The comedian Stephen Colbert testified before a congressional subcommittee on Capitol Hill on Friday, speaking on the topic of migrant farm workers in an appearance that divided both politicians and observers.
Colbert was invited to appear before the House judiciary subcommittee following a one-day stint working on a farm as part of the United Farm Workers' "Take Our Jobs" campaign, which aims to highlight the contribution made by immigrant farm workers.
Throughout his appearance, Colbert adopted the conservative blow-hard persona featured on his Comedy Central programme The Colbert Report.
"This is America! I don't want a tomato picked by a Mexican. I want it picked by an American, then sliced by a Guatemalan and served by a Venezuelan in a spa where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian," he said.
His antics prompted mixed reactions from those present, with several legislators saying that it had been a mistake to invite Colbert.
"I'm asking you to leave the committee room completely and submit your statement instead," said a clearly-irritated John Conyers, a Democratic representative, although he later withdrew his request.
The appearance particularly raised the hackles of the Republican representative Steve King, who said that "amnesty supporters should spend less time watching Comedy Central".
But the representative chairing the hearing, Zoe Lofgren, said that Colbert's appearance would "bring attention to a critically important issue for the good of the nation".
While pushing ahead with his comedic persona through most of his appearance, Colbert broke character when asked by a representative why he had chosen to address the issue of migrant workers.
"I like talking about people who don't have any power. And it seems like some of the least powerful people in the United States are migrant workers who come and do our work, but don't have any rights as a result," he said.
"And yet we still invite them to come here and at the same time ask them to leave. And that's an interesting contradiction to me... Migrant workers suffer, and have no rights."
Colbert also took a sardonic side-swipe at those who accused him of trivialising Congress's role and the immigration issue.
"I trust that, following my testimony, both sides will work together in the best interests of the American people, as you always do," he remarked drily.
Despite the hostility from some politicians, Colbert's testimony appeared to achieve arguably its primary objective - drawing attention to the issue - with YouTube videos attracting hundreds of thousands of hits and network news services covering the testimony on their evening bulletins.
The Colbert Report airs in Australia on ABC2.
Media Spy discussion: The Colbert Report