Stephen Colbert may have been late to the game, but his riff on last week's GOP governor's debate is the funniest bit yet.
Colbert devoted seven minutes of his half-hour show on Comedy Central Wednesday night to the gone-viral contest between Gov. Butch Otter, Sen. Russ Fulcher and unintentional comedians Harley Brown and Walt Bayes. The debate has had more than a half-million hits on Idaho Public TV's archive.
In a segment, titled "Idaho's Bizarre Gubernatorial Debate," Colbert describes himself as an "Otterhead," and calls the governor a character from "Wind in the Willows."
Running to Otter's right, Colbert reasoned, Fulcher deserves a animal likeness, too. "So maybe, badger," he deadpanned, as Fulcher's mugshot was replaced with an image of the snarling critter.
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But Colbert dedicates most of the segment to Brown and Bayes.
Bayes, with his white beard, is described as "comin' in hot and hard like a vengeful backwoods Santa" who proves the point that the Idaho GOP is a big tent party. "I'm pretty sure Walt Bayes lives in a tent made from the skin of a ba'ar he fought for a gold nugget," says Colbert, using his version of a backwoods pronunciation of "bear."
He also displays his suggested design for a Bayes bumper sticker, based on the candidate's soliloquy on nuclear Armageddon:
"Walt Bayes 2014. You remember Chernobyl. When you translate that it comes out 'Wormwood.' Which is mentioned in the Bible a lot. Potassium iodide: We better get us some."
When Brown describes using the blood of Christ to influence federal officials to surrender U.S.-owned lands to Idaho, Colbert shows reporter Betsy Russell butting in.
"Mr. Brown, Mr. Brown!" says Russell. "The question was about taxes."
"Maybe so," jabs Colbert. "And he was getting there before you so rudely interrupted."
I won't give away Colbert's kicker, except to hint that he suggests another candidate for the general election from Brown's colorful past.
For those who may have overlooked it in all the hilarity: Otter won Tuesday's primary with 51.4 percent of the vote. Fulcher was a very respectable second, at 43.6 percent. Brown won the battle between the two fringe foes, with 3.3 percent to 1.8 percent for Bayes.