House Trembles When Colbert Comes Calling

Comic shines rare (and rarely flattering) light on representatives
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2009 10:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – Members of the House generally toil in obscurity—unless they have the fortune, or misfortune, to run afoul of Stephen Colbert. With his would-be 435-part “Better Know a District” segment, Colbert has become, arguably, the only comedian to make the House of Representatives a major part of his act, Politico reports. “He’s discovered a wealth of material that most comics give up,” says frequent victim Eleanor Holmes Norton of DC.

Colbert will grill representatives for hours, airing only the most damaging moments. “He is exceptionally good,” said one Utah rep. “Off-the-charts good. He had five pages, single-spaced, of background data.” Too good for some. As chairman of the Democratic Caucus, Rahm Emanuel forbade freshmen reps to take on Colbert. “There was a real sense that this guy will never help you,” says one House historian.