoughtful way. Let's keep it dry so the american public continues to not pay attention.

    September 26, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  14. Spoonless Eddie, CT, USA

    Hoyer and his remark both are inappropriate. It demonstrates the condescending, out-of-touch elitist attitude voters are fed up with. At least I am. Colbert is 100 times more in touch with taxpayers that all of Congress put together, and I say this in a genuinely bipartisan manner. He has to be. His livelihood depends on it.

    September 26, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. Billy D Williams Lookin' Mofo

    Oh, Congressman Hoyer, I'm sure your denunciation will be a big hit with your fellow lackeys on the Hill. But out here beyond the Beltway, many of us appreciate Colbert using whatever rhetorical gifts he has to bring attention to the fact that we still allow slavery in this country. I'm sure your state's (Maryland) agricultural interests will throw you a bone or two for this one. I hope your constituents vote your worthless, compromised ass out of office first chance they get.

    September 26, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  16. exposo

    A lot of people from across the country go to these hearings like pilgrims to the Mecca. They want to see the government of their country at work. They expect to encounter an august and solemn atmosphere and that exactly what whey should get, not some wisecracking comedian making a mockery of it all. The people who invited this guy do not belong in office.

    September 26, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  17. John M

    The Democrats did something brilliant; allowing Stephen Colbert
    to testify before congress. The result might have been a bread and
    circuses but it successfully distracted the entire nation from
    another witness (a justice department employee) describing high
    crimes by the justice department and Obama administration.

    Colbert's appearance is almost certainly completely overshadowed the
    Coates testimony.

    September 26, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. Tony

    I totally agree, his testimony was completely inappropriate.

    The issues he discussed were serious and involve human lives and livelihood, as well as bigotry and man's inhumane treatment of his fellow man.

    There was nothing amusing about the issues discussed, nothing.

    He should be ashamed!

    September 26, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. exposo

    This is yet another example of the merging of the political world and the entertainment industry.

    September 26, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. Jatmn

    American history is punctuated by irreverent political satirist such as Colbert. Add to the list Mark Twain, Will Rodgers, and Mark Russel to name but a few. The parties themselves often lampoon one another with the character insulting jack ass and elephant mascots.

    Of course they are “not appropriate” but yet they are most appropriate by employing, as defined by Webster, “trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly”. In the least they offer comic relief, entertainment have you, for the many that are so often fleeced and exploited by the politician that is purchased by wealthy power-broker masters.

    September 26, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. erexx

    So they called out the House Jester to testify.
    What did they expect?
    Our leaders -are- out of touch.

    September 26, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  22. Greg

    I watched the whole thing. Colbert was the only intelligent life form in that entire room! LOL

    September 26, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  23. whoopingcough

    This was all Bushes fault, send the bill to BP

    September 26, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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