(CBR) Leave it to Stephen Colbert to draw on Tony Stark for his lead-in to an interview with French economist Thomas Piketty, whose bestselling book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" examines wealth and income inequality in the United States and Europe since the 18th century. An important topic, sure, but not exactly the stuff of superhero comics.

But in last night’s episode of "The Colbert Report," Colbert found a way to liven up a potentially dry topic with the help of Iron Man … and his new goatee, of course. Or is it a Vandyke? Whatever.

“I grew this in solidarity with my personal friend, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark,” Colbert revealed after teasing his facial hair during the early part of the show. “You see, if Piketty had his way and Tony was coughing up 80 percent in taxes, suddenly he’s not a billionaire any more and can’t afford to be Iron Man. Then who’s saving New York from the Chitauri invasion? Hawkeye? Yeah, after he gets there on the bus. Billionaires protect us!”

Watch the segment below. Just don’t tell Colbert that he may more closely resemble Batroc the Leaper than Tony Stark…

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