Canton, TX, doesn't take joke lightly

August 15, 2008 2:41:24 PM PDT
Comedian Stephen Colbert's one-man campaign against towns named Canton has its latest target firing back. A city councilman in Canton, Texas, called Colbert a sucker and joked that he would "mash his nose," days after the comedian referred to the town as an "incorporated outhouse."

"What does that sucker know about it? He's never been here anyway," Councilman John Fuller said in a story Friday in the Tyler Morning Telegraph. "If he comes down here, I'll mash his nose."

In an ongoing gag on his show "The Colbert Report," Colbert has been taking pot shots at a variety of towns named Canton. It began when he referred to a Georgia town as "the crappy Canton."

Colbert then referred to Canton, Kan., with an unprintable epithet and claimed the town's residents watched "horse-drawn paintings" for entertainment. Colbert also referred to Canton, S.D., as "North Dakota's dirty ashtray" and suggested the town's dogs all suffer from alcoholism.

Cantons in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Ohio have so far escaped Colbert's ire.

Leaders of the Texas town of Canton, which has a population of about 5,100, invited Colbert to the town's monthly flea market. Called "First Monday Trade Days," the flea market harkens back to Texas' frontier traditions, "when it was common to trade a rifle for a good hunting dog," according to a city Web site.

"Canton is known worldwide," City Manager Andy McCuistion said of the town, located about 55 miles southeast of Dallas. "You can go anywhere in the world, and people will say, 'Canton? Yeah, I know where that is. It's where that big flea market is."'

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