Stephen Colbert is in Russia and, on Friday night, was set to appear on Evening Urgant, a popular late-night show hosted by Ivan Urgant that airs on state-run TV and looks suspiciously like certain late-night shows in the U.S.
In video on the program’s website (you have to wade through a long-ish program trailer first) that appears to be video of Colbert’s appearance – or the best case of Russian Fake News ever – Colbert is seen exchanging pleasantries and face slaps with Urgant, by way of establishing their friendship and setting up a game of Russian roulette. Only, they use a Lazy Susan filled with shot glasses containing vodka (or water), instead of a pistol with bullets.
Taking his first shot of vodka, Colbert offered a toast: “To the beautiful and friendly Russian people. I don’t understand why no members of the Trump administration can remember meeting you.”
Urgant toasted right back: “I would like to raise a glass for the beautiful country, United States of America, which invented the Internet, thanks to which we can influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential elections.”
Soon thereafter, Colbert learned all the glasses contain vodka. “So they’re all bullets?” he snarked. Deadpanned Urgant, “Of course! Welcome to Russia, Stephen.”
A shot or two in, Colbert said to Urgant – at about 4:20 in the video – “Can I announce something? I’m here in Russia –” then stopped and asked Urgant, “This is not shown in the United States?”
Urgant assured him it’s airing at Trump’s place.
Colbert seemed OK with that and continued:
“OK. I am here to announce that I am considering a run for president in 2020, and I thought it would be better to cut out the middle man and just tell the Russians myself.”
Colbert added, smiling: “If anyone would like to work on my campaign, in an unofficial capacity, please just let me know.”
Urgant got in the last word, graciously telling his guest, “It’s a pleasure to drink with the future U.S. President. To you, Stephen. I wish you luck. We will do everything we can so you become president.”
One day earlier, after President Donald Trump tweeted that he did not have any recording of any conversation with FBI Director James Comey (as he had suggested he might have in May), Colbert tweeted a photo of himself, in St. Petersburg, and wrote:
“Don’t worry, Mr. President. I’m in Russia. If the ‘tapes’ exist, I’ll bring you back a copy!”
CBS says coyly that Colbert is on assignment for a future broadcast of Late Show.
Nellie Andreeva contributed to this report.