Some nights, The Late Show’s booking power provides a roller coaster for the human spirit. On Wednesday, Stephen Colbert opened up on a serious high note, with a funny, thoughtful interview with Donald Glover in advance of tomorrow’s Atlanta season premiere. And that’s before Colbert sprung the lovely surprise of that adorable little Girl Scout from the video singing cookie-related lyrics to Glover/Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” popped out with her dad to meet her musical inspiration—and sell him all her remaining cookies. The shy kid is even named Charity Joy Harrison for extra cuteness, and the sight of Glover buying out her entire stock of Thin Mints, and Charity, Glover, Colbert, and Charity’s dad distributing cookies to the audience? C’mon—even the stoniest, most news-numbed heart couldn’t resist that.
And then the show whooshed down into the depths, as Colbert brought out former White House figure, reality show mainstay, and recent Big Brother evictee Omarosa Manigault. Being a CBS property, Big Brother contestants are part of the territory for Colbert, but, naturally, an interview with the defiantly pugnacious (before being fired), ingratiating (post-Big Brother/White House) Omarosa was more than the traditional reality show post-mortem to be survived and forgotten. At least that’s how the decidedly unsmiling Colbert treated it, as he fended off his guest’s glibly self-promoting spin about her time doing her undefined job in the Trump White House. Unsmiling, too (at least judging by its muted version of the perfunctory talk show applause), was Colbert’s audience, which broke out in boos and groans at one instance of Omarosa’s self-promoting evasiveness. Asked repeatedly by Colbert about her now-infamous Big Brother pronouncement that “It’s not going to be okay” in reference to Trump, Manigault finally teased, “We’ll have to wait and see.”
Also unimpressed is her Big Brother co-star Ross Mathews, who asked Omarosa the Trump question in the first place, and who, on Twitter Wednesday, refuted her claim that she was only talking about the administration’s (admittedly not-okay) stance on immigration, and not the fact that we should all be very, very scared about the damage Donald Trump is doing and still could do.
Colbert, doing an admirable job at not hiding his skepticism of Manigault’s carefully crafted PR offensive in the wake of her ignominious firing, asked his guest to rate things like her former boss’ defense of Nazis in Charlottesville, his endorsement of unrepentant bigot and alleged child molester Roy Moore, and his attacks on Sen. John McCain’s war record. While Omarosa claimed to judge Trump’s actions as “awful” and “unacceptable” in those cases, Colbert also pressed her on her assertion that working for Trump was like slavery, to which she responded with the convoluted explanation, “When you’re not allowed to do the job that you were meant to do… that’s what that analogy meant.” Attempting to wring one honest answer out of someone seemingly intent on both walking back controversial remarks that might hinder her career and hyping up her probably inevitable tell-all book, Colbert took issue with Omarosa’s assertion that Trump is still her “best friend.” Noting that Trump has now fired her four times (including reality show terminations), Colbert countered his guest’s question about how he’d react if his best friend were suddenly president by responding earnestly, “If my best friend was president tomorrow, I’d feel better.” Colbert did offer Manigault the last box of Thin Mints as a parting gift.
Now here’s Donald Glover and Charity Joy to send you back out into the world feeling clean.