Stephen Colbert, possible 2020 presidential candidate, has returned from Russia. “Man, it is good to be back in the U.S.A.,” the host said at the top of his Late Show monologue Monday night. He also gave a shout-out to his “hard-core fans” from Russian intelligence who he said “followed me everywhere.”
Colbert said he also seemed to draw the attention of American intelligence officials while in St. Petersburg, adding, “It’s important to keep your eye on a comedian while he’s in Russia, doing jokes. I could be giving state secrets to the Russians. Oh wait, somebody’s already got that covered…”
During the few days he spent in Russia, Colbert revealed that he and his team filmed four or five separate field pieces, shooting as much as 13 hours a day. “The Russian people were lovely,” he said, teasing “a whole week” of content coming up in the near future.
“But while Russia was fascinating, it is sincerely wonderful to be back in America,” the host added. And he was pleased to know that while he was gone, everybody was still talking about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
This past week, The Washington Post published an in-depth look at just how much Vladimir Putin did to boost Donald Trump and diminish his Democratic opponent’s chances. “The only person who did more damage to Hillary Clinton’s campaign was Hillary Clinton,” he joked.
Earlier in the show, Colbert showed one short clip from his trip in which he wore a Yankees cap, ate a New York hot dog, and held up a copy of a New York Times to prove that he was really still at home. “After all the things I’ve said about Vladimir Putin, I’d be crazy to go to Moscow,” he said.
While in Russia, Colbert also appeared on the local late-night talk show Evening Urgant, where he trolled President Trump by announcing that he was considering his own bid for the White House in 2020. “I thought it would be better to cut out the middleman and just tell the Russians myself,” he said.
“To be clear, all I said in that little clip there was that I was ‘considering’ a run,” Colbert added on Monday’s Late Show in an attempt to clarify his joke plans. “If I decide to run, I’m obviously not going to ask the Russians to help my campaign. I’d have my son-in-law ask them.”
Colbert also sent a message of thanks to everyone he met while on his trip “from the government agents following us every day to the extras from John Wick with the full sleeve of tattoos triangulating in the lobby, including one of these goons right outside my door.”
“So I really want to thank our pharmaceutical industry for helping me sleep at night,” he continued. “And like President Trump, I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any other tapes of what I did in Russia. I did not personally make any such recordings, but I’m pretty sure my crew did. We learned a lot. And you will, too.”