US Secretary of State John Kerry has held the job of America’s top diplomat less than a month and he has already become fodder for late night television jokes.
Kerry referred to the nonexistent country “Kyrzakhstan” in a speech last week—an apparent blend of the Central Asian nations Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
Late night television talk show host David Letterman on Tuesday night lampooned Kerry’s gaffe on the CBS network’s “The Late Show” in one of the comedian’s famous Top 10 lists.
Letterman’s list of “Countries According to John Kerry” included fictional governments such as “Cameroon Diaz,” and “Galifianakistan,” a reference to Hollywood stars Cameron Diaz and Zach Galifianakis.
Other fake countries on the list included “Belize Navidad,” “Portuguam” and “Bangjohntesh,” a reference to the widely mocked American pianist and television personality John Tesh.
Kerry’s slip-up came during a Feb. 20 speech at the University of Virginia in which he praised the “brave employees” of the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
“They support democratic institutions in Kyrzakhstan and Georgia, mindful from our own experience that it takes a long time to get democracy right, and that it rarely happens right away,” Kerry told the audience.
The State Department transcript of Kerry’s speech does not include the flub, giving instead the correct spelling of Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic that houses the United States’ Manas air bases, which has supported US-led operations in Afghanistan.