TV NOVEMBER 21, 2013
Colbert and Stewart have had a week-long field day with Rob Ford drug humor, running segments called “Cracked” (“intrepid intoxicant aficionado Rob Ford”), “Canadian Enablers” (“I heard that Mayor Ford’s approval ratings went up after he said he smoked crack. You know what that makes you as a city? Enablers, eh”), and “Oh, Canada” (“the drug scandal engulfing Chris Farley tribute mayor Rob Ford”). But as my colleague Julia Fisher has pointed out, no TV show can beat the spectacle of Rob Ford’s daily, unmediated outrageousness. So the segments about him paled in comparison to the raw footage of his public appearances. Last night, thought, late night hosts were handed a new gift from the gods of satire: Trey Radel, the Florida Republican congressman recently busted for buying cocaine in a federal drug sting (at a “Dupont Circle bar that serves $11 mojitos),” as the Washington Post duly reported.
As scandal-stricken politicians go, Radel is a more familiar character than Ford: slick, overconfident, with the cheesy charisma of a high school class president. It turned out, though, that he made an even better subject for roasting. In a bit called “Blowing Pains,” Stewart ripped Radel’s self-designation as a “hip hop conservative.” “I guess Flava Flav is wearing a debt clock?” Stewart said. “I can’t wait for the School House Rock on how a bill becomes a straw.”
But Colbert's coverage was the highlight. “Apparently [Radel] forgot the part of the Tea Party story where you dump the product in the harbor before the cops show up,” he said. Then he rolled an actual Spanish-language message to the Colombian community recorded by Radel—ridiculous on its own, with Radel addressing his imagined viewers in theatrically accented Spanish—and dubbed it with an English voiceover: “Last week I was in the beautiful, spectacular, and growing country of Colombia, in part strengthening our relationship with our ally and friend country. But mostly to score coke. So I need a connect to beam me up on some of that straight Colombian gutter glitter. We can share it and then we will dance and dance and dance.” With Radel’s goofy, self-admiring face in the background, it was easily the best clip of the night.