CBS's Late Show host Stephen Colbert devoted nearly the entire show on Thursday to liberal media darling and Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY). In turn, the interview was loaded with softballs.
While Colbert did not find any time to confront Cuomo over his state’s insane nursing homes policy requiring them to accept those who contract coronavirus, the left-wing comedian trumpeted a survey showing Cuomo and his CNN anchor brother tied for “most desirable men” in New York. This led Colbert to ponder who should play Andrew on the big screen.
Cuomo started by described himself as a “big fan” of Colbert’s and based on the way the interview went, the feeling was mutual. The first portion focused on Cuomo’s personal life; with Colbert specifically highlighting the fact that his three adult daughters had joined him in his “quarantine bubble.” He made sure to ask Cuomo if one of their boyfriends had joined him for the quarantine before rendering a ruling on the young man.
Later, Colbert praised Cuomo for “trying to keep this apolitical.” Apparently, the Late Show host forgot about his exaggerated demand for 30,000 ventilators from the federal government. Eventually, Colbert pondered how Cuomo’s late father Mario --- a former New York governor himself --- would be handling the coronavirus outbreak. Colbert asked for what the lessons Mario taught about “what it means to be an American and what it means to be community-minded.”
Towards the end, Colbert brought up a survey finding that the Cuomo brothers (Chris and Andrew) were “tied as the most desirable men in New York.” Colbert proceeded to ask Cuomo “as an older brother, can you abide by a tie? Do you want to do anything right now to push yourself over the top in terms of desirableness? You want to loosen a top button, you want to give us a smoldering stare?”
Colbert also inquired: “In the movie of this, when it’s finally made, who do you want to have play you?” Colbert mentioned that Robert de Niro had volunteered on Wednesday's show to play Cuomo. The current New York governor, a self-described “big de Niro fan,” replied “that would be a treat.”
Those who missed Colbert’s sit down with Cuomo need not worry. Considering the fact that he has recently made the rounds with adoring hosts including Trevor Noah and even his own brother, it’s only a matter of time before the legacy media’s favorite governor decides to saddle up for another hard-hitting interview.
A transcript of the relevant portions of Thursday’s edition of The Late Show is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS's The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
11:54 p.m. Eastern
STEPHEN COLBERT: My guest tonight is the 56th Governor of the State of New York. Please welcome his excellency, Governor Andrew Cuomo! Thanks so much for being with us, Governor, and thank you for everything you’re doing to keep our state safe and the public informed. How are you?
GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO: Thank…I’m doing well. So far, so good. As well as I can be doing under the circumstances, anyway, Stephen. Thank you for having me. Pleasure to be with you. I’m a big fan.
COLBERT: Well, sir, you’re…you’re…I know you’re sequestered right now with adult children. That’s in your little…your quarantine bubble. How, how, how is that, having the adult kids home at with you?
CUOMO: That’s actually cool. You know, my kids are 22, 25 and 25 twins, three girls. I normally can’t get them to come home to visit me, Stephen. You know, I…I normally have to pay them to come visit me. They want a check when they come.
CUOMO: So, to have them with me has really been a…
CUOMO: …a silver lining in a weird way, you know.
CUOMO: Because they’re out there living their lives, the last thing they want to do is go hang out with dad in Albany, you know.
COLBERT: I know.
CUOMO: But they’ve been here, and it’s…it’s been very helpful to me because it… with everything going on, it’s just very grounding for me to go home and have them there and…and hear their abuse, which I’m accustomed to and I know comes from a good place.
COLBERT: Sure, of course. How about the boyfriend? Is the boyfriend still with you?
CUOMO: The boyfriend is still with us, yes.
COLBERT: And we like…
CUOMO: He is…
COLBERT: …the boyfriend?
CUOMO: We…yes, we like the boyfriend. Official comment, we like the boyfriend. Personal comment, we like the boyfriend.
CUOMO: I learned that lesson the hard way. You have to say you like the boyfriend.
CUOMO: Whatever you feel…
COLBERT: Of course.
CUOMO: …because they’re still in the rebellion phase. You say you don’t like the boyfriend, they will marry that boyfriend just to spite you. So, yes, I like the boyfriend.
COLBERT: And here’s why I think you actually like the boyfriend is because you’re willing to talk about whether or not you like the boyfriend.
COLBERT: Because if you actually didn’t like the boyfriend, you just would never mention the boyfriend.
CUOMO: I would never mention the boyfriend. And the boyfriend has been in close proximity. So, if I really didn’t like the boyfriend, that would have communicated by now through various means and methods.
COLBERT: Well, I want to talk to you about something that you…you talked about in your press briefing yesterday. New York City overall…New York State overall numbers are dropping, but you reported yesterday that in a survey of 1,300 new COVID patients, 66 percent of them had been staying at home. Do we know why these people who are staying at home are still getting sick?
CUOMO: Yeah, it’s actually interesting, Stephen. The close-down has worked so well, and what we feared didn’t come true. I was afraid that the essential workers would have a higher infection rate…the healthcare workers, transit workers, police.
COLBERT: That makes sense.
CUOMO: Yeah, and that did not happen. Actually, the healthcare workers, believe it or not, have a lower infection rate than the general population, which just shows the P.P.E., the masks, et cetera, actually works. The infection rate is now down to an increase among those people who stay home, meaning the close-down is working. We’re down to a level now where it’s pure personal behavior and whether or not you’re wearing a mask and you’re using sanitizer. Because this is now people who are at home who are not working, not taking public transportation, that’s the only area that we still see growth, and that’s actually good news.
12:02:22 a.m. Eastern
COLBERT: Georgia allowed haircuts and people…
COLBERT: …flooded into Georgia to get their haircuts.
CUOMO: Well, you have such a pent-up demand, right? Think…
CUOMO: …about it now… People will go anywhere, right? Just…people will get in the car and drive a couple of hours just to get out of the house for a couple of hours so...
COLBERT: Speaking of haircuts, your brother Chris got a very short haircut. Serious question, I thought that dog groomers were all closed in New York.
CUOMO: Well, he…where he went was even worse than going to a dog groomer. He had the COVID virus. He then gave his wife the COVID virus.
COLBERT: Oh, no.
CUOMO: He was quarantined in the basement, she was quarantined upstairs. After he gave her the COVID virus, he said…he told me that she forgave him. He then gave her the shears to cut his hair. And she cut his hair like Delilah cut Samson’s hair, and she gave it all back to him. So, you know, that was a passive aggressive, still angry haircut. She just…he has a shorter haircut, I told him it’s like a prison haircut, you know…
CUOMO: Exactly. Like a slightly institutionalized feeling to it. He’s got shoes without laces right now.
COLBERT: Oh, yeah.
12:08:30 a.m. Eastern
COLBERT: Now, you’ve, I think, been very good about trying to keep this apolitical, and you have not risen to any of the President’s bait about talking about the blue states not managing their own finances of their own COVID crisis, but what do you say to the President when he says that it wouldn’t be fair to Republicans to be bailing out blue states right now who are the heavy urban population states that are dealing with the COVID crisis at its highest levels?
CUOMO: Yeah. First, you’re right, I try to stay away from the politics because this is such an ugly, divided, political environment to begin with. Once that political flag goes up, Stephen, people change their…the, the lens and everything becomes political, and you’re…you’re at 50/50, and we need everybody on the same page here, we needed all New Yorkers to work together, so I stay 100 miles away from politics, but states do need funding, and we do need federal legislation providing funding for states. You have the states in charge of reopening. The President has made that clear. It’s up to the governors. I have a $13 billion deficit. You know, my state has a terrible financial hole because of this virus, and all states are in the same position. If you want to get the economy back running, you have to fund states. The federal legislations does small business, airlines, et cetera. The states fund police, and fire, and school, and teachers. So, you have to fund the states. The bailout argument is just nonsensical. If you look at who pays the bills in this country, who contributes more money, New York contributes more money to the federal government every year than it gets back. We, in essence, have been subsidizing the federal government and other states to the tune of billions of dollars every year. We put in about $30 billion more every year than we get back. So, if anything, New York has been bailing out the nation for many, many years. But, look, this is not a Democratic or Republican issue, it’s just not. The virus does not discriminate. You have Democrats dying, you have Republicans dying. It’s not a red state-blue state issue. It’s a national issue. It is a red, white and blue issue, and I just refuse to get into that partisan fight because, for me, I’m trying to handle this situation in New York, I have Democrats, Republicans, I have independents, I have everything in New York, and I need everyone to know that I am not speaking out of any political tone. I have no politics in this. I’m not running for anything else, I’m not going anywhere else. I’m just Governor of New York, and I represent them, Democrat, Republican, and we’re all on the same page and we’re all trying to accomplish the same thing, and that feeling of mutuality that we used to have in this nation, which is gone, I want to have that in New York. I want everyone to know we’re on the same page, we have the same agenda, I’m trying to protect you while you’re trying to protect me. You know, that mask is a beautiful metaphor. I don’t wear a mask to protect myself, I wear a mask to protect you, and you wear a mask to protect me, and that’s community at its best. You know, that’s citizenship at its best, and that’s what I’m trying to do in New York.
COLBERT: Sir, we have to take one more quick break. If you can just give us a…a moment more, we’ll be right back with Governor Andrew Cuomo.
12:16:58 a.m. Eastern
COLBERT: Hey, everybody! We’re back with Governor Andrew Cuomo. You know, you…you’ve talked about your father and the lessons that you learned from him. How do you think your father would be handling this Coronavirus right now?
CUOMO: Better than I am, that I can tell you. No, my father…my father was the best.
COLBERT: How does he inspire you and the lessons he taught you not only about governing as the state of New York himself but also what it means to be an American and what it means to be community-minded, how does that influence the way that you’re approaching this crisis?
CUOMO: My father was always representative of our best selves. If our better angels needed a spokesperson, they would hire my father, right? That’s…that’s where he came from, that’s what he spoke to. And I’m…I still hear my father every day, you know. His voice is still in my…in my head, and his…his love is still in my heart. So, he would be saying rise above. He would be saying rise above. Don’t get into the gutter with them, don’t let them pull you down, don’t go for the bait. Rise above. This is a transcendent crisis, and it’s not about you and your ego and your personality. Who cares what they say? Rise above and lead people up. Lead people up. The state motto, Excelsior, ever upwards. Excelsior, ever upwards. I added another expression to the state seal, which was one of his favorites, E Pluribus Unum; out of many, one. You put those two together, Steve, and you have everything. Excelsior, ever upwards, aspirational; E Pluribus Unum, out of many, one. Community, our founding premise, that’s what he would be saying.
COLBERT: Now, I got two very important questions to close out with here, Governor. I need to ask you about a recent survey. 2,000 people were surveyed, and they found that the Cuomo brothers, you and your brother Chris, tied as the most desirable men in New York. Now, as an older brother, can you abide by a tie? Do you want to do anything right now to push yourself over the top in terms of desirableness? You want to loosen a top button, you want to give us a smoldering stare? Anything?
CUOMO: Well, first…
COLBERT: Put him in his place?
CUOMO: Smoldering stare…First of all, my brother has to be disqualified because he’s not eligible. He is married. So, he’s not eligible. So, he’s out. First of all, he’s out.
COLBERT: There it is. He’s DQ’ed.
CUOMO: There it is. There it is. He’s DQ’ed. He’s out of the competition, he’s out of the running, I win.
COLBERT: Okay. In the movie of this, when it’s finally made, who do you want to have play you because last night, we know that Brad Pitt’s already playing Dr. Fauci. But last night, I had de Niro on the show and he said he wants to play you. Do you approve of that casting?
CUOMO: Well, first how does Brad Pitt play…how did we get Brad Pitt to Dr. Fauci? How do you see that?
COLBERT: Dr. Fauci asked that, in the movie, he…he would like if…Brad Pitt would play Dr. Fauci, and Pitt showed up on SNL as Dr. Fauci. So, that’s…that’s cast at this point.
CUOMO: All right, so…
COLBERT: I’m sorry.
CUOMO: …that’s done. Okay, look Bob…
COLBERT: de Niro?
CUOMO: de Niro. I am a big de Niro fan. He is just phenomenal. The…the breadth of his ability…I mean, just look at all the roles he’s played. He can do anything, right?
CUOMO: Deer Hunter, Cape Fear, he can do comedy. How about Taxi Driver?
CUOMO: I’m going to do…
COLBERT: Bad Grandpa.
CUOMO: …Taxi Driver. I’m going to do Taxi Driver. The next press conference when a reporter asks me a question: “You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me?” Oh, boy that would be a treat. I’m a big…
COLBERT: That would.
CUOMO: …de Niro fan. He’s a genius.
COLBERT: I’ll look forward to it.
CUOMO: He’s a genius.
COLBERT: Well, Governor, thank you so much for talking to us today and thank you for keeping us informed and…and keeping us safe.
CUOMO: Thank you, Stephen. All the best to you. Stay safe, you and your family.