Say what you will about the evils of the internet, but watching a comedian challenge the oldest Justice on the Supreme Court to a wrestling bout makes the whole thing feel worth it.
On Wednesday night, Stephen Colbert released the most delightful video to hit YouTube since the sneezing panda: a clip of himself working out at the gym with US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “I don’t do wrestling,” she told him, sternly.
Wearing a breast cancer fundraiser shirt that read “Super Diva” (Colbert wore a Mormon-esque short pants and tie ensemble), the 85 year-old Ginsburg planked and lifted alongside Colbert and her trainer, Bryant Johnson. “Do I call you ‘Your Honor?’ or ‘your Bader Gins-ship’?” Colbert asked, as the workout began.
“You can call me Justice,” Ginsburg told him.
Ginsburg went on to graciously explain that her nickname, The Notorious RBG, “copies The Notorious B.I.G., a famous rapper.” With her characteristically steely charisma she added, “we were both born and bred in Brooklyn, New York.” Then she peered at Colbert, as if trying to estimate his stamina for burpees.
Colbert, who said it would be “fondue 24/7” for him if he wore loose black robes all day, took the opportunity to ask the Justice hard hitting legal questions.
“Is a hot dog a sandwich?” he asked.
Ginsburg scrutinized him. “You’re asking me? You tell me what a sandwich is and then I’ll tell you if a hotdog is a sandwich,” she responded. The two grappled over the question for a few moments, moments in which it became very clear that the Justice’s intellect is as sharp as a the angles of her tricep pulls.
“I have reached my decision on the case of RBG vs. kicking ass,” Colbert concluded, panting, near the end of the video. “Not only can the Justice last another five years on the bench, I believe she could have killed Tupac.”
Jenny Singer is a writer for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny
Ruth Bader Ginsburg worked out with Stephen Colbert.