Stephen Colbert Visits New Zealand, Spends Day With Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

CBS
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Stephen Colbert

During the 'Late Show' segment, the host spoke to Ardern about passing gun reform laws and her recent engagement. The two were later joined by Lorde at a BBQ dinner.

Stephen Colbert was welcomed to New Zealand by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday's episode of CBS' The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

Prior to sharing the segment, Colbert explained that Ardern took office in 2017 as one of the world's youngest leaders at 37. "Since then, she's enacted a groundbreaking family leave policy, become the first head of state to bring their baby to the floor of the UN and after the tragic shooting at a mosque at Christchurch, she called for legislation to ban semi-automatic weapons and got it passed within one month," he listed her accomplishments.

Once in New Zealand, Ardern picked Colbert up at the airport. After the host thanked Ardern for cutting into her executive time to pick him up, she responded, "I'm a woman. I multitask."

Colbert then told her that he had one rule, which was to not sing along to any songs on the radio. "That is James Corden's thing and that guy is mobbed up with lawyers and he will come after us with a sharp stick," the host said. They later broke the rule to sing along to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."

While stuck in traffic, Ardern rolled down the window to talk to a man in the car next to them. When the man said he recognized her, Colbert asked if he knew who he was. To the host's dismay, the driver was unfamiliar with Colbert's work.

When they arrived at Ardern's home, Colbert asked if he could become a New Zealand citizen. "I have only been here for about four hours and I'm already having separation anxiety knowing that I have to leave here in a week," he said.

Ardern also spoke about auditioning to be in The Lord of the Rings, though she was not cast in the film. After Colbert asked if director Peter Jackson knows he denied a role to the current prime minister, she admitted, "I don't know if I've ever had that conversation with him."

Some of the host's questions included whether Canadians or New Zealanders were more polite and whether Ardern was more proud of New Zealand being the first country in the world to allow women to vote or the fact that there are no snakes in the country.

The prime minister also spoke about her recent engagement to partner Clarke Gayford, though she revealed that they haven't set a date for the ceremony. Colbert offered to officiate the wedding, though Gayford responded to the offer by saying, "Let's talk."

After Ardern clarified that her role as the prime minister is not the same as being the president, the two spoke about the U.S.' recent "pathway" of starring on a television show before running for office. "First have a television show and then straight to president," said Colbert as he jokingly campaigned to become the president of New Zealand.

The interview took a serious turn when Colbert asked Ardern about her decision to immediately pass gun reform laws following the Christchurch shootings. "We're pragmatists in New Zealand, so when it was described to me, the weapons we used and how easily they were obtained, my immediate reaction was that just can't stand. It has to change," she said. "I needed the votes of three political parties to be able to do it, but I didn't think I would even need to ask them if they thought the same thing.

"So I just went out there and said, 'Our laws will change,'" she continued. "In the end, every single member of parliament except for one voted for that change."

Following the interview, Colbert joined Ardern, Gayford and Lorde for a BBQ dinner. "I'm surprised I've never met you before," the host told the singer. "You're famous and I'm famous and that's how people generally meet."

Colbert then offered Lorde a can of peanut brittle. When she opened the lid, a fake snake jumped out of the can. After she screamed, Lorde told Colbert that the prank was "horrible."

Watch the full segment below.