Sure, Abraham Lincoln famously stated in his Gettysburg Address that "all men are created equal." But few can bring the funny like Stephen Colbert.
The Comedy Central contrarian was one of several celebs who took up a challenge by acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns ("The Civil War"). With the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address approaching on Nov. 19, Burns asked for famous Americans to upload their recitation of Lincoln's speech to the filmmaker's new website, "Learn the Address," to create an online living archive of one of the most important speeches in American history.
Naturally, the host of "The Colbert Report" decided to take it to the next level.
Instead of just reciting the famous speech, which begins notably with, "Four score and seven years ago," Colbert dressed up as Lincoln to deliver the declaration of the sovereignty of the union in the midst of the war that was tearing the country in two.
Of course, to add extra emphasis, Colbert was sure to over-enunciate and include dramatic pauses. At one point, he pauses to look at his watch. And, for the climax, he rips off Lincoln's trademark top hat and beard!
Colbert wasn't alone in taking up Burns's challenge. Among those also offering their version of the Address: Whoopi Goldberg, Alyssa Milano, Uma Thurman, Martha Stewart, Louis C.K., Rita Moreno, Steven Spielberg, Jerry Seinfeld, Vicki Lawrence, Usher, Taylor Swift, and Conan O'Brien, as well as journalists Rachel Maddow, David Gregory, Robin Roberts, Gwen Ifill, Arianna Huffington, Bill O'Reilly, and Wolf Blitzer, and politicians such as President Barack Obama, former Presidents George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton, along with Nancy Pelosi, Mario Cuomo, Gabrielle Giffords, Marco Rubio, David Dinkins, Chuck Schumer, Tim Kaine, Bill Nelson, and Civil War historian Eric Foner.
The impetus for the project a new film by Burns called "The Address," which will broadcast on PBS in April 2014. The film will look at the history of the speech and its value on American equality, through the context of the Greenwood School in Putney, Vermont, a school for boys with severe learning disabilities.
Said Burns of the boys at the school who are themselves learning the speech, "We want to ask the country to do it because if they can do it we can all do it."
Check out a compilation of many of the famous participants:
- Arts & Entertainment
- Stephen Colbert
- Gettysburg Address
- Ken Burns
- Colbert Report