Esteemed actor of stage and screen John Lithgow seemingly can’t get enough of portraying larger-then-life historical figures. It makes sense, as Lithgow himself has always been the looming, booming go-to guy for garrulously oversized everymen, villains, and comic heroes. After all, who else could provide an imposing foil for everyone from Dexter Morgan, to Buckaroo Banzai, to Queen Elizabeth II, to Bigfoot? But, in recent years, Lithgow has taken his penchant for historical hamminess in a more topical direction, popping up on late-night TV to pillory former Trump administration lawyer, former New York Mayor, and current laughingstock and about-to-be-disbarred cautionary tale, Rudy Giuliani.
Thursday’s Late Show saw Stephen Colbert largely giving the night over to his illustrious guest, as the co-star of upcoming Martin Scorsese historical drama Killers Of The Flower Moon regaled Colbert’s audience with tales of leaving Glenn Close in the lurch on Broadway and some limericks and doodles from the newest book in his best-selling, GOP-bashing poetry side-hustle, A Confederacy Of Dumptys: Portraits Of American Scoundrels In Verse. The rhyme “lardacious baboon” and “took his family off to Cancun” should be clue enough to figure out one such Republican reprobate.
But when Lithgow does Colbert these days, you’re looking out for one right-wing scoundrel in particular, and the Bombshell star was once more up for the challenge of channeling Rudy Giuliani’s latest series of very public self-humiliations. Lumping in the disgraced former mayor’s impending $1 billion lawsuit from slandered voting company Dominion, Giuliani’s new hustle selling incoherent Cameo videos for $325 a pop, his lawsuit-wary ban from even Fox News, and that slurred and rambling public appearance that had everybody assuming Rudy was on the sauce, Lithgow donned the bald cap and huge, slipping dentures once more.
With Colbert playing baffled and slightly concerned straight man, Lithgow’s Giuliani vociferously denied being drunk during his impression-heavy, flop sweat-soaked stand-up set (which was intended to be a September 11 memorial), all while incessantly consulting his “chief of staff,” who looked suspiciously like a glass full of red wine. “I never get drunk! Never, ever, ever!,” asserted this Giuliani, explaining, “I only drink to provide an excuse for the way I act!” Can’t argue with that one, say those praying that Giuliani represents himself in court when the Dominion lawsuit comes around. Sadly, that may not be possible, as Giuliani’s years-long cannonball into the murk of conspiracy theories and authoritarian sycophancy sees noted hotel room shirt-tucker and Four Seasons Landscaping event coordinator Giuliani facing disbarment.
“What? No! You can’t ban me from bars!,” Lithgow’s Giuliani shrieked in horror, quickly consulting his “legal team” (another glass of red), and quickly pivoting to a mid-interview Cameo in order to help pay for his in-progress financial disaster. Sadly, old pal Donald Trump ponied up the fee to have Rudy dutifully debase himself once more, just for old time’s sake. (One can only hope Rudy got Trump to pay up front.) Lithgow clearly loves going over the top with his heavily embellished contempt for the guy who, unprompted, slurred to a bewildered 9/11 crowd that, sure he used to hang out with accused pedophile royal, Prince Andrew. (And was filmed recently shaving in the JFK dining area, something this Rudy dutifully aped by whipping out an electric nose hair-trimmer mid-sentence.) And if it isn’t the subtlest characterization of John Lithgow’s storied career, well, that’s only appropriate for America’s Mayor as he shambles off into historical disrepute.