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. carl

    From what I was watching, Colbert made the politicians look retarded LOL These so-called in touch politicians did not realized Colbert antics made them look so out of touch with reality LOL My favorite part: One way to address the labor ills of the agricultural sector, Colbert joked, is for Americans to "stop eating fruits and vegetables … and if you look at obesity statistics, people already have." LOL

    September 26, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  2. mostly silent

    I watched Colbert at this hearing and it was so stupid. I am not a REP or DEM as I have voted for both parties over the years. Illegal imagrants are treated like slaves. It's not about them stealing jobs it's about human rights. They need to be legal to be protected and not always threatened. Colbert was there for his own ego!!

    September 26, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  3. Dan Egan

    It was inappropriate for Colbert to have been invited to testify, but the man was hilarious, as ususal.

    September 26, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. Rick Nelson

    I think Colbert's testimony was fine. He got his point across using humor. He took some shots at Congressman that were quite appropriate. I think Hoyer is more concerned about the messenger than the message. Colbert, I believe, is not embarrassed at all. He was in character which is just fine with me as Congress is full of characters that need to become less full of themselves and think more deeply about what's best for the country.

    September 26, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. vic, Nashville TN

    I watched full hearing first time in my life (CNN web live) because of Stephen Colbert

    Pelosi is right first time I gave attention I recall the Gary Tuchman(CNN) report on this topic

    September 26, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  6. Jerry

    Normally I'm a fan of Colbert, but this time it seemed a little stupid and pointless. I didn't think he was that funny, and when it comes to immigration, there isn't much room or time for jokes. Hopefully, he doesn't make this mistake again. Unless he testifies out of character, in order to actually stand for something.

    September 26, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  7. Kate

    So...Stephen Colbert is inappropriate. Elmo, however, is always appropriate for a congressional hearing.

    It really is time to Restore Sanity. I will be there on 10/30/2010. I know it's kind of a joke. But it kind of isn't a joke, either.

    September 26, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  8. ICanHazTeePartiez

    Steny Hoyer has need in Washington too long. Time to retire and regain a sense of humor.

    September 26, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. Jim

    Don't these people realize he is a dry sarcastic comedian? He mimicks real life TV personalities who think they are larger than life by coming out with "out there" outragious statements. What did they expect?

    September 26, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  10. OrionStyles

    Seriously? The guy IS A DEMOCRAT using satire while he portrays a hardline Republican. He brought media attention to this and it is pretty obvious... he is not for illegal immigration, he is for fixing an industry that takes advantage of its workers. Wow, people are stupid. As soon as something becomes more sophisticated then requiring 105 IQ, everyone is lost. Well... to make sure you understand, the smart people are laughing at you congress because you missed the point completely.

    September 26, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. tabu19

    I do not like Colbert, but he was invited. A CA representative invited him so there you are. CA the state of failure. The state that continues to put in office those that fail them.

    September 26, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  12. paul

    colbert got everyone talking about an important issue. mission accomplished. americans should know better by now that we don't exactly do things the right way all the time. iraq war anyone?

    September 26, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  13. CedarRapids

    'It really is time to Restore Sanity. I will be there on 10/30/2010. I know it's kind of a joke. But it kind of isn't a joke, either'
    I think the phrase is 'many a true word is spoken in jest'

    September 26, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  14. Mike in SA

    Look, we're in the middle of a recession and have exploding government spending and waste. Now is not the time for frivolity in government and disregard for our pocketbooks. We're tired of it...get it? Lofgren ought to pay the American public back the cost of the committee members time, their staffers' time, the room rental for Colbert's comedy act, the electricity for the room, security, etc., etc. , etc.. We send our representatives to Washington to do a job, not waste their time on horse-play. If I took Lofgren's attitude when inviting in a speaker to one of my company's board meetings, I would probably be fired or demoted at the very least.

    September 26, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  15. vic, Nashville TN

    Fox talking about tax payer money wasted what about March 20 ,21 2005 Terri Schiavo case in senate and G.W.Bush flew from Texas to D.C to sign the bill

    Wake up America who waste tax payer money
    Fair and Balance

    September 26, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  16. Andrew

    It was funny. If a comedian known for staying in character at political events is invited to speak at a political event, he should be expected to stay in character. He is America and so can we.

    September 26, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    That was a ridiculous farce, and Congress will give no real credence to it, whatsoever.

    September 26, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  18. informed voter

    Stephen Colbert is a brilliant comedian and a patriotc American. He has just as much right to testify before Congress as any other American. The fact that his humor stung some in Congress only proves his tongue and cheek style hit the nail on the head, illuminating the hypocrisy within the halls of our government.

    September 26, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  19. Josef

    He was being completely serious with his testimony. All the nonsense really came in response to nonsense questions from the Congress. They are the ones who refuse to allow facts to distort their ideology.

    September 26, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  20. Barry

    The House can embarrass itself, Stephen does not have to help them. Is Hoyer trying to act like the GOP now, with the infighting. If he can't say something positive about a fellow Democrat – Shut Up!

    September 26, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  21. Mr. Obvious

    As Mr. Colbert correctly pointed out during his testimony, congress invited him.

    If I invite Lindsay Lohan over for dinner, should I be surprised when she empties my liquor cabinet? I think not.

    September 26, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  22. clivewil

    Steven colbert is a comedian,why are we so caught up with him? there are much more important issues going on right now;especially with all the lies and spin being done right in front of our eyes every day by all of the politicians.Theese lies should be highlighted and discussed by the american news outlets and the american voting public.

    September 26, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. David M.

    If you invite a comedian to a congressional,then comedy is what you will get. Personally, they should have invited Jeff Dunham and Walter. Now THAT would have been worth watching.

    September 26, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  24. Fed Up

    FIrst of all, there is a program so that migrant workers can come to this country legally. They don't have to cross the border illegally in order to pick crops. Second, what did the House expect? Colbert is Colbert.

    September 26, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  25. Brian

    I thought Colbert's interview was great. He did give his opinion, but he added humor to it. No one I talked to about it said it was embarrassing for Colbert or for Congress, everyone thought it was funny. The sad thing is, they thought it was funny because it was true and finally someone was talking about the reality of the issue on capital hill.

    Just because there was humor in his testimony doesn't mean what he said is any less true or any less important.

    September 26, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
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