Stephen Colbert went deep on the mysterious culture of millennials on Monday night, using a slideshow from the Wall Street Journal as a jumping off point for a larger exploration of these kids that won’t get off my lawn. Despite being headlined “Millennials, as Seen by Corporate America,” the WSJ somehow didn’t just run that part of “Wackiki Rabbit” where the castaway imagines his fellow sailor turning into a giant, delicious hamburger. Instead, non-millennials from McDonald’s president Chris Kempczinski to Kellogg CEO John Bryant share hard-won market research that reveals that this secretive generation enjoys activities like:
Stop the presses, as they say. Colbert gives away some of his own valuable market research as well, revealing that his sources tell him millennials also enjoy “sex” and “oxygen.” But despite these insights, the Journal loses some credibility when Intuit CEO Brad Smith opines that millennials are fans of the gig economy:
We know the gig economy is real. It’s here. It’s a secular trend. It started years ago. It’s a lifestyle choice for the millennials.
While it’s convenient to believe that young people reject things like “health care,” “a plausible chance to retire someday,” and “money” for the same reasons they love fidget spinners—choice!—it seems at least possible that Smith’s market research is either faulty or self-interested. As a non-millennial, I’m not qualified to say, but Colbert ends the segment with a pretty good object lesson for younger viewers: they can serve you a rotten old hot dog, but there’s no law that says you’ve gotta eat it.