Comedy Central/"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"
Friday, April 25, 2014 | 5:03 p.m.
How famous is Clark County cattle rancher Cliven Bundy?
Forget that he’s made live appearances shows on the Fox cable network and CNN since his public fight over nonpayment of cattle-grazing fees to the federal Bureau of Land Management. Now the 67-year-old Bunkerville resident has captured the attention of the nation’s comedians.
Thursday, after Bundy’s much-maligned comments about African-Americans and whether they would prefer to still be slaves were reported far and wide, several comedians took to social media and the airwaves with their comments on the most-famous Nevadan after Harry Reid.
Rob Delaney, whose prolific tweeting of jokes has garnered him more than 1.2 million followers on Twitter, chimed in with a pair of Bundy blasts:
How DARE Cliven Bundy talk about "the negro" like that when Sir Wesley Snipes is the FACE of modern American tax evasion?!— rob delaney (@robdelaney) April 24, 2014
Mike Drucker, formerly of "Saturday Night Live" and now a writer on the "Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" wasn't sure initially what to think about Bundy.
I don't think I can form an opinion either way until I hear what Joe the Plumber thinks of Cliven Bundy.— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) April 24, 2014
Drucker surmised Bundy just wasn't sure about social media rules of the day:
Cliven Bundy has the worst Throwback Thursdays.— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) April 24, 2014
Then Drucker seemed to suspend reality:
Anyway, the point being that Cliven Bundy is a racist cartoon character who became a hero because he wants free cattle grazing, so America.— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) April 24, 2014
Bundy didn't just get the attention of comedians in the online world. By Thursday night, he was in the crosshairs of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."
"In a surprising twist, states-rights, sovereign citizen Cliven Bundy is also apparently a professor of negro studies," Jon Stewart deadpanned on "The Daily Show" before showing a clip of Bundy pronouncing his views on slavery. "I should have mentioned," Stewart said, "he’s a professor at Duke University … David Duke University” in reference to the onetime Louisiana lawmaker and former Ku Klux Klansman.
The lengthiest comedic treatment of Thursday night, though, came from Stephen Colbert, host of "The Colbert Report."
Colbert, this month named as David Letterman's replacement when he retires in 2015 from the "Late Night Show," admitted he was tardy in reporting on Bundy's fight with the BLM. Colbert laid the background of the dispute, noting Bundy owed $1 million to the federal government in back grazing fees but no longer recognized its existence. "You can’t pay a government that doesn’t even exist," Colbert explained, "especially not with the money it issues.”
Colbert noted that Fox News commentator Sean Hannity had fully embraced Bundy's plight and showed a flurry of Bundy-related clips from Hannity's show.
“Man, Hannity ate up that story so hard, Bundy should have charged him grazing fees,” Colbert said.
After calling Bundy a folk hero, Colbert said every folk hero deserved a folk song. He then donned a cowboy hat, pulled out a guitar and sang "The Ballad of Cliven Bundy":
His name was Cliven Bundy
Of Bunkerville, Nevada.
If you don’t know his story,
I think you really oughtta.
See back in 1993
The feds demanded grazing fees
On public land, the Bundy clan
Used since the 1870s
A Nevada state decree from 1953
Gave federal authority over all
State public property as stated in the
But Cliven couldn’t understand:
Why should he have to pay for land?
This land belongs to you and me.
That’s what he told Sean Hannity.
This is the ‘Ballad of Cliven Bundy.’
At that point, Colbert says, "Take it Cliven," and a clip of Bundy comes up in which he says, "“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro.”
"OK," Colbert interrupts. "That’s enough of the song."