Stephen Colbert has made good on his promise to visit New Zealand, and the prime minister has made good on her promise to drive him around.
When Jacinda Ardern appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in New York late last month, she challenged the host on his failure to visit New Zealand. The comedian and Tolkien obsessive had pledged to do so a year earlier, when Ardern (or Arrrr-dern, as Colbert has it) guested on the show. Then, he’d accepted an invitation to visit New Zealand and “become an official citizen of Hobbiton”.
Ardern reissued the invitation a fortnight ago. “I’ll pick you up at the airport,” she said.
“It’s a deal! I’m going to New Zealand in October,” said Colbert.
According to several sources it is now October in New Zealand, and The Spinoff can reveal that Stephen Colbert is here. Whether or not Ardern picked the comedian up from the airport we do not know, but she was seen at the wheel of a Hyundai electric sedan, driving Colbert around the Auckland suburb of Morningside.
Followed by a camera crew from CBS and officials from Tourism New Zealand, Ardern and Colbert spent a few minutes at Kind cafe before chatting to members of the public.
Among them was New Zealand comedy writer and performer Alice Snedden. Speaking exclusively to The Spinoff, Snedden, who is not connected with the visit, said: “I can’t … No comment.”
When pressed for comment, Snedden added: “I don’t want to be in a Spinoff article about it.”
Colbert is understood to have just arrived in New Zealand for a short visit, which he had earlier said would involve “filming a series of comedy segments”. His trip will include a visit to Hobbiton, a Matamata location popular with people who like Hobbits.
The Spinoff’s investigative entertainment team unearthed the news that Colbert was in the country and filming with Ardern when it looked out the window and saw them there.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.