An ongoing dispute between an Esquimalt bong shop owner and the township has drawn the attention of none other than Stephen Colbert.
In a six-minute segment on The Colbert Report last night, Councillors Meagan Brame and Tim Morrison are subjected to Colbert’s satire for their attempts to restrict the use of a bong mascot along the township’s main drag.
“I don’t think we came out too bad,” Brame said. “It’s OK to poke fun of yourself a little bit.”
Colbert’s film crew stopped by The Bong Warehouse in May, said owner Ryan Place.
Place’s business has been the subject of complaints from neighbours since he started using a promotional mascot last spring.
Morrison, who takes the brunt of Colbert’s prodding, put forward a motion in April to require Esquimalt businesses to get a permit when using costumed mascots in public places.
“They spent a whole day with us and interviewed us for about two hours straight,” Morrison said. “Right after you’re done, you realize the show intentionally edits you out of context. When he asked me if I was high, it was pretty obvious it was going to be cut a certain way, but it was all part of the fun.”
In an opening segment dominated by Canadian affairs, Colbert also skewered Toronto Mayor Rob Ford for finally admitting to crack cocaine use.
“I’ve been a long-time fan of Stephen Colbert and I’d probably rank The Colbert Report as my favourite comedy talk show, so it’s very surreal to see yourself in your own hometown on your favourite show knowing an international audience is watching,” Morrison said.
A staff report on mascot licencing is expected back before Esquimalt council in early 2014. The township is also looking at banning the sale of “drug paraphernalia” within 500 metres of schools.
Place said he hopes the international attention is good for business.
“It was like Hollywood showed up in my store,” he said. “It was fun.”