With every episode, The Colbert Report draws closer to its end and with it all the segments that have become well-known staples of the show. Last night, Colbert farewelled a long-running segment called “Better Know A District” where he profiled the congressmen and women and their various “fighting” districts. As part of his final segment, Colbert interviewed the first congressman he ever interview, Georgia Republican Jack Kingston, who is also saying goodbye to Washington politics. Together they tore up Washington with some school boy antics and got a safety warning from kill-joy Nancy Pelosi.
Despite the melancholy nature of the last “Better Know A District,” Colbert did not go easy on Kingston. In true Colbert-ian form, he made the Congressman the butt of the joke as he asked him to identify a woman in an old black and white photo. Kingston did not recognize her, which was a little awkward since he had voted for the Lena Horne Recognition Act and the woman in the photo was Lena Horne. Kingston tried to cover himself, saying he remembered Lena Horne when she was heavier, but then he failed to recognize a color photo of the famous singer when she was older and “heavier.” Luckily for Kingston, Colbert got bored of the standard interview and they took to the hallowed halls of Washington to the tune of “School’s Out For Summer.”
While the antics of running through the halls of the capitol, riding a tandem bicycle around the Washington monument and fishing in the reflecting pools were hilarious, they were all upstaged by Nancy Pelosi’s cameo. She blew the whistle on their unsafe bike riding, making them put on helmets and mouth guards as part of the typical liberal safety overkill. She was a buzz kill in every way she could possibly be. And then she jumped on a BMX bike and did some sweet tricks on the capitol steps. Nancy Pelosi (in the guise of her body double) eventually ended up jumping into the water, leaving Colbert and Kingston to ride off into the sunset with a sign reading “Just Quitted” on the back of their tandem bicycle. It was a fitting close to well loved and always revealing segment.
Yes, Stephen Colbert is saying farewell to his satirical show and segments like “Better Know A District,” but he has not given up on revealing the stupidity of American politics. The awkwardness of watching Kingston not know who Lena Horne was generated some laughs while also being an abject lesson in the politics of pandering. Kingston may have voted for the Lena Horne Recognition Act, but it seems he had little in mind except having his name attached to a cozy human interest bill. Did he really care about recognizing Lena Horne? Probably not and nothing could have illustrated that better than Colbert’s interview.
There are only six shows left for The Colbert Report. It is getting harder and harder to say goodbye with every episode. Guests and melancholy segments are all part of the countdown to the last show. As The Seattle Times pointed out, Colbert’s tenure on the show has been marked by some of the best satire America has ever seen. Colbert and his performance will be sorely missed when at last the show does end as will his revealing interviews like the one with Congressman Kingston. For nine years, Colbert has filled a necessary position in the American media and culture. Right now, he seems utterly irreplaceable and probably always will.
Review By Lydia Bradbury