Stephen Colbert, the comedian, political satirist, and host of Comedy Central's "Colbert Report," is funny on his show. The animated characters on "South Park," created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker, are hilarious.
But will they be as witty on the witness stand?
Colbert was recently questioned by Google attorneys during a legal deposition as part of Viacom's $1 billion copyright lawsuit against Google and YouTube. Viacom argues that YouTube encouraged people to upload unauthorized video clips from films and TV shows. The case is nearly three years old but could finally go to trial sometime this year.
Previously, YouTube requested that it be allowed to depose Colbert, "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, as well as other performers working under the Viacom umbrella.
According to court records, Google is trying to show that Viacom employees were among the people who uploaded thousands of the company's clips. If Viacom employees posted their own clips to YouTube, then Google's argument is that there is no way to determine which clips were pirated and which ones were uploaded with Viacom's blessing.
During last month's celebration of the 50th anniversary of Second City, the improvisational-comedy group, Colbert acknowledged giving a deposition to Google attorneys. Colbert's deposition, at the very least, sounded unorthodox.
Colbert told the gathering of comedians that there was some confusion about whether he was answering questions as himself or as the character he plays on the show; a bungling conservative talk show host.
"The whole deposition was in front of two people," Colbert told the crowd. "I had a coffee cup, and I would move it from side to side to differentiate who I was answering for. It was insane."
CNET has learned that Stewart also gave a deposition to Google attorneys. Stone and Parker were not required to give one. Instead, they were supposed to turn over documents to Google attorneys, which they have yet to do. The missed deadlines aren't amusing to Google.
In a December 21 letter to U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton, YouTube's attorneys asked the court to force Stone and Parker to produce the materials they requested. A representative of the "South Park" creators said Monday: "We intend to comply with the court order and produce the requested documents in a timely way."
I wonder how Cartman or Kenny would respond.