In the past week or so, one thing has become clear: (no, not that the wiretaps are coming from inside the White House, although I think we can agree our government has turned into a horror story) Our favorite former late night series hosts are capable of growing excellent beards. Oh, and they both still have a thing or two to say when it comes to Trump. For his part, Letterman credits Jon Stewart and The Daily Show for changing his mind about staying away from politics, as was the (Johnny) Carson model back in the day; “… he made it so that not doing political stuff got to be the elephant in the room.”
Speaking with New York Magazine, David Letterman showed off his epic facial finery, and shared a few of his 45 insights (Trump appeared on The Late Show several times), my favorite of which is this description:
I always regarded him as, if you’re going to have New York City, you gotta have a Donald Trump. He was a joke of a wealthy guy. We didn’t take him seriously. He’d sit down, and I would just start making fun of him. He never had any retort. He was big and doughy, and you could beat him up … “
Dave also had some good advice for how the media should handle the Donald, and congratulated Alec Baldwin on his particular efforts — “Alec Baldwin deserves a Presidential Medal of Freedom“.
The man has such thin skin that if you keep pressure on him — I remember there was a baseball game in Cleveland [NYM notes this is a misremembered accounting] baseball game in Cleveland, and a swarm of flies came on the field and the batters were doing this [mimes swatting at flies] while the pitcher was throwing 100 miles an hour. Well, that’s Alec Baldwin and Saturday Night Live. It’s distracting the batter. Eventually Trump’s going to take a fastball off the sternum and have to leave the game.
… He would really rather not have a society where free speech was going to be a factor. I’m telling you, there’s something between him and the Russians. ‘What color tie should I wear?’ ‘Tell him red.’ ‘They say red, Don.’ ‘Okay, red it is.’
I do like the idea that Putin has something on Don and decided: “Let’s get him in office, and we’ll get things to go our way.”
Dave on whether too much joking around about Trump could “normalize” him?
I guess it’s a possibility. On the other hand, Donald Trump can be Donald Trump, but if he doesn’t help the people that need help, then he’s just a jerk. That press conference that he held berating the news media? I mean, how do you build a dictatorship? First, you undermine the press: ‘The only truth you’re going to hear is from me.’ And he hires the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Steve Bannon, to be his little buddy. Bannon looks like a guy who goes to lunch, gets drunk, and comes back to the office: ‘Steve, could you have just one drink?’ ‘Fuck you.’ How is a white supremacist the chief adviser to our president? Did anybody look that up? I don’t know. How’s this interview going? Do you think you’re talking to a normal person here? Don’t I seem like I’m full of something?”
On the Russia thing:
I’m sure the Russians groomed Trump. They gave him tips: ‘You want to be an authoritarian dictator? Sure, that’s not a problem. We’ll tell you how to do it, for God’s sake.’ I think it was just all like that, because that’s the way Trump does business: ‘See if they’ll give us the tar coating? They’ll throw that in? Great, great. And by the way, we’re not paying the last 10 percent of the bill.’”
More on “Trumpy‘s” (that’s what Letterman and his son, Harry call 45) awfulness:
… But in addition to every other thing that’s wrong with the Trump, he’s ignorant in a way that’s insulting to the office, insulting to America, insulting to human rights, insulting to civil rights, insulting to John Lewis. Trump saying that broke my heart. I thought, You stupid son of a bitch. You ought to have known better than that.”
Dave shoots one-liners (and then some) at the administration’s staff:
“… poor Sean Spicer is a boob who just got out of a cab and now here he is.”[Stephen Miller] “Wow, that guy is creepy. He fell out of a truck. And the guy from Exxon, Rex Tillerson.”
Mike Pence: “He only got elected because he looks like Bobby Knight. Jeez, Pence scared the hell out of me. There was a therapy … ”
Kellyanne Conway: “Kellyanne Conway was my favorite for a long time. This thing about her telling everyone, ‘Go buy Ivanka’s shoes; I’m going to go buy Ivanka’s shoes. Hell, I’ll buy you a pair of Ivanka’s shoes.’ Then they had to counsel her. Boy, if this administration decides you need counseling — whoa.”
In the end, it’s Dave’s love that’ll squish your heart and make you miss him even more. Discussing the administration’s attitude toward the LGBT community, here’s what our Letterman had to say:
I don’t care if you’re a fundamentalist Christian — even they have gay relatives. They can’t be saying homosexuality is a sin. It’s horseshit. Then this transgender issue that just happened, I just think, Are you kidding me? Look, you’re a human, I’m a human. We’re breathing the same air. We have the same problems. We’re trying to get through our day. Who the fuck are you to throw a log in the road of somebody who has a different set of difficulties in life?”
Do please read the whole interview; it’s wonderful. We still miss you, Dave!