Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Stephen Colbert outdoes Mike Lee with his own GOP prop comedy

Illustration for article titled Stephen Colbert outdoes Mike Lee with his own GOP prop comedy
Screenshot: The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Hey, so the world’s rapidly burning thanks to global warming and irresponsible, human-caused environmental abuse. Certainly such a scientifically outlined extinction-level crisis has sent the government of the most powerful nation on what’s left of Earth into quick-response, Morgan Freeman-style inspiring presidential speech mode in order that the next generations of humans won’t live shorter and more miserable lives thanks to our present-day inaction. Or maybe we’re just farting around at Kinkos, scoring political zingers at the expense of those trying to come up with actual solutions to the problem. Such was the subject of a bit on The Late Show Thursday, where Stephen Colbert took on the recent, widely and thoroughly mocked anti-Green New Deal presentation by Utah Republican senator, fossil fuel industry shill, and, according to Colbert’s introductory aside, “Driver’s Ed. teacher who’s about to become your new stepdad,” Mike Lee.

Showing clips from the senator’s “taxpayer-funded prop comedy,” Colbert could be accused of taking Lee’s, um, argument out of context. Except that the context of Lee’s presentation opposing doing one single, solitary thing to stem the imminent demise of a sustainable and liveable Earth consisted entirely of foamcore blow-ups of inexplicable, wheezy sight gags and a long treatise on how having lots and lots of babies will fix everything. (Presumably except the overpopulation crisis, but that’s for another hacky senate slideshow.) Unluckily for Lee, Colbert claimed that the Utah Republican’s “very innovative use of visual aids from pop culture and science fiction” (Aquaman, Tauntauns, um, Ronald Reagan spraying lead while riding a velociraptor) inspired him and his own graphics department to do the same.


Busting out some (intentionally) labored gags about Jar-Jar Binks, Mamma Mia 2, and, gloriously, Mr. T firing a crossbow while riding a prehistoric giant sloth in front of a waving American flag, Colbert hit the climate change-denying Lee right where he lives—in the hatchback where he stores his shitty, sub-Carrot Top props while waiting to go on at poorly attended open mics. But Colbert shared the Republican-mocking stage with Congresswoman and Green New Deal co-sponsor Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose tweet in response to Lee’s flop-sweaty, disastrous senate set he read out as, “If that guy can be senator, you can do anything.” Said Colbert admiringly, Lee’d better hope that rising sea levels thanks to global warming are real, because he needs plenty of water for that burn.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.