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October 20, 2014

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Nation’s comics set their sights — and songs — on rancher Bundy

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Comedy Central/"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"

Jon Stewart, shown in this screen shot from Thursday’s airing of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” is among a handful of comedians who focused their attention on Clark County rancher Cliven Bundy.

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:

And this:

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.

Drucker surmised Bundy just wasn't sure about social media rules of the day:

Then Drucker seemed to suspend reality:

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

Guadalupe-Hidalgo treaty

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."

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