Stephen Colbert on Putin-Biden call: ‘Two old men on a Zoom’

·4 min read

Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert recapped a tense moment in diplomatic relations Tuesday evening, after Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin placed troops on the border of Ukraine, an ally the US has promised to protect.

To de-escalate some of the tension, Biden and Putin talked about Ukraine in a video call on Tuesday. “Makes sense, the only way to resolve a delicate situation that requires crystal clear communication is two old men on a Zoom,” the Late Show host joked.

According to the White House, Biden promised that if Putin invaded, the US and allies “would respond with strong economic and other measures”.

Related: Stephen Colbert: ‘Only thing spreading faster than Omicron is misinformation’

“I know we’re trying to avoid another hot war here,” said Colbert, “but those are some pretty vague threats – ‘Son, if you throw a party when your mother and I are out of town, we will respond with strong reactions and emotions, TBD.’”

At the end of the call, the two presidents “tasked their teams to follow up”, according to the White House. “Very good, we will have our people follow your people,” Colbert joked in a Russian accent. “I mean, follow up. Perhaps they talk about it over a nice bowl of poison, I mean soup.”

Jimmy Fallon

On the Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon also mocked the two-hour video call between Biden and Putin: “Like most two-hour meetings over Zoom, Putin was like, ‘this could’ve been email’.”

“Zoom meetings with Putin are interesting,” he added. “Some people go without pants, Putin just goes without a shirt.”

Fallon also imagined the advice offered to Biden by European leaders before the call, including UK prime minister Boris Johnson (“never get your haircut from a Supercuts that has 1.5 stars on Yelp”) and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan (“I’ve always found that other world leaders respond to me breathing heavily into the phone and not saying anything”).

In other news, China’s moon rover spotted a mysterious cube-shaped object (or rock?) on the surface of the moon. “Everyone on the internet is trying to figure out what it is,” said Fallon. “Because if there’s anyone who knows the truth, it’s random people on the internet. Yeah, the same internet who couldn’t figure out the color of a dress.”

Trevor Noah

And on the Daily Show, Trevor Noah investigated the red-hot competition in the US housing market. “For decades, owning a home has been one of the core parts of the American dream, just below dating Pete Davidson,” he said. “But right now, actually buying a home has been harder than Matt Gaetz watching the new Saved by the Bell.”

The swift competition and steep prices are “kind of a perfect storm of many different factors”, he continued, from shortage of supply, historically low mortgage rates, and work from home flexibility that has led many young people to leave cities for the suburbs.

Also, it’s who has stepped into the housing market: large financial firms, often backed by private equity, which are snapping up single family homes sourced by computer algorithms to rent out.

“I know what you’re thinking right now: why on earth would we allow Wall Street to mess with the housing market?” Noah said. “They caused the housing crisis! Yeah, exactly, they already caused a housing crisis – what are the odds it happens again?!”

“What better way to fix your image problem than to become the nation’s biggest landlord, I guess?” he joked.

There’s also a generational divide at play, as millennial first-time prospective buyers compete with baby boomers (and their lifetime savings) looking to downsize, leading many young people to either buy houses with friends or look for cheap fixer-uppers.

“Why do millennials love crappy old houses that no one else wants?’” said Noah, mocking a journalist’s question on the subject. “Because it’s their only option! It’s like asking me in grade school, ‘Trevor, why do you love sitting by yourself at lunchtime?’”

“So that’s where we are right now: thanks to Boomers, and Wall Street, owning a home may soon no longer be the American Dream,” he concluded. “The good news is, if you wait around long enough, you might still get a chance to date Pete Davidson.”

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