Stephen Colbert received wide critical acclaim for satirizing campaign finance law through forming a Super PAC on his television program The Colbert Report (2005–2014). Noteworthy in his technique was his decision in 2011 to take his conservative character directly into the workings of the Federal Election Commission, an approach he also used when delivering humorous testimony before a House of Representatives subcommittee on immigration the year before. This article considers Colbert's activity within the government in these instances—activity that this article calls participatory satire—from the perspective of postmodernism. While destabilizing the boundary between stage and government as he did is inescapably postmodern in approach, expectations for behavior within these institutions combine with the real-world consequences of policymaking to resist a complete rejection of liberal democracy. With irony removed as a humorous tool by the rules of his chosen venues, Colbert ran the risk of reinforcing the very conditions his satire sought to critique.

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