David Letterman roasts each member of the Trump administration
David Letterman sat down for an unusually out of character discussion with New York Magazine — out of character because the former late night host, once famously aversive to the press, spoke at length about life after retirement. Letterman noted his atypical verbosity throughout the interview — “I’m afraid something has happened to me hormonally,” he remarked at one point, “I can’t stop talking.” — but seemed to have been caught in a cheerful and generous mood, particularly generous when it came to tackling the red meat in any late-night comedian’s diet these days: The Trump administration.
Letterman had a lot to say about Trump, remarking at one point that were he still on the air, he fears he wouldn’t be able to shut up about him. (“We’re spending quite a lot of money on editing, Dave,” the former host said, imitating an imaginary producer. “If you could just keep it to an hour, we’d all appreciate that, because we have big stars who’ve flown in from Hollywood to be here.”) The interview basically was a roast of all the players in the entire administration, and Letterman’s ad-libbed characterizations of everyone in the cabinet served to remind us, while there are still many voices in late night, nobody does it quite the same as Dave:
On chief strategist Steve Bannon:
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?
On adviser 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.
On press secretary Sean Spicer:
Poor Sean Spicer is a boob who just got out of a cab and now here he is.
On adviser Stephen Miller:
Wow, that guy is creepy. He fell out of a truck.
On Vice President Mike Pence:
He only got elected [to governor of Indiana] because he looks like Bobby Knight. Jeez, Pence scared the hell out of me.
On Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, acting as an intermediary between Trump and Vladimir Putin:
The guy from Exxon, Rex Tillerson. Don would say, “Rex, if you’re talking to your friends, ask them… What color tie should I wear?” “Tell him red.” “They say red, Don.” “Okay, red it is.”
On President Trump, or as Letterman calls him, “Trumpy”:
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. He seemed to have a good time, and the audience loved it, and that was Donald Trump.
On the power of satire to take on Trump:
The man has such thin skin that if you keep pressure on him — I remember there was a 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.
On Trump’s characterization of Congressman John Lewis as “all talk no action”:
First of all, because I’m always thinking about myself, I think, I was about John Lewis’s age when he marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Would I have had the guts to do that? The all-talk John Lewis goes down there and gets a goddamned skull fracture. I mean, Trumpy will never have to worry about a skull fracture because of the hair. Thank you! How do you know if Donald Trump is lying? His lips are moving. Thank you! 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.
Head over to NY Mag to check out the whole interview — these are only a few choice nuggets. As Letterman says: “I’m lonely, I can’t stop talking… This is like visitors’ day at prison for me.”