Late-night host Stephen Colbert made a surprising Grim Reaper joke about Joe Biden on Monday to mark the president’s 81st birthday.
Responding to reports that some close to Biden believe he shouldn’t be put in “bubble wrap” but rather joke about his age and not shy away from the topic, the CBS host donned a pair of aviator sunglasses.
“Hello everyone, knock, knock?” Colbert asked, as Biden asked. “Who ‘s there?” replied the “Late Show” audience.
“I’m not sure, but he’s been standing silently in my doorway for some time. “He’s a pale guy, big cape, long, sharp knife on a pole,” Colbert said, as some in the crowd sounded surprised. “Smile right at me, great group of gobblers. Look into his eye sockets and watch a little movie about all the fun things I did as a kid.”
Colbert also joked that Biden was walking around town with poll numbers “less than half his age,” referencing a recent poll that showed he only had a 40 percent approval rating.
Biden’s birthday perhaps attracted more attention than usual because he is already the oldest U.S. president in history, and recent polls and media reports reflected both public alarm and Democratic Party concerns about his suitability as a candidate.
On Monday, New York Times reporter Peter Baker noted on MSNBC that Biden was expressly foregoing a lavish public celebration of the day so as not to draw even more attention to the occasion.
“You’re not going to see a big, lavish celebration like Barack Obama celebrated his 50th birthday in office or Bill Clinton celebrated his birthdays in office with fundraisers, concerts and all that,” Baker said. “You’ll basically see almost nothing.”
“I mean, he’s not going to say anything publicly about it today, he doesn’t want to draw attention to it,” he added, noting that he will celebrate privately with his family in Nantucket.
Although the president joked about his age Monday as he pardoned two turkeys named Liberty and Bell, saying, “I just want you to know that it’s hard to turn 60,” Baker argued that the current government wants to divert the focus from his age, he is running for a second term.
Politico also reported that some advisers urged Biden to wear more comfortable shoes and walk less on camera to avoid showing off a stiff gait.
Biden’s aides are increasingly annoyed by stories and questions about his age, saying they are parlor talk in Washington DC that are irrelevant to his job performance. They also point out that his current most likely opponent in 2024, former President Trump, at 77, is no spring chicken himself.
Biden’s birthday also caused jokes on other late-night shows on Monday.
Seth Meyers, host of NBC’s “Late Show,” said Biden turned 81 despite his aides “strongly advising him not to.”