Two Jews walk into a war

Zelensky cracks joke about ‘Jewish guys from Odesa’ on Letterman

In brief return to his past comedy career, Ukrainian president jokes about Russia’s military performance during appearance on the talk show host’s new series

Talk show host David Letterman (L) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speak on a subway platform in Kyiv, for an episode of the Netflix series "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction" that aired on December 12, 2022. (Youtube screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Talk show host David Letterman (L) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speak on a subway platform in Kyiv, for an episode of the Netflix series "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction" that aired on December 12, 2022. (Youtube screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

In a respite from leading his country’s resistance against the ongoing Russian invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky briefly returned to his previous career of telling jokes for an episode of David Letterman’s new show that aired Monday.

In his appearance on “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction,” the Jewish Ukrainian leader told a joke about the state of Russia’s military, to laughs from the audience and host.

“Two Jewish guys from Odesa meet up,” Zelensky said. “One asks the other: ‘So what’s the situation? What are people saying?’”

“And he goes, ‘What are people saying? They are saying it’s a war.’”

“What kind of war?”

“Russia is fighting NATO.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes, yes! Russia is fighting NATO.”

“So how’s it going?”

“Well, 70,000 Russian soldiers are dead. The missile stockpile has almost been depleted. A lot of equipment is damaged, blown up.”

“And what about NATO?”

“What about NATO? NATO hasn’t even arrived yet.”

Letterman traveled to Kyiv for the interview with Zelensky, which was conducted in October before a small live audience at an underground subway platform to provide for shelter from Russian airstrikes.

Before winning the presidential election in 2019, Zelensky was a comedian and actor best known for starring in the comedy series “Servant of the People,” which is about a high school teacher propelled to the presidency after a student’s video of him denouncing official corruption in Ukraine goes viral.

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