On Thursday night’s edition of “The Colbert Report,” host Stephen Colbert welcomed up-and-coming political commentator, author and host of MSNBC’s “Up with Chris Hayes,” Chris Hayes, who has recently released his first book, Twilight of the Elites.
Colbert began the interview by bringing up “the elephant in the room,” the fact that Hayes wasn’t wearing a tie.
“I’m terrible at tying ties,” responded Hayes affably.
“You’re a news man now,” Colbert scolded. “It’s called gravitas!”
Hayes responded that, in fact, much of his show has been “reverse engineered” around the fact that he doesn’t know how to tie a tie.
Colbert asked Hayes what he means by “Twilight of the Elites.” “And I am speaking as one of the elites, here,” he said. “Are you ready for it to be over for guys like me?”
“Yes,” replied Hayes, “Guys like you have had a pretty poor record over the last decade.”
He then went on to lay out the central premise of his book, which is that the Iraq War, the financial collapse of 2008, the bumbling response to Hurricane Katrina, the housing bubble, all of these things are the products of a dying elite culture. The alleged finest minds of our generation have turned out to be not so fine, and have created mountains of smoking ruins, both literally and figuratively.
Colbert countered that the people in our society who wield, as Hayes alleges, a disproportionate amount of influence over other people, earned their way into their postions of power. “Nobody gave me anything!” he said, “other than my parents, who gave me the fortune I used to go to school.”
“That’s basically the book’s argument in one sentence,” said Hayes.
“Well that’s good,” Colbert replied, “because I’m not going to read it.”
“There’s a lot of misery and frustration, right now,” Hayes argued, “and it’s been brought about by a colossal failure of pillar institutions in this country.” And the costs, he said, are not borne by the Stephen Colberts of the world, they’re borne by poor people and others who share no blame in the creation of the problem.
“Well, good luck with the revolution, Comrade Hayes,” Colbert jokingly wished him at the end of the segment. “The book is Twilight of the Elites,” he said to the camera, “I think it’s got vampires and werewolves in it, don’t buy it.”
Watch the clip, embedded via Comedy Central, below: