For any of you worried about North Korea, Dennis Rodman has some words of reassurance: Despite what you may have heard about the oppressive and isolated regime, it’s “pretty much like any other country.”
On Tuesday, the retired NBA player turned global ambassador paid his second visit to “The Tonight Show” in the space the of a month. When last we saw “the Worm” on Jay Leno’s couch, he was erratic and emotional over the death of Lakers owner Jerry Buss.
Since then, Rodman has befriended North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and even got a ride in the Popemobile in Rome. Not bad for a guy whose most notable recent accomplishment in recent years was a 12th-place finish on “Celebrity Apprentice.”
Naturally, Rodman’s “basketball diplomacy” mission to North Korea, during which he became the first American to publicly meet with the secretive Kim, was the main focus of conversation Tuesday night.
He was, if anything, more erratic than usual, in some cases barely able to answer Leno’s very basic questions (e.g. “Why did you go?” “I really don’t know, really.”) Rodman’s get-up was similarly disjointed, even by his own whacked-out standards: a marabou dressing gown, Lacoste T-shirt and baby blue warm-up pants, accessorized with a baseball hat, sunglasses and a pair of headphones.
The interview was light on new information, but Rodman did reveal that Kim’s mysterious wife, Ri Sol-Ju, was not exactly a Chatty Cathy. “She really didn’t talk. I don’t think she said anything,” he recalled.
He also confessed to being “amazed” by Kim’s residence. “It’s not even a palace, it’s more like a fortress. It’s just insane.”
Leno seized on this detail, noting that “the rest of the country lives pretty much in extreme poverty.”
“It’s pretty much like any other country. We got the same thing here,” replied Rodman, ever the cultural relativist.
As for Kim himself, Rodman insisted he’s just your average, misunderstood, extraordinarily powerful twentysomething, much like he did earlier this month on “This Week.”
“This guy’s only 28 years old. All of a sudden he has a lot of power. Once you get to meet him one-on-one, personally, he’s an alright guy,” he said.
“Kind of like Hitler,” Leno fired back.