Vladimir Putin has banned all pictures depicting him as a potentially gay clown, so “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert put together his own “artistic interpretation” of Russia’s president as exactly that.
“Because this is America — for now — and we can do anything we want, the ‘Late Show’ has put together its own artistic interpretation of Vladimir Putin, gay icon,” he told audiences on Friday night.
In the animated video, the politician wears short cut off jeans and clown makeup, saying things like “I like boys” but concluding the video with, “seriously, you must work or I will have you killed.”
Before Colbert shared his creative take on Putin, he explained that it is now illegal in Russia to share pictures of Putin as a gay clown. Russian outlets are having trouble figuring out exactly which image of the internet’s many memes depicting Putin as a gay clown — because it’s been banned. According to the Washington Post, the picture was described last week by the Russian government as “extremism.”
“Straight clown, totally OK,” said Colbert. “Bisexual lion tamer, again, totally fine! But ‘gay’ and ‘clown,’ нет, comrade!”
Colbert listed some issues with this new ban, given that it’s hard to differentiate a straight clown from a gay clown. He then showed examples that could have been the trigger for the ban, like, Putin adorned with colorful makeup, with the words “Stop Homofobia” written over his forehead.
“I don’t see clown, I see more Joel Grey in ‘Cabaret’ meets sad dog,” Colbert said, before showing another potential picture.
“I’m not sure the banned picture is either one of us those, because we found another picture of Vladimir Putin that some would say is by far the gayest of all time,” he said, showing the famous picture of Putin riding on horseback shirtless in 2009. “I can see that guy leading a gay pride parade, easily!”
Watch the video above.