U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Colbert’s The Late Show, presumably to talk about leading negotiations with Iran that will cut off that country’s pathways to a nuclear weapon, and presiding over the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba. Guessing Colbert also will ask Kerry about that bicycle accident he had during the Iran deal talks – the spill on which GOP presidential race front-runner Donald Trump has been dining for weeks:
“He’s in a bicycle race, he’s 73 years old!…I swear to you I will never enter a bicycle race if I’m president. I swear! He’s in a bicycle race. He falls and breaks his leg. This is our chief negotiator! He’s walking in and they’re looking at him thinking what a schmuck.”
Kerry, who is in New York for the opening of the UN General Assembly, has been a sort of late-night TV punching bag for years. In 2004, when he decided it was time to do his first national TV interview since the Swift Boaters for Bush launched their attack on then Senator Kerry’s Vietnam War record, he did not choose CBS’s 60 Minutes or NBC Nightly News, but Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. It marked the first time The Daily Show had bagged an actual presidential nominee. His extended interview with Stewart played so badly that Slate, for instance, described his “lack of vibrancy” and “utter dearth of sex appeal” as having made “Al Gore look like Charro.”
That interview also played a key role in Stewart’s historic visit to CNN’s first iteration of Crossfire, when Tucker Carlson accused Stewart of not being hard enough on the Dem White House hopeful. “It’s interesting to hear you talk about my responsibility. I didn’t realize that, and maybe this explains quite a bit, that the news organizations look to Comedy Central for their cues on integrity,” Stewart shot back, which went viral, causing Stewart to get a lot of credit for CNN’s decision to pull the plug on Crossfire not long after. Here’s as good a place as any to note Stewart is an EP on Colbert’s The Late Show.
That Daily Show appearance had been his first late-night interview since Kerry rode on to Jay Leno’s Tonight Show on a motorcycle, dressed in leather and denim. Leno’s other guests that night included Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, who said of Kerry: “The poop I left in the dressing room has more heat coming off it than his campaign.” This time, Kerry’s staff has managed the booking more carefully: Colbert’s other guests Thursday night include previously announced actress Claire Danes and YouTube comedian PewDiePie.
Kerry previously sat down with Colbert on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report in 2007. Before that interview, Colbert was taped by Talking Points Memo offering Kerry advice as to how to handle the interview, explaining “You know that I’m in character, that I’m an idiot” who is “willfully ignorant of what we’re going to talk about,” also telling Kerry, “my character is thrilled you’re not running for president.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.