Dr. Pepper rocks!!

Oshawa serves up silliness for faux American right-wing pundit Stephen Colbert
OSHAWA, Ont. (CP) – Hordes of Stephen Colbert fans turned out Tuesday to fete the American comic whose buffoonish right-wing pundit delights fans on both sides of the border with his idiotic commentary on “The Colbert Report.”
As many as 3,000 people packed the General Motors Centre in this normally quiet working-class city on Tuesday night. They were there to take part in “Stephen Colbert Day,” the event that came about when Oshawa’s mayor lost a bet on an OHL game with Colbert, the eyebrow-arching faux commentator whose inspiration is Fox News’s pugnacious Bill O’Reilly.
“This is a city I have admired ever since I learned of its existence recently,” Colbert, who didn’t attend the festivities, told the crowd via a taped message played on the arena’s big screen.
He ordered the throng to turn “Stephen Colbert Day” into a wild party, naming several local pubs where the celebrations could continue into the wee hours.
“I want this to be the biggest raver in Oshawa since last year’s peony festival,” he said to roars of laughter before digging into a cake festooned with the words Happy Stephen Colbert Day.
Mayor John Gray was also forced to eat cake – his own birthday cake, decorated with a photo of Colbert in all his thumbs’-up, arched-eyebrow glory.
“I feel very lucky to be born on Colbert Day,” Gray told the crowd on Tuesday night. “Mr. Colbert, this is the way to lose a bet.”
The seed for “Stephen Colbert Day” was planted when about two million Colbert fans inundated an online contest a few months ago to name the mascot of the Saginaw Spirit, a Michigan OHL team. Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle was born as a tribute to the comedian.
Colbert – who encouraged fans of his Comedy Central/Comedy Network show to cast the ballots – threw his support behind the squad and began trash-talking its OHL rivals, especially the Generals.
After a public volley of taunts and counter-taunts, Gray issued a challenge to Colbert on the eve of a recent showdown between the two teams: if the Generals won, Colbert would have to wear a Generals jersey for an entire show. If the Spirit won, Gray had to declare Colbert’s birthday “Stephen Colbert Day” in Oshawa.
Colbert accepted the challenge but had a more humiliating suggestion: he wanted “Stephen Colbert Day” to be declared not on his own birthday, but on Gray’s – March 20.
In the absence of Colbert, hockey icon Don Cherry provided the night’s biggest star power. Dressed in a brilliant red crushed-velvet jacket, he was treated with reverence as he waited in the wings before taking to the stage to honour former Boston Bruin Bobby Orr, whose birthday was also on Tuesday. The legendary defenceman once played for the Oshawa Generals.
“Sir Cherry!” one teenaged girl shouted out in excitement as the larger-than-life Hockey Night in Canada commentator walked towards the stage.
Of Colbert, Cherry had this to say: “He’s the guy who started all this and then didn’t even have the guts to show up.” He later referred to Colbert as a “leftie pinko,” adding that if the comedian was a hockey player, he’d wear a visor.
It was an uncharacteristically silly event for the city of Oshawa, a community on Lake Ontario that’s long lived in the cultural shadow of nearby Toronto. Even Gray acknowledged “Stephen Colbert Day” was something of a rarity for his city.
“Oshawa isn’t exactly known for liveliness,” said Gray. “We have that old, grey image, and we’re trying to shake it off. We’ve been looking for a way to expose the world to all the great things about Oshawa, and Stephen Colbert comes along and helps us.”
Until Tuesday’s event, Oshawa was best known to the rest of Canada as the home base for General Motors Canada and for the Generals, its dynamic OHL club. The squad has a serious NHL star in the making in John Tavares, who recently broke Wayne Gretzky’s record for the most goals scored in the OHL by a 16-year-old player.
Five finalists in the Stephen Colbert lookalike contest were on hand at the General Motors Centre, all of them certain they had the swagger and the arched brow necessary to win the prize of a trip to New York City for a taping of “The Colbert Report.”
They ranged in age from Jacob Kanter, 16, of Toronto to John Tate, 58, of Manitoba, and included at least one Colbert – Jason Colbert from Ancaster, Ont., who suggested he might be distantly related to his comedic idol.
Maurice Collard of Saskatoon, Sask, won the contest, even though young Kanter’s Colbert imitation and belligerent commentary, including a swipe at Hillary Clinton, got the biggest laughs.
Tate, a retired schoolteacher from Treherne, Man., possessed the most striking physical resemblance to Colbert. He recounted how a former student called him up and told him he wanted to take pictures of him because of the uncanny likeness.
“I assumed it was just some project he was doing for school. He came over the next morning and of course it wasn’t pictures, it was video, and next thing I know I’m on YouTube – he’s going to pay,” Tate said.
The night’s festivities also included a showdown between the mascots from the Michigan and Oshawa OHL teams and lots of free cake and Dr. Pepper, Colbert’s favourite soft drink.