This week, Tucker Carlson directed an interview with Vladimir Putin for his show on X. The interview, which lasts more than two hours, was apparently an attempt to interview the Russian leader about the war in Ukraine. Instead of doing that, however, Putin launched into a long digression about his own version of Russian history before criticizing Carlson to his face.
I will say this: this interview is hands down the funniest thing I’ve seen all year. Granted, it’s only been six weeks since the start of 2024, but Carlson’s strange and bizarre conversation with Russia’s autocrat made me laugh several times.
Humor has multiple layers. For one thing, Carlson was forced to fly to the Kremlin to conduct this interview. This context, in itself, is fun. Tucker is summoned to the royal palace of his interview subject, expecting, I’m sure, an informative and exciting discussion that fits well with his alternative/right-wing/infotainment style of web content. What he got, instead, was a comically dull history lesson on national borders and a continuous stream of insults. The look of shock and confusion on Carlson’s face as Putin spoke incessantly is truly something to savor:
That said, Tucker did his best to get something commercially viable out of his talk. However, at almost every turn Putin undermined those attempts, choosing to mock Carlson and make him look like an idiot.
One of the most memorable examples of this was when Putin told Carlson, in so many words, that he was obviously too stupid to get a job at the CIA (which Carlson ironically he tried to do before becoming an anti-deep state shill):
At another point, Carlson asked Putin if he saw God’s design in world political affairs. With a bored look that seemed to imply that he was talking to someone with a below-average IQ, Putin simply said “no” before explaining that international laws governed world events, not a deity.
Obviously there are many things that can be said about Vladimir Putin, but not being intelligent is not one of them. Putin’s demeanor during much of the interview with Carlson is more or less that of a man trying to explain algebra to a goat.
The memes inspired by the episode have been abundant and fun. I liked this one:
That Carlson would want to interview an influential world leader who is currently engaged in a brutal war is commendable, though it’s hard not to feel like Carlson’s content is always beholden to a larger ideological narrative designed to irritate viewers without giving them much context. . I would like to see a good interview with Putin, although this was not it. He made me laugh though.