Norton on Colbert’s Last Show, Chatting With Norquist and the After-Party
As a mob of guests reunited for Stephen Colbert’s final report to bid the host farewell , Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., was spotted in the foreground, swaying and singing along.
Norton appeared on the “Colbert Report” several times over the past nine years. She first appeared on the show in 2006 as part of Colbert’s “Better Know a District” series, in a memorable segment where Colbert and Norton sparred over whether D.C. is part of the United States. But on Friday, Norton described a wonderful reunion — and a lively after-party — as Colbert said goodbye to his on-air persona.
— Eleanor H. Norton (@EleanorNorton) December 19, 2014
“I don’t watch Colbert every night so I was surprised by how the celebrities and newspaper people and pundits so outnumbered the public officials,” Norton said in a phone interview Friday. She said she spotted Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., at the reunion, but did not see any of her House colleagues.
Norton said she did not chat with many of the celebrities, but she did have a conversation with Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.
“I learned for the first time that Grover Norquist is a constituent of mine and I thanked him for paying taxes to the District of Columbia,” Norton said. She said Norquist responded by talking about acquiring a license of some sort before they were interrupted.
The D.C. representative said the participants were sworn to secrecy before the final episode. Though Norton enjoyed appearing on Colbert’s last show, she said the after-party was the highlight, saying that she had a “whale of a time.”
The after-party occurred at a club on the West Side of Manhattan. Norton said she had a wonderful time talking with Colbert’s sisters and they laughed about the fact that Colbert — whose on-air persona declared D.C. was not part of the United States — was actually born in the District.
“I had the most fun talking to Colbert’s sisters and families. He’s got family in this region,” said Norton. “So the sisters and I had a whale of a laugh about where he was really born.”
Then Norton said she let loose on the dance floor. She spotted one of the young guests (she could not remember his name but said he was wearing a black and white shirt) dancing, and decided to join him.
“He broke out dancing solo but then he was doing moves that seemed to demand a partner,” said Norton. “We turned the whole thing into the dancing party. I finally had to break myself away”
Norton said a quick goodbye to Colbert before heading back to her hotel, and had enough time to snap a quick photo with the comedian.
As Norton appeared on his program to defend D.C., Colbert declared Norton his “nemesis.” Norton reflected on Friday that their comedic conflict helped elevate the District’s struggle for autonomy, while also educating the public on D.C. voting rights.
“If I’ve been his nemesis, he’s been my best friend for getting the word out that District of Columbia residents don’t have the same rights as everybody else,” Norton said. She also wondered whether Colbert’s new role as CBS’ late night talk show host will bring as much attention to the District as his Comedy Central personality.
“I kept thinking, ‘Well, what are we going to do as we try to get statehood when we don’t have Colbert to help us anymore by spreading the word?’” Norton said. She later added, “I’ll be wishing for the old Colbert.”
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