Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

John Oliver joins old pal Stephen Colbert in urging Donald Trump to testify under oath like a big boy

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (Screenshot: CBS)
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (Screenshot: CBS)

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver finally returns to HBO on Sunday, February 18, where its Emmy and Peabody Award-winning host will attempt to find something about Donald Trump worth mocking. Appearing on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, the two old Daily Show hands-turned-hosts swapped some notes on all the stuff that’s been going on since Oliver went on hiatus in November, with their energetic chat suggesting that Oliver’s going to hit the ground running. Colbert, who’s made a running gag out of Oliver’s one-show-a-week schedule since Oliver started beating him for all those shiny awards, asked if the adrenaline Oliver claimed was carrying him through the first months of Trump’s reign has been replaced with a more sustained coping mechanism going into the New Year. Noting that waking up to each day’s alarmingly ludicrous Trump nonsense is “a cup of coffee in the morning,” Oliver returned the question, asking Colbert how he’s coping having to “drink from this firehose of information every day.” “I’m just a perfectly happy 24-year-old man,” deadpanned the gray-templed Colbert.

The two grizzled veterans of late-night noted that the most recent (as of press time) Trump bullshit—he’s throwing himself a May Day-style parade of “phallic missiles,” according to Oliver—is emblematic of the similarly ridiculous parade of authoritarian lunacy they have to comedically cover on TV. Oliver riffed on said exhibition of ego-stroking military might, pronouncing with mock solemnity that, “It won’t make him happy,” and explaining that, once Donald Trump realizes that a giant, mandatory parade of nuclear weapons in his honor won’t fill the “father’s love”-sized hole where his soul should be, “That’s when we’re really fucked.” Oliver concluded, seemingly in passing, “He’s an emotional vacuum and he’ll die that way.”

The two hosts also touched on topics like the upcoming royal wedding and the dimming prospects of Oliver receiving a knighthood (calling the British royal family a gang of emotionally stunted types doing “a very silly pseudo-job” won’t help), and the folly of banking on the upcoming Olympics to heal the North Korea-South Korea rift. “I would merely point at the Olympics in 1935 in Germany,” said Oliver, explaining that Jesse Owens’ triumphs didn’t cause Hitler to reexamine that whole master race thing. “He doubled down,” said Oliver.

As to Trump’s braggadocious claim that he isn’t scared to testify under oath in Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, Oliver and Colbert continued Colbert’s running gag taunting the notoriously fragile and egotistical Trump into following through on what his lawyers (and everyone in the world) know is a guaranteed trip to perjury-town. Turning to the camera, Oliver and Colbert made the most sincere appeal possible to Trump, clamping down their anticipatory delight at the possibility as best they could, and importuning Donald Trump to please, please, for all that is holy, agree to speak on the record. (Here’s hoping Trump’s attention span wasn’t sufficient to catch Oliver’s prediction that he’d perjure himself “before he finished his name.”)

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver returns Sunday, February 18 on HBO.


Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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