The Late Show's Stephen Colbert has 'special place' in his heart for Jacinda Ardern

Stephen Colbert, the host of The Late Show, told his audience Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has a "special place in my heart" after inviting him to New Zealand last year.  

The Prime Minister joined the US talk show host in New York on Thursday afternoon (NZ time) where he announced he'd be visiting New Zealand in October. 

"It's a deal - I'm going to New Zealand in October!" Colbert proclaimed, and Ardern responded: "I'll pick you up at the airport."

It was the second time the Prime Minister had been interviewed by Colbert. The first time was last year on the sidelines of her first trip to the United Nations General Assembly. 

In the prelude to Ardern's segment on The Late Show, Colbert said out of all the meetings happening on the sidelines of this year's UN General Assembly, he had been "keeping an eye" on Ardern's one-on-one with Donald Trump. 

Ardern met with the US President on Tuesday (NZ time), discussing a wide-ranging of topics. She said Trump was interested in New Zealand's tourism, the gun buyback and the Christchurch mosque attacks.

The pair were photographed at the time, with Trump pulling thumbs up as he stood alongside the Prime Minister. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and US President Donald Trump.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and US President Donald Trump. Photo credit: Supplied

Colbert cracked a joke about the image on his show, telling his audience the two leaders could be "seen here after being asked how they felt about treason with Ukraine". 

Trump is currently embroiled in a political scandal about a controversial phone call between him and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which Trump's opponents are using as fuel for impeachment talk.

During her interview with Colbert last year, Ardern was grilled about whether she was one of those who laughed during Trump's speech to the General Assembly. 

"Are you trying to create a diplomatic incident?" Ardern joked at the time. 

Colbert said he has a "special place in my heart for Prime Minister Ardern" after she invited him to New Zealand during that interview. 

He recounted how she "even invited me to come to New Zealand to become an official citizen of Hobbiton - not too shabby!"

Ardern said while it had been a year since she last saw Colbert, she hadn't forgotten that she invited him to come to New Zealand, "and you haven't been yet which is a little awkward". 

Colbert replied: "I just assumed you were kidding because I invite people over to my place all the time and I never mean it." 

The Late Show's Stephen Colbert has 'special place' in his heart for Jacinda Ardern
Photo credit: Scott Kowalchyk / CBS

Ardern said she "absolutely meant it", adding that Colbert was "100 percent invited to New Zealand and we'd really love to have you". 

"How about this week?" he asked. 

"I unfortunately still have the UN - trying to save the world thing," she responded. 

That's when Colbert revealed his plans to visit New Zealand in October. 

"I'm supposed to travel with my crew to an island nation south of Australia to film a series of comedy segments, but what if I cancel that and go to New Zealand instead?"

The Late Show is the number one late-night television show in the US with an average viewership of 3.5 million. 

Jacinda Ardern and Renée Zellweger.
Jacinda Ardern and Renée Zellweger. Photo credit: Daniel Pannett

The TV episode was filled with high-profile guests, including US actress Renée Zellweger, who Ardern met in her green room before the show. 

It's understood the actress, famous for starring in films such as Bridget Jones's Diary and Me, Myself and Irene, commented on how well she thought Ardern led New Zealand through the Christchurch terror attack. 

Zellweger was one of many high-profile figures Ardern has mingled with this week. She met with Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda and appeared on CBS breakfast programme This Morning.

Zellweger also isn't the first famous US actress to form a bond with the Prime Minister. 

When she attended the UN General Assembly last year, Ardern met with Oscar-winning actress Anne Hathaway, who reportedly requested the opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister.