COMMENT:

The second night of Stephen Colbert's week in New Zealand was cliche night, albeit with tongue in cheek and heart in the right place.

After last night's arrival and visit to the home of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Colbert tonight annouced to The Late Show audience that he wanted to learn how to blend in as a regular Kiwi.

To help him, he flew to Wellington to meet "two of New Zealand's biggest celebrities, Bret McKenzie, who is one half of Flight of the Conchords, and Lucy Lawless who is 100 per cent of Xena Warrior Princess".

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The capital turned it on, with a still, warm day on the waterfront providing the first properly eye-catching vista of the trip.

So Stephen, sharp in his suit, met Bret and Lucy looking kinda Kiwi low-key, and the first thing they did was have a laugh about our food.

They tried three things. The opener was toastie pie with tinned spaghetti - "a white bread-based dish," said Bret.

"So this is spaghetti in a can. Is this the result of some sort of like World War II surplus that you had to do something to get rid?" asked Colbert. "It looks like a Pop-Tart filled with sadness."

Then there was a "classic sausage sizzle opportunity", as Lawless put it.

"White bread - you have not achieved bun technology," said Colbert, before making what I think was a risque joke about sausage sizzles.

Finally - Marmite on toast or, as McKenzie put it: "Another white bread-based New Zealand classic."

"It's sweet as, you'll like it," said Lawless.

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"What did you say about my ass?" replied Colbert.

After tasting the Marmite, he mugged downing a slug of tomato sauce from the bottle (Wattie's, of course) to douse the taste of Marmite. The studio audience laughed.

Next up was slang and Colbert learning "yeah, nah". He soon got the chance to try it out.

McKenzie: "Would you like some more Marmite on toast Stephen?"

Colbert: "Yeah, nah."

After that, they went for a ride along the waterfront in a crocodile bike.

"How much of your national economy is based on whimsy?" asked Colbert, amused by the bike.

Later, he asked: "Are you proud of your country?"

When Lawless and McKenzie said they were, he said he missed that feeling.

He returned to that theme in a section when he expressed surprise that healthcare is free here, even as a tourist, although he probably knew that really.

As they were riding along the waterfront, they passed a woman and offered her a ride in the back of the crocodile bike.

"I like walking," she answer. Her answer was subtitled because ... funny accent.

"Do you know who these two people are?" asked Colbert, referring to McKenzie and Lawless.

"Ah yes," her subtitle said.

"You know who they are."

"Ah yes," her subtitle said.

"And this is your reaction. I think I would like to be famous down here - this is almost like not being famous."

Then Lawless said tosser and McKenzie explained it was another word for w***** and Colbert asked what that was and Lawless said: "My mother explained it to me thus. It's when someone rubs his penis until it goes kowie zowie."

I have no idea if you spell kowie zowie like that. Lawless didn't get subtitles.

The crocodile bike ride bit ended with them picking up two locals.

Colbert asked them what you needed to know to be a Kiwi and the one in front said you had to know how to do a hongi.

"Is that the sausage on the bread?" said Colbert.

The bloke demonstrated and Colbert said: "In some countries we're now a common-law couple."

The segment ended with him ditching his suit for jandals, shorts, a jumper, a hat and a greenstone pendant. Colbert went to a bar, which appeared to be Golding's Free Dive, where Lawless and McKenzie were waiting with a beer.

There were some jokes about his outfit ("I watched all the Sam Neill movies, I watched all the Jurassic Parks") and everyone in the bar sang the national anthem, with Colbert getting the words wrong. What he sang was subtitled so we could see how he got it wrong.

And that was that for day two of the series dubbed "The Newest New Zealander".

This was all good fun, with Lawless and McKenzie perfectly self-deprecating foils for the main man's antics. Some of Colbert's jokes were a little broad for my taste, but he's got 3.5 million viewers and I've got to write about him.

He appears sincere in his feelings about New Zealand and - if you want to look just a little deeper - his gently serious point about national pride.

Tomorrow, he promised, he'd learn how to play rugby with the New Zealand All Blacks.

• The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airs weeknights on Prime.

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