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. agathokles

    I'm a huge fan of Colbert. However, I don't think his act played well in this particular case. He looked uncomfortable. And it was kind of like what happens when a comedian at a club tells a joke and gets no reaction. The venue was too stiff and formal for his act to come across well. Plus, I don't think the audience was sure whether he was in character or not. That atmosphere of uncertainty was his undoing. I'm not saying he was an inappropriate speaker. I'm just saying that I think he sort of bombed.

    September 26, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. Mary Mallon

    Of course he's not appropriate. He's not a scumbag politician.

    September 26, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. Vickie

    Thank you Vic of Nash... again

    September 26, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. allen

    to hear that bunch of simps go on about how "inappropriate" it was to have colbert testify, must not understand how the public views them. all the time they have had to work something out on illegal immigration, and have done nothing. america knows who the fools are, even if the fools do not (this included both parties of course). i am amazed at how quick the dems lost their way. i am/was a dem, but now i do not have a party. america can do better than these elected scums.

    September 26, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  5. curious steve, boston, ma

    bravo to mr. colbert. insulting and embarrassing DC for its crimes against humanity is what he did.

    thank you, chairwoman Lofgren, and reps chavez and chu. you were true humanitarian reps of people.

    waters and conyer disappointed their political base through their petty and shortsighted politicking: they thought they were pandering their black voters, but that's an insult to the black progressives's intelligence. they should know better.

    the gopers? they are not worthy of any comment.

    September 26, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  6. chef dugan

    If they are here illegally nothing too bad can happen to them. Send them, and their 18 kids, back to wherever they came from. The only thing that is inappropriate is letting them come in the first place.

    September 26, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  7. Jeff

    I think the real issue is just how insightful and intelligence Colbert turned out to be. I'm also wondering how many people commenting actually saw his testimony. He drew attention to the suffering of a group of people that help this country run. The so-called Christians of this country ought to be concerned that were sitting on the backs of a group of people that we have the audacity ti despise. Colbert, a practicing Catholic, drew attention to the hypocrisy of most of those calling themselves Christians. Well-done.

    September 26, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. Brook

    Who really cares what Steven Colbert thinks. He's a comedian, not a politician. Stick with that Steven. You're qualified for stand up comedy or poking fun at our politicians( which you do a great job at that) but please leave the politics to those that really know what's going on in front of the cameras as well as behind the scenes.

    September 26, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. DickNH

    Nancy was right, but I doubt that Republicans or TeaPartiers even have a hint about what Colbert said in his satirical testimony.....after all, that would mean that actually CARE about this country.....they don't have a clue !

    September 26, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. sarah

    I think Elmo is a great example of the way Republicans did business of the hill!.Stephan did what he wanted to do...get us talking about an issue that has put on the back burner..KUDOS

    September 26, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. Michael

    I'm always amazed at how many people fail to appreciate the dry sarcastic approach. Colbert was hilarious while bringing attention to a serious issue of hypocrisy amongst (mainly) Republicans: That not only will you gut the agricultural industry by booting out every illegal in this country, but you will also be unable to immediately replace them with Americans, who will not take these ridiculous low wages for back-breaking work when they can sit on their asses and collect unemployment instead.

    September 26, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  12. Don

    They got it wrong as to whom got it wrong. The House is full of comedians. If the House would do the job they are suppose to do Colbert would have nothing to make fun of them about. Get over it. He told the truth, when was the last time they did?. I'm so tired of those in elected offices not having a clue as to what real life is about. It's too bad they are so rich there is no way they will ever understand. I hope those who read these articles are going to vote these people out of office.

    September 26, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. Canadian Jim

    4 million young voters a night tune in to Stephen Colbert. They get the satire and the nuance, When Stephen Colbert gives you a wag of his finger, that's 4 million wags. 4 million fingers on those election buttons. If Stephen Colbert decided to back a chimp for Congress, I'd lay odds it wouldn't come in third.

    September 26, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. dina

    You have to be smart, intelligent, to understand satire. Obviously the people who complained abut Colbert are neither. Sad day for politicians.What a bunhc of losers they are. That is why people watch Colbert and get the real news.

    September 26, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. allen

    one more thought, there has always been a way to eliminate or control illegal immigration. make the fine huge and that will be the end of that. the truth is, we can allow x amount for farms, x amount for restaurants, x amount for manufacturing, etc. and have a data base of approved workers. there is no political will.

    September 26, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  16. independent

    I haven't seen the Dems or Pubs deal with this issue rationally and successfully using their 'serious' approach. Perhaps Colbert could take some of the air out of the partisan balloon, and things can get done.

    September 26, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  17. Ken in NC

    Colbert was there in character and I think it was a gross mistake. I watch his show and in it's place it is fine but in this case he simply made a complete fool of himself.

    September 26, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. Ray

    "Take my job" had over a million hits, and then 37.000 express interest, and eventually 7 took up the offer. Pretty bad results. Mr Cobert said it best when he said "please don't make me go back again... its hard." Then we had the good DR from Dartmouth who was defensive, and abusive with her replies to those who questioned her. If you are going to pick on the comedian, you have to be equally critical of the other panal memembers.
    I agree that the congress members are the ones who looked pretty stupid... on both sides of the aisle. One braggign about diving in manure on his farm... well duh.... he couldn't find an illegal to do it for him, so he was forced to.

    September 26, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  19. marlenezkaiser

    I I felt that Colbert had both a unique and picture making way of getting across an idea that needs to be aired in a way that everyone gets the idea. Just because the Congressmen didn't get it, they had no reason to be offended. Especially the republican congressmen have lost it with many Americans because of their obstinateness and lack of cooperation on anything. They are not even going along with many things they have proposed in the past. Don't want demos to get the credit. I've been a long time Republican, but am now ashamed of that party.

    September 26, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  20. Michael C

    HEY Hoyer, Congress was a mockery and an embarrassment long before Colbert got there. All he did was make you idiots watchable for 7 minutes. You guys approval rating is in the TEENS, so you might want to stop taking yourselves so seriously and try something differently.

    September 26, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  21. Justin S

    What exactly did these politicians expect to happen? I love Colbert and his show, but his commentaries on politics and social issues get plenty of attention on tv and don't need to brought before Congress. I think it was a complete waste of taxpayer money to let a comedian testify before Congress. I don't blame Colbert at all for acting the way he did (it's his job!). US Lawmakers should know better

    September 26, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  22. carl

    A pupept (elmo) was appropriate while a tax paying American comedian is not? Colbert paid for all of his expenses to attend the hearing. The crap that money was wasted is look more like the money was wasted a long time ago when we elected these politicians.

    September 26, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  23. Ryan

    Something tells me FOX was going to disapprove no matter what Colbert said.
    And to the guy who said all 18-25 yr olds know nothing about politics, I would point out it was with the help of that demographic that won Obama the previous election.
    Even if you don't like Obama, you can't seriously defend McCain/Palin as a better choice – Young people aren't all stupid and that attitude is what's going to make Republicans lose again this November

    September 26, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  24. THubbert

    The egos of those in the House are even bigger than Colbert's. Colbert can laugh at himself and everything else. House members taken themselves too seriously and are in fight mode all the time. This went right over most of their heads.

    September 26, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  25. carl

    The Republicans extended the H2A unskilled workers visa under BUSH. Many of the jobs (Sugar Cane cutting) are mostly done by workers shipped in from the Caribbean. It is a proven fact most Americans cannot handle the harsh world of Sugar Cane cutting and processing. Many hotels use the H2A to bring cleaning crews to do jobs that were unanswered in jobs adds to American workers.

    September 26, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
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