It should come as no surprise that Stephen Colbert is a pretty cool dude. His former show, The Colbert Report, was always one of the funniest, most subversive shows on TV, and he’s done all sorts of crazy things musically like releasing a 7-inch on Jack White’s Third Man Records and throw a festival called StePhest Colbchella on the deck of a freakin’ aircraft carrier. It’s also relatively common knowledge that he’s a big fan of enigmatic indie rocker Jeff Mangum and his legendary band, Neutral Milk Hotel; he even used a snippet of “Holland, 1945” to play himself off the air last year. But this might be the neatest thing he’s done yet: Colbert was the guest on the season finale of Jerry Seinfeld’s popular webseries Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, and somehow found a way to bring up Neutral Milk Hotel in conversation about the hardship of life, completely baffling the host to the point of tear-filled laughter.
To whit: Colbert asks Seinfeld, “Do you know the band Neutral Milk Hotel?” to which Seinfeld responds, “Is that an antacid?” Colbert then goes on to talk about the title track of NMH’s sophomore album, In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, quoting the final song’s final verse, “And when we meet on a cloud/I’ll be laughing out loud/I’ll be laughing with everyone I see/Can’t believe how strange it is to be anything at all.” Seinfeld reacts by laughing so hard he begins to tear up, covering his face with a napkin—clearly not feeling the seriousness of the song. But hey, that’s okay: Dude is a professional comedian, after all. Watch the entire clip below (fast-forward to around 11:15 for the NMH talk).
Or, alternately, you can just press “play” below and enjoy one of the finest songs of the past 20 years.