Stephen Colbert has enlisted dozens of congressfolk to play along with his TV shtick -- and now the National Portrait Gallery?
Yesterday, the downtown institution enshrined the Comedy Central mock-commentator on its august walls -- or, at least, hung an old prop portrait of him in a prime spot by the second-floor bathrooms. "The Colbert Report" had a running gag about getting the portrait into the Smithsonian; American History wouldn't bite, but the Portrait Gallery agreed to hang it as a joke for the next six weeks.
So . . . basically this guy's even savvier than Borat with the publicity stunts, huh? Should the Smithsonian be helping him? "We love the idea of a conversation about who gets into the Portrait Gallery," said gallery rep Bethany Bentley. Plus, he's got a lot of viewers: "It gives us a chance to interest a new generation."
Don't fear, purists: While Colbert now hangs just steps away from the gallery of presidents, he's not in the permanent collection.
--Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts (Jan. 17, 2008)