A Detroit man is challenging Comedy Central comedian Stephen Colbert to lead a march through Detroit, a city he routinely mocks on his popular television show.
Josh McManus, 34, said he's taking a page out of Colbert's tongue-in-cheek satire of current events on "The Colbert Report" by asking him to come see what Detroit is like before making snarky comments about the city's safety and blight issues.
In one week, McManus -- who founded the business- and community-building venture D:Hive in downtown Detroit -- garnered 1,000 supporters on his Facebook page called Colbert Does Detroit (and so can you).
"Satire is a good awareness vehicle for social change," McManus said in issuing his challenge. "Mr. Colbert, when are you going to put your ass where your mouth is?"
Colbert's publicist declined an interview request from the Free Press Tuesday. The comedian is no stranger to the Midwest -- he went to Northwestern University outside Chicago, but it's unclear whether he's been to Detroit.
Colbert's political comedy show portrays him as a conservative pundit, interviewing celebrities and politicians and providing commentary on a diverse array of topics. Detroit has come up several times, including during a sketch in which Colbert tells people to run for their lives as a satellite falls to Earth.
"As we speak, a defunct satellite is hurtling toward the Earth where it will destroy everything in its path. Let's just pray it lands somewhere where it can't do any damage -- like Detroit," he said.
The one that rankles McManus the most is Colbert's commentary that walking through downtown Detroit at night is as death-defying a stunt as tight-rope walking across Niagara Falls in the dark. New York state officials praised the stunt as reviving tourism.
"I hope this type of death-defying stimulus program catches on all across the Rust Belt. Maybe Gary, Indiana, can fire a human cannonball across Lake Michigan. Or maybe someone could attempt the unthinkable -- walk through downtown Detroit," Colbert said.
McManus said the ultimate goal would be for Colbert to march through downtown Detroit with legions of fans behind him. The hope, said McManus, is his fans would change their image of Detroit. "I think about that perception regularly," McManus said of portrayals of Detroit as an empty wasteland. "He kind of played into our hands on this."
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