Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and Stephen Colbert
U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) took no chances when prepping for his interview with Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert.
"We watched 15 other members' interviews," says Pocan, who appeared June 3 on The Colbert Report's "Better Know a District" segment.
After "seeing so many people not coming out looking the best," Pocan and his staff decided on their strategy: play along good-naturedly, but engage only as much as necessary. "The more you talk, the more likely you are to tie yourself up in knots," says Pocan.
The freshman Democrat says Colbert came prepared for the interview with seven pages of single-spaced background research. The show even dug up an ordinance Pocan championed 20 years ago while on the Dane County Board that banned bear wrestling.
"That came out of the blue," says Pocan. "It was not on the list of anything I was expecting."
Though the final segment ran at only six minutes, Pocan says the full taped interview was 90 minutes long. In a bit that was cut, Colbert quizzed Pocan on his knowledge of Wisconsin, including the state dance (polka) and state insect (honeybee). Any missed answers and Pocan had to take a bite of an Oscar Mayer Lunchables that Colbert pulled out from under his desk. He aced most of the questions.
Colbert might have chosen the wrong form of punishment, however, for this Wisconsin native. "It was cheese and meat," says Pocan. "It was great."
Colbert worked in another local prop when he pulled out Felicity, the historical doll described by Middleton-based American Girl as a "spunky, sprightly colonial girl." In this cut segment, Colbert told Pocan that the doll cost him about $200 but that after nine hours he was bored with her.
"Tell Felicity why you don't like Gov. Scott Walker," said Colbert.
Pocan said he started to explain his reasons but was apparently not engaging enough directly with the doll. "No," Colbert interrupted. "Tell Felicity!"