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Bill Gates Delivers 'Classiest Burn' to Billionaires Trying to Go to Space

To kick off climate night on 'The Late Late Show' on Wednesday, Gates appeared via Zoom to chat with James Corden.


There's been no shortage of space news when it comes to billionaires trying to make it out of Earth's atmosphere this year.

CBS Photo Archive | Getty Images

Between Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully completing the first-ever all-civilian space mission, Richard Branson launching himself into space via his Virgin Galactic rocket and Jeff Bezos flying into orbit aboard his New Shepard rocket, it's safe to say the space race has only just begun.

But one big name billionaire has remained relatively removed from the conversation, continuing his focus on Earth-centric philanthropic efforts.

In an interview to kick off a special Climate Night edition of The Late Late Show with James Corden on Wednesday, Gates appeared via Zoom to chat with the host. "We couldn't think of a better guest," Corden beamed. "Also, can I say a personal "thank you' for being the one billionaire who's not trying to escape planet Earth on a spaceship right now."

Related: Jeff Bezos Sends Rare Message to Elon Musk in First Tweet Since February 2020

The pair and audience laughed before Corden asked, "Why is this a thing that billionaires are obsessed with at the moment? What's your thoughts on it?"

Gates paused and happily indulged Corden.

"I don't know — I've become obsessed with things like Malaria and HIV and getting rid of those diseases, and I probably bore people at cocktail parties talking about diseases," the billionaire joked. "Space? We have a lot to do here on Earth."

Corden called Gates' not-so-subtle dig the "classiest burn" he's ever heard to a round of audience applause.

Gates has been passionate and vocal about global public health for years, particularly when it comes to vaccine equity amid the Covid-19 pandemic. "If we just let drugs and vaccines go to the highest bidders, instead of to the people and the places where they are most needed, we'll have a longer, more unjust, deadlier pandemic," Gates said last year during the IAS virtual Covid-19 conference. "We need leaders to make these hard decisions about distributing based on equity, not just on market-driven factors."

As of Thursday afternoon, Gates was ranked as the fourth-richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $131.8 billion, according to Forbes.

Related: SpaceX to Carry All-Civilian Crew in Space Flight

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