In The Colbert Report's latest "People Who Are Destroying America" segment, the show visits Vicco, Ky., where it interviews the town's openly gay mayor, Johnny Cummings.
The result? A piece that is "heartwarming, hilarious, and hopeful all at once," writes Gawker's Neetzan Zimmerman.
Back in January, Vicco's government approved a fairness ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, making it the first small town in America to do so.
On The Colbert Report, Vicco, home to 340 people, becomes a stage to upend liberal stereotypes of rural Appalachia. The town's "simple hillfolk," as Colbert's persona refers to them, shrug their shoulders at the mayor's sexual orientation and praise his push for an anti-discrimination law.
Sure, there is one conservative preacher who disapproves of Cummings' lifestyle, but, overall, the citizens of Vicco don't seem to find anything controversial about Cummings, who also works part-time as a hairdresser.
"The segment skillfully uses Appalachian stereotypes to knock down those stereotypes," writes Lexington Herald-Leader columnist Tom Eblen.
Fans have singled out several touching moments in the segment, including one in which the town's police officers claims he loves Cummings "like a brother," and another at the end when a man gives a heartfelt defense of the mayor's sexuality, saying:
If [God] is against it, why did he make 'em born that way? I can't understand that. I've tried and tried and tried to understand that. I just can't.
The Huffington Post is certainly moved, writing, "While the segment offers plenty of laughs, we challenge you to watch the last moment without tearing up a little bit."
All of which has led some to proclaim it the best Stephen Colbert segment ever.
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