Updated Friday, Sept. 24: Read about Colbert’s performance before Congress here.

Animal-rights groups have plenty of celebrity spokesmodels, most notably Alicia Silverstone. But labor rights, in particular for immigrant farm workers? Not the sexiest issue, apparently.

That is, until Stephen Colbert decided to have some fun with it.

In July, the Comedy Central faux-conservative host gave a national spotlight to the United Farm Workers’ Take Our Jobs campaign, daring American citizens to sign up for field work and offering job placement services in California, Florida, and elsewhere. So far, as the United Farm Workers (UFW) reports, 8,600 people have responded, but only 368 people are in the pipeline and just seven have actually followed through.

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I’m surprised more haven’t hit the fields. After all, as I wrote back in July, what American doesn’t want a back-breaking, hot, dangerous (workers get enslaved, poisoned by pesticides, and die from heat stroke) job with no health benefits, paid vacation, or even a living wage?

“Are you saying Americans are pussies?” Colbert asked Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and “notorious Mexican hugger,” last night on his show when she said more or less the same thing to him. “How hard is it really to be a migrant farm worker?” he continued. They get fresh air, exercise, and all the vegetables they can eat.

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The following night, Colbert showed immigrants “how an American works the land.”




And on Friday, the comedian appeared before Lofgren in a Congressional hearing called “Protecting America’s Harvest,” along with UFW President Arturo Rodriguez and an apple grower from Virginia, to talk about his experiences as a farm worker. It’s unclear whether he’ll appear in character or as himself [update: he did both], but either way he’s doing a great job drawing attention to immigration reform and better protection for farm workers.

Now, if only he’d pose for some PSAs like this one.