HOH’s One-Minute Recess: Well, That Was Interesting

Posted September 24, 2010 at 10:26am

Updated: 12:11 p.m.

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers isn’t comedian Stephen Colbert’s biggest fan.

The Michigan Democrat attempted to toss the Comedy Central host out of a Friday morning House Judiciary subcommittee hearing, where Colbert was testifying on behalf of immigrant farm workers. Moments after thanking Colbert for drawing so much attention to the committee, Conyers asked him to get out.

“I’m asking you to leave the committee completely and submit your statement,” Conyers said, adding the comedian should leave Congressional business to the committee and the other expert witnesses.

But Colbert wasn’t about to back down.

“I’m here at the invitation of the chairwoman. If she would like me to remove myself, I’m happy to,” Colbert replied, referring to subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). In the end, Colbert stuck around.

Turns out Lofgren and Colbert are old friends; the two spent a day earlier this summer picking fruit on a farm, an experience Colbert highlighted in a segment on “The Colbert Report” Thursday night.

Colbert’s showdown with Conyers wasn’t the only highlight of the hearing — the comedian also testified in character as his ultra-conservative alter ego, which shocked many in the hearing room. Colbert apparently submitted a decoy statement to the committee but slipped into character and veered from the text once he began speaking.

“This is America, I don’t want a tomato picked by a Mexican. I want a tomato picked by an American,” Colbert said.

Colbert went on to complain about the pain his one day of farm labor caused him, before ending his testimony by saying, “I’m now prepared to take your questions or pose for pictures with your grandchildren. … USA No. 1!”

The comedian’s appearance caused quite a stir on an otherwise dull Friday morning. Throngs of interns, staffers and even protesters came to see Colbert, creating a line that stretched the length of a Rayburn House Office Building hallway.