On the Colbert Report on Wednesday night, the host discussed the recent HSBC banking scandal but took aim not at banks, but at "the people who are angry at our banks."
"And I'm not the only one who feels this way," he said, going on to show clips of business channels lamenting the ire that many Americans feel at the large financial institutions.
"It's time to stop demonizing banks," said one.
"Yes, stop demonizing the banks! For god's sake, they have not destroyed the world economy in four years," Colbert said. "And yet, and yet, the attacks keep coming, folks."
He then went on to discuss the bank HSBC, which committed a "few minor infractions" -- including the cover-up of illegal transactions in countries under sanctions for abuses of human rights and terrorism. In Iran's case, its nuclear program prompted the ban.
"It's not like HSBC was the one enriching plutonium -- they were just enriching themselves," Colbert explained.
HSBC also helped Mexican drug cartels launder $800 million. The cartels even had specially-made boxes that fit perfectly through bank tellers' windows to accelerate the deposits.
The U.S. fined the bank $1.9 billion last month. "Do you have any idea how long it would take HSBC to earn that back?" he asked.
As it turns out, about four weeks.
"I mean, you could take the Special K challenge twice!" he said.
"Well folks, just to show how sorry they are for funding murder, HSBC has decided to 'partially defer bonus compensation for its most senior officials.' Okay. They're partially deferring their bonuses. I think that really demonstrates their partial humanity," he said.
Colbert goes on to note that "Sometimes, when people launder money for drug cartels, they go to jail. But the Obama administration isn't going to do that because, as Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said, HSBC 'would almost certainly have lost its banking license' and 'the entire banking system would have been destabilized.'"
"That would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Incidentally, it is yet to be proven that HSBC profited in any way from black market baby disposal. They just happen to be heavily invested in bathwater removal. So lay off the banks," he said.
Watch the video, via Comedy Central, below.