Ujjal Dosanjh made it through his interview with Stephen Colbert without arguing that sometimes kittens must be thrown in wood chippers. The Liberal MP for Vancouver South also didn’t go on the record stating that hookers and cocaine are “fun things to do”.
Considering that in the past, politicians featured on the Colbert Report’s “Know a District” series actually have done those things, Dosanjh said he thinks he did alright.
“It was unlike anything else I’ve ever done in my life,” Dosanjh told the Straight the morning after the interview aired. “He told me that he really enjoyed doing the exchange with me and so did I.”
Colbert—who plays a right-wing American talk show host notorious for a combative and often rude interview style—has been capitalizing on the excitement around the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
“He tells you, before the interview begins, that this is the character that he plays and it is my duty to disabuse him of the notions that he has, that the character has,” Dosanjh said. “So then you realize that you play along to that extent so it wasn’t a problem.”
The Colbert interview was taped on January 22 but aired across North America last night (February 22).
The spot highlighted Vancouver South as the most diverse riding in the country, and had Dosanjh debating—among other things—the differences between India’s caste system and a person’s sexual orientation.
“I’m told by his staff it was the longest sit-down interview he has ever done with anyone,” Dosanjh said. “We went at it for about an hour and 45 minutes.”
That was edited down to seven minutes, which of course left a lot on the cutting room floor.
Donsanjh said that the segment’s final edit—which he did not see until it was broadcast on television—stayed true to the actual interview. But he noted that a couple of his favourite back-and-forths were dropped.
At one point, Dosanjh said, he found himself defending his treatment of Caucasians in Vancouver South, who comprise 20 to 25 percent of the riding.
Dosanjh recalled that Colbert charged, “You don’t look after white folk,” and then suggested that Vancouver South’s Caucasian population needs its own Martin Luther King.
Dosanjh said that Colbert shouted, “I am the Martin Luther King of the whites!”
“You’re supposed to be provoked, right,” Dosanjh continued. “But I just laughed. It was so funny.”
You can watch Dosanjh's interview with Colbert here.
You can follow Travis Lupick on Twitter at twitter.com/tlupick.