Elevating the conversation on immigration — to comedy

Trust Jose Antonio Vargas to elevate the discussion on immigration by bringing it to political humorist Stephen Colbert.

From the first question alone, Colbert could not resist lunging into the Pulitzer Award-winning journalist for being an “illegal alien.”

“No, no,” a smiling Vargas protested the use of the term. “I’m an undocumented immigrant.”

“Whatever,” Colbert riposted. “I think I broke the law by having you in my studio.”

One needs to be familiar with Colbert’s kind of humor to really appreciate his banter with Vargas.

When the journalist narrated the episode about the DMV employee who dismissed his papers as bogus – which led him to discover that he was undocumented — Colbert said he was surprised the DMV was nice to Vargas. A relaxed-looking Vargas couldn’t suppress a guffaw. He said he remembered the woman very well – curly hair with glasses – and would like to give her a “really really big hug” when he sees her again.

When Vargas talked about the high school choir and how a field trip originally to Japan was diverted to Hawaii to accommodate Vargas who had no U.S. passport, Colbert facetiously accused Vargas of ruining the trip for the children.

But there was a part of the exchange that had a ring of inquisitive curiosity to it, thoughts that may be on some people’s minds but would probably remain unverbalized because they didn’t want to offend.  It took Colbert, the Grand Poobah of Parody, to tell it like it is. As Vargas was talking about the choir teacher who was among the first people who knew about his status, Colbert did not mince words.

“That’s the problem,” he said. “She enabled a crime. There are people out there enabling guys like you to stay in the United States.”

Political incorrectness. That’s precisely the type of comedy awaiting Vargas when he found himself lured into Colbert’s lair, where the host insisted on painting Vargas as one of the Latino immigrants who put on his “sombrero, paddle over here and take American jobs.” This after Vargas clearly stated he comes from the Philippines.

There were laughs galore, and even Vargas was game enough to just let the cheap jokes slide, including the one where Colbert urged him to raise both hands “and now go turn yourself in.” – Cristina DC Pastor



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  3. Ute Hohm wrote:

    Thank you very much for the writing this post. Very strange indeed how immigration has now become a punch line.

  4. Zachariah Fusca wrote:

    Awesome write, stick to your great work.

  5. Santiago wrote:

    Wonderful article, stylish page design, carry on the great work.

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