Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Season 10 Episode 2
Aired on March 5, 2023
Main segment: Ron DeSantis
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[Cheers and applause]
John: Welcome to Last Week Tonight, I’m John Oliver. Thanks so much for joining us. It’s been a busy week from Lori Lightfoot losing her reelection bid in Chicago, to Alex Murdaugh being found guilty of two murders. And of all the ill-advised pieces of commentary concerning this blockbuster trial, perhaps none was less welcome than this:
A whole lot of people asking me what I think about this, uh, Alex Murdaugh trial. I don’t know why they think I’m an expert on it.
John: I do, because there are exactly two things you have expertise on in this life. Football and murdering wives. No one is asking for your take on his rushing average so I’m guessing it’s the second one, we are going to start with our main story tonight which concerns Ron DeSantis. Business Fred Flintstone. DeSantis has been all over the news this week, as he is seemingly every week. He appointed his political backers to a new disney oversight board. He released a new book The Courage to Be Free. And by the way, I have a little gift for our studio audience, look under your seats! The gift is, it isn’t there. You don’t have to read it. You’re welcome! And he put out this eye-catching video:
Florida is proof positive that we the people are not destined for failure. DeSantis wins. He has made a promise, and he’s making good on the promise. Florida is leading the nation. Decline is a choice. Success is attainable. And freedom is worth fighting for.
John: Wow. There’s a lot there, but “Florida’s proof that we the people are not destined for failure?” I don’t know about that. Last year alone in Florida, a man tried to steal a crossbow by stuffing it down his pants, a woman instigated a police chase so she could cross “getting arrested’ off her bucket list, and a man was charged with battery for throwing a hot dog at a police officer. The people may not be destined for failure, but a lot of individuals down there sure seem drawn to it. This feels like a coordinated rollout of his inevitable presidential campaign. Because even though he hasn’t yet announced he’s running, he’s already many conservatives’ favorite candidate. After his landslide reelection as governor last November, the New York Post proclaimed him defuture. Which is, you know, deeeeepressing. And he received this cringe inducing introduction from Kari Lake:
I’ll tell you what he’s got. I don’t know if you’ve heard of this, but he’s got B.D.E. Anybody know what that means? Ask your kids about it later. I call it Big DeSantis Energy.
John: Okay, that’s terrible, but just to be clear: if you don’t know what B.D.E. is, please don’t ask your kids about it later. In fact, for the sake of those kids, I’ll just tell you right now: it stands for Big Dick Energy, a kind of easy, magnetic confidence that doesn’t necessarily mean you have a large penis, or, indeed, a penis at all. It’s just the energy associated. A list of those with B.D.E. would include Bryan Cranston, Christine Baranski, the Pixar Lamp, Charles Darwin, and Snoopy. Does that make sense? Please come to me and not your kids if you have any penis related slang explained in the future, it is worth noting in general you can’t predict much about a presidential race 20 months out, previous early frontrunners include Jeb Bush, the late Jeb Bush? I don’t know. It’s unclear. Howard Dean and Rudy Giuliani wandering around Central Park cupboard and thousand island dressing and a screaming about the election fraud to pigeons. And Ron DeSantis is likely to have to go up against Donald Trump which history has shown is no easy task. And while Trump initially struggled to coin a damaging nickname for DeSantis– with his first attempt being the embarrassingly weak “Ron Desanctimonious”, he later unveiled something with a lot more punch.
According to the Times, trump has spent weeks trying to goad DeSantis into a fight, describing him in conversations as Meatball Ron.
John: Apparently he was calling him Meatball Ron. I hate to say it: Trump’s still got it! It’s perfectly stupid, childish, and hurtful in a way that’s difficult to articulate. Also it’s a good name on its own. If you’d asked me to describe the perfect “Meatball Ron” I’d say I would say a round little hamster. Or this smiley cartoon character. Y’know– little arms and legs, little moustache, maybe voiced by Chris Pratt in a straight-to-streaming kids movie with weirdly Christian undertones that feels vaguely anti-Italian. But then if you simply showed me this guy, I’d say “forget everything I just said, “that’s’ my Meatball Ron right there.” That is my meatball. But whatever Trump calls him in the future, the fact is, Meatball Ron remains a strong contender for the Republican nomination. And while many commentators insist on framing him solely in opposition to Trump– saying things like that he’s “Donald Trump with a brain”– that that doesn’t seem particularly meaningful. It’s like saying, “that new restaurant is better than this chicken pot pie that fell on the sidewalk.” Sure, it is but you’re not giving me much useful information there. So if I may quote Tom Brady’s publicist while reviewing his old golf photos: “let’s take Trump out of the picture.” And tonight, let’s examine DeSantis on his own merits, and look at just some of what he’s done to and for the over 20 million people of Florida. Because it’s sometimes less and he claimed, sometimes less than his critics claim and sometimes worse than you may know. And let’s skip over his early life– the short version being, he grew up in Florida, was a standout baseball player, and even got to the little league world series with his local team. He then went to Yale, then Harvard law school and subsequently joined the Navy as an attorney. Eventually he married his wife Casey despite having the most bizarre dating tactic I have ever heard. According to a former classmate he would apparently tell dates he likes thai food but pronounced it thigh. If they corrected him, he would make up an excuse to leave, because quote “he didn’t want a girlfriend who corrected him.” And if that’s true, wow. Just imagine being on that date. You’re out at dinner, and out of nowhere, your date tells you he really likes “thigh” food. You think, “wait, did he just call thai food “thigh’ food? I must have misheard.” But then he goes on to say he knows a great five food knows a great thigh food restaurant in the area while staring very intently at you, almost studying your reaction. So as politely as you can, you say, “wait, do you mean “thai” food? Like, from Thailand?” And then suddenly, his face drops, and he says ‘sorry, I forgot I have a doctor’s appointment tonight,” and he leaves, leaving you with the check, and the greatest first-date disaster story of all time.
Then in 2012 he was elected to congress. While there, a former colleague says he always had his earbuds in, to keep people away. And if you’re picking up on a theme of “Ron DeSantis doesn’t like hearing anyone’s voice but his own,” you’re onto something. Because since becoming Florida governor, he’s made “shutting down dissenting voices” something of a feature. Here’s a campaign ad from last year in which he shows off his skill at battling the media.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. This is your governor speaking. Today’s training evolution: dogfighting. Taking on the corporate media. Number one: don’t fire unless fired upon, but when they fire, you fire back with overwhelming force. Does it say that in the bill? I’m asking you to tell me what’s in the bill. Number two: never, ever back down from a fight. If I could complete the question, though, would you rather it be-? So are you gonna give a speech or ask a question? Number three: don’t accept their narrative. It’s wrong, it’s a fake narrative, I just disabused you of the narrative, and you don’t care about the facts.
John: Amazingly, until 40 seconds ago, Top Gun: Maverick was my favorite movie of last year. Now, I’m sad to say, it’s my least favorite movie of all time, tied with Cats and The Zapruder film. DeSantis is constantly complaining the media’s taking him out of context. Although it’s worth noting that in that ad, he’s removing some pretty important context from the media. Take that clip where he said, “are you gonna give a speech or ask a question?”, If you look at the start of that exchange, you’ll notice only one person is doing the fighting there.
Governor, what has gone wrong with– governor, what has gone wrong with the rollout of the vaccine that we’ve seen phone lines jammed, websites crashing, it’s a lot of demand. I mean, I think at the end of if I could– excuse me, excuse me, you just said what has gone wrong. So I’m answering the question. If I could complete the question though. So are you going to give a speech or you’re going to answer-ask a question? With all due respect, governor, I’m trying to– you asked a question. I’m going to answer it. I’m trying to finish my question. No, you are giving a speech, you asked a question. I am trying to ask you– you are going to ask how many questions? You get three? They only got one question. Why do you get three? With all due respect, governor, I’m just asking if I could finish my question. You didn’t. You finished the question.
John: No she didn’t! And all she’s doing is asking for some basic accountability. When you see that in context, that’s a pretty gross case of someone meatballsplaining to a journalist who’s just trying to do her fucking job. Though, to be clear, DeSantis doesn’t hate all media. Because there is one notable exception, and it’s the exact one you’re thinking of. DeSantis is on Fox News all the time– morning, noon and night. Even by Republican standards, the mutual affection between him and Fox is pretty extreme. In just one four-month stretch, the network asked him to appear on its airwaves 113 times, or nearly once a day, with one Fox producer even offering to let him pick the subject matter if he agreed to come on. Which is pathetic. I’ll put it this way. If Fox News ever went on a date with Ron DeSantis, they definitely wouldn’t correct him when he called it “fire” food. He isn’t just another Fox talking head. He sells himself as someone with a proven track record. And he has done some terrible stuff– for instance, at his urging, his state’s medical board band gender affirming care for minors and he signed a 15 week abortion ban into law while recently suggesting he’d sign a six-week one if it reached his desk. But look: lots of Republican governors have done that. What makes DeSantis extra popular on the right is his willingness to wage big, symbolic culture wars. He’s bragged that he’s made Florida “the freest state” in America while defending its residents from the greatest scourge of our time.
Wokeism is really a form of cultural Marxism. Is the new religion of the left. We are not, and will never, ever surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die.
John: Okay, first: Florida is not where woke goes to die. It’s where wealthy Upper East Side New Yorkers go to die. Get your facts straight. But second: DeSantis says “woke” so often it begins to lose all meaning, but if you’re wondering what he thinks it actually stands for, his general counsel once helpfully defined “woke” in court as, “the view that there are systemic injustices in American society and the need to have policies that address them.” Which is a hell of a thing for someone to admit to everyone that you’re against. DeSantis might really want to invest in a lawyer more willing to lie for him. I actually understand there’s one wandering around Central Park right now who’s available, if you can catch him. But you’ll have to be careful. He’s slippy! DeSantis expends a lot of energy decrying wokeness and empty “virtue signaling”– although he also seems to spend a huge amount of time doing the right-wing version of exactly that. For instance, there was the time that he waded in on Lia Thomas, a trans woman who’d won an event in an NCAA swimming championship. The second place finisher happen to be from Florida which DeSantis then took as an excuse to come out and do this shit:
If you look at what the NCAA has done by allowing basically men to compete in women’s athletics, in this case the swimming, you had the number one woman who finished was from Sarasota. We’re going to be doing a proclamation saying that Emma is the best female swimmer in the 500 meter freestyle because she earned that.
John: Okay, aside from being fucking gross and awful, to be very clear: DeSantis doesn’t have the power to declare or disqualify winners in college sports, rendering that proclamation completely pointless. But since men in suits seem to be using their platforms to invalidate past athletic achievements out of pure spite, I hereby declare that by signing this, Ron DeSantis’ little league team– the swingin’ meatballs – did not, in fact, ever make the little league world series. Instead, his team’s place will from henceforth be taken by the season six cast RuPaul’s Drag Race. I declare it! It is declared. It is done. But it’s gone way beyond just empty, hateful proclamations. DeSantis has also signed a bunch of attention-grabbing bills that seem designed to delight Conservatives and enrage Liberals. And while the announcements of these bills tend to get a lot of national media coverage, the actual implementation of them can get far less scrutiny. Take DeSantis’ so-called “Anti-Riot Law”, which he passed following the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020. The law, among other things, strengthens criminal penalties for those deemed rioters at demonstrations. And he loves to brag to Conservative audiences about how mad it’s made people. And I have to say-brag a little bit. Our anti riot legislation was recently criticized by the United Nations. So I wear that as a badge of honor.
John: Okay! But being chastised by the UN isn’t innately positive. What other admonitions would fill DeSantis with a misplaced sense of pride? “I was also criticized by the Holocaust museum, Lego called me a scumbag, and Malala Yousafzai said she’d punch me in the of throat if she ever got a chance so I wear that as a badge of honor. But it’s not just the UN that had a problem with that law. A judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking the key part of it from being enforced, arguing that it could effectively criminalize legal, protected speech, and that it was vacant to the point of unconstitutionality. The same thing happened to his “stop social media censorship act”, which, again, got a huge amount of attention when he first signed it. It threatened social media platforms with fines for banning political candidates, and he proposed it right after a number of them removed Trump after January 6th. ‘Cause of. Y’know. That thing. But that law is also under a preliminary injunction, from a judge who at one point told the DeSantis administration’s lawyers, “I won’t put you on the spot and ask you if you’ve ever dealt with a statute that was more poorly drafted, and look: he’s still fighting those lawsuits, and future decisions could wind up going his way– after all, these cases are going through higher courts that range from fairly conservative all the way up to overturned Roe v. Wade. Even when he has existing laws on his side, his application of them can be slapdash and gross. Last year, he made a big show of announcing his new “elections crime and security office” had spearheaded the arrests of 20 people who’d voted illegally. But these were largely people who the state had cleared to join the voter rolls, so they assumed they were eligible to vote, despite the fact that they technically weren’t. Now: one way of dealing with that would’ve been to simply contact those people, explain the mistake, and remove them from the rolls. But instead, what DeSantis did was to send armed cops to conduct arrests with body cam video revealing police with guns drawn pulling people out of their houses and if you listen to the cops involved, even they seem annoyed and embarrassed at what they’re having to do.
They just dumped this shit on me. I had to plan three operations in four hours. I ain’t fraud-commit no fraud. Well, so that’s the thing. I don’t know exactly what happened with it, but you– you do have a warrant, and that’s what it’s for. Why are y’all doing this now, and this happened years ago? I don’t know, I have no idea, man.
John: Wow. Do you have any idea how sketchy your audio needs to be for cops to enforce it reluctantly? Enforcing laws on scared people is one of their favorite things to do. It’s that, “make siren go wee woo wee woo wee woo” and end of list. Now, since then, several of those cases, including all those we just showed, have been dropped or dismissed. But it feels like DeSantis’ main aim there– as in so many cases– was to instill fear. To make people afraid to protest, or to moderate content, or even to vote. And that’s the thing– even his sloppily written laws can end up doing real harm. And maybe the clearest place to see all of this in action is in Florida’s schools. Because he’s been busy there. You probably remember last year’s passage of H-B 1557, the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act, a-k-a the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Though DeSantis says that name pushes a false narrative, and has claimed that what the bill simply says is no sexual instruction in pre-k through three. But the truth is, the bill is not as narrow as that at all. As this DeSantis supporter openly acknowledges.
What this bill’s trying to prevent is indoctrination of our children. But the bill is a sweeping, general piece of legislation that doesn’t just apply to young children, it applies throughout the entire school age, where it says “age-appropriate teaching of gender identity and sexuality.'” So the bill is, it-it does, you’re right, it targets kindergarten to third grade and it says “or age appropriate.’ Yeah. So when is it age appropriate to talk about homosexuality? It-it varies by the-by the individual. You would-you would sue a teacher if they started talking to your daughter about same-sex marriage or LGBT issues at the age of 17? If they don’t have my consent and I think it’s- it’s not appropriate for my daughter, yes. Wow. I think a lot of people would be surprised to hear that. That is the law.
John: Exactly. That’s rough to hear, but he is technically right there. Thanks to Ron DeSantis, right now it is the law in Florida. And quick sidenote: it’s funny how it’s always the people who think homosexuality as a concept needs to be taught at an “appropriate age” that don’t give a second thought to when they teach their kids what heterosexuality is. Although I could be wrong. May be in that guy’s family his kid asks every day “who are you people living in my house?” Is dad, that lady is mom and we are. Friends. Don’t ask me any more questions till you’re 18 or I’ll fucking sue you. It’s not just sexuality in DeSantis’ crosshairs– he’s also passed an act called the “Stop WOKE Act”, which limits the ways concepts related to systemic racism and sex discrimination can be discussed in schools and to hear him tell it, laws like that are needed, because the wokeness in schools goes deeper than anyone might think.
I will have math books sent to my department of education for review, these textbooks, and they will do things like woke math. And I’m thinking to myself, two plus two equals four. It’s not, “two plus two. Well, let’s have a struggle session over that. How do you feel about it?” No, no, no. There’s a right answer here.
John: I mean, out of context he’s right. Numbers don’t have feelings. If they did, this one would be sad, this one would be giggly, and this one would be exciting for a few minutes, but then the novelty wears off and it mostly just gets tired and sore. DeSantis has claimed that his state had to reject math books for containing “indoctrinating concepts like race essentialism, especially, bizarrely, for elementary school students.” Now, that’s a big claim. And if it sounds like bullshit, that’s because it is. Reporters for these outlets combed through thousands of pages of elementary school textbooks and their reviews, and couldn’t find any such examples. When the DeSantis administration eventually produced just four tiny snippets of what they claimed was objectionable material, from the two that came from grade school books, there’s nothing about race. Although one does suggest students “practice with empathizing with classmates” while they fulfill a lesson objective of “identify numbers from 1 to 5 in sequence.” That’s it. So his big claim of “woke math” and “race essentialism” in grade schools is basically “regular math” and “trying to teach kids not to be dicks to each other.”
A kind of math education DeSantis might’ve benefited from, as his solution to figuring out the difference between one and three questions seems to be, “yell until the other person stops talking, “and [laughter] [applause] the most recent thing you may’ve heard about are books being pulled from shelves in Florida schools, with viral images, like these making the rounds online.
In classic fashion, he has pushed back on those images hard to. They tried to create in Florida, narrative, a book band hoax– it’s a hoax what they are doing. And they’re trying to say that because we have parental rights and because we have curriculum transparency, if you have a book that has hardcore pornography and it’s in the library that 10-year-olds can access, a parent objects to that, that does not satisfy Florida standards, it should not be in the library with those young kids. And I think 99% of parents agree with that.
John: Okay, first, let’s debunk the most egregious claim there: 99% of parents don’t agree on anything. I’m sure you can find at least 10% of parents who are against covering electrical sockets in reach of toddlers. They’re called “zap moms” and they’re all about letting kids discover their own limits of electricity. But I’ll give DeSantis this– there has been some misinformation floating around online. This viral list of books that were supposedly banned statewide in Florida, circulated widely. But it’s nonsense. Having said that, those images of empty shelves are very real and are direct result of his actions. Because he signed legislation mandating that only approved books could be included in any school or classroom library, and that approval must come from a certified media specialist. That led some districts– including the ones those photos are from– to tell teachers to remove or cover books. Not because they were pushing a false narrative, but because they were trying to comply with DeSantis’ stupid law. And while DeSantis might say, “this is an overreaction, because those books will return once they’re approved,” not all of them. Because thanks to his new law, as well as that “Don’t Say Gay” bill and his “Stop WOKE Act,” he’s turbocharged a movement among conservatives to get books removed from libraries that they just don’t like. And this goes beyond removing “hardcore pornography” or the usual kind of give-and-take between parents and school boards that’s been going on for decades now. What DeSantis has done is make it so anyone in a community can challenge these books. Reporters tracked down one woman who submitted 21 book challenges in one county, only to find that she’s a retiree with no children, who fully admits that she hasn’t read all of them, but “I’ve read them in partial.” So basically, she just skimmed them and said “eh, nobody should read this.” Which is, coincidentally, exactly how I feel about Ron DeSantis’ book, but I’m not trying to get it taken out of libraries. Meanwhile, this teacher in Escambia County, Florida, challenged around 115 books, among them titles like And Tango Makes Three, a picture book based on the true story of two male penguins at the central park zoo who raised a baby chick together. Apparently, one of her objections to it is that a second grader could read it, “and the idea would pop into their mind that these are two people of the same sex that love each other.” And the problem is, schools are acting on those sorts of complaints. There was a recent school board meeting in that county, to address the calls to ban three of the books on that teacher’s list, including the penguin one. Multiple community members came to testify in favor of banning it and some made it abundantly clear exactly what law they felt empowered them.
I probably wouldn’t even talk about this book except for right and wrong as a clear line and it’s not gray so it is black and white it’s black and white with the law when we talk about H1557 we’re talking about indoctrination. And when you look up this book on destiny discover on the schools and county website the book says this book is about two male penguins that fall in love. Jesus said go and sin no more so this– — this is against the law, thank you.
John: Think about the work he had to put into that. That man had to shower, put on a pair of pants, decide what shirt to wear, choose the light blue one that’s two sizes too big, drive to the meeting, park his car, walk into the building, wait a while for his turn to speak, all so he could eventually stand behind a podium and say out loud, as an adult, that he’s mad about gay penguins. You almost have to admire his dedication to being such a fucking idiot. But the problem is: that fucking idiot won. At that meeting, the board voted to and tango makes three” from its schools. And when you take all this books being removed, the inane proclamations to shame trans athletes, sloppy attempts to criminalize protestors, and you combine it with everything else– from the support for restrictive abortion bans, to the efforts to stop gender-affirming care, it really begins to feel like “the freest state” in America is only free to the extent anyone wants to behave exactly the way that Ron DeSantis thinks they should. And look– in the months to come, you’re going to hear a lot of DeSantis-versus-trump comparisons. And the truth is, he’ll probably come out well in a lot of them, more or less by default. But that can’t be the bar here. It’s important to consider DeSantis in his own right. If donald trump never existed– and let’s just all just pause and enjoy that hypothetical for a second– if Donald Trump [cheers and applause] never existed, and you were forced to learn about Ron DeSantis, from scratch, with no basis for comparison, what you’d see would horrify you. Because you’d be discovering a petty autocrat and a bully. A man with no interest in hearing dissent, questions, or the correct pronunciation of “thai food.” And all in all, a man who is– and I do not use this term lightly– a fucking meatball. And now this. And now.
[Cheers and applause]
Jerry O’Connell’s wife is a scorpio and he needs help. I have to tell you I did not believe in astrology either, when I sought I did not believe it and then I married a scorpio. If you marry a scorp, do what they say. All scorpios do is vent. You can’t ever get her mad because mama bear is a scorpio. My wife is a scorpio. I can tell was someone who was married to one, they are really good at fighting. I’m married to a scorpio. We are one drunk and lunch away from being that’s at I’m out. My wife was breastfeeding I drop a couple of bags on the floor and my wife is a scorpio, you can only imagine what– rebecca is a scorpio. Jerry wouldn’t do it. Sometimes my wife is like what’s going on? You are married to a scorpio as well? We can talk after the show.
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John: Moving on. Before we go, I would like to take a moment to discuss advertising. We’re all constantly bombarded by ads, and it can be hard for a brand to cut through the noise unless they’re using a flashy celebrity endorsement or making a massive fuck-up. Like when Volkswagen Italy’s Instagram account combined the word “Volkswagen” and the word “Italia”, to spell something very different. It’s like what Optimus Prime looks for with safe search off. But recently, we discovered that a plumbing company from Austin, Texas had made a commercial so bold it dared you not to pay attention.
There was a time where homeowners dealt with unruly acs, toilets, and water heaters.” No other team could handle the fight. But there remained a beacon of hope in a group of superheroes just one call away. We’ll take it from here. Dispatch, I’m en route. Just call Radiant.
[Cheers and applause]
John: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that Avengers parody is an ad for a local plumbing company. Honestly, I’ve got no notes. Well, I do have one: who the fuck is the guy on the left supposed to be? I’m not an Avengers buff but I’m pretty sure there’s no dog guy. But please, tell me I’m wrong, internet. I’d love to get a thousand tweets about this from you nerds, “well actually John if you look closely in the Avengers issue four five seven, the existence of a radioactive dog isn’t out of the question.” Tell me, please. Because I’m lookin’ at this guy and I’m thinking there’s absolutely no radioacti– oh shit, that’s the raccoon isn’t it? It’s the raccoon. He’s the raccoon with a dirty mouth and a tree for a friend. It’s my mistake I take all of that back. And look: if all this company had made was that one movie-themed ad, that would have been enough. But it turns out, Radiant Plumbing does this a lot. Because last year, they also managed to turn a certain transhumanist epic about the dangers of messianic prophecies into an ad, too. Take a look: the people ask us to bring peace to the city of Austin. House Radiant accepts! I know you. There’s something awakening in your mind. You must face your fears. Come with me. You need to be ready.
[cheers and applause]
John: Holy shit. That Dune parody is incredible. The casting alone! Look at this guy. He’s more of a Timothee Chalamet type than the real Timothee Chalamet. He’s got that signature Chalamet air of mystery where you’re not sure if he’s about to white boy rap at you or do whip its in your mom’s basement. And as for ending with this giant toilet sandworm?! “Avatar way of wet” can go fuck itself, the Oscar for best visual effects goes to Radiant Plumbing.
[Cheers and applause]
And the cherry on top of all of that is the title they chose for it on YouTube: Toilet Dune. No need to think too hard on it. It’s toilet and it’s Dune. It’s Toilet Dune. And when you start diving into Radiant’s YouTube page, you’ll quickly discover just how versatile they are in the medium of toilet cinema. They’ve done Star Wars, in which R2-D2 is played by a toilet. They’ve done a Scream parody for Halloween, and three years ago, they even rolled out a series of ads parodying Napoleon Dynamite, a movie that was, at that point, a mere 16 years old. And I’m not even getting into their movie-themed window displays, which have included: the teenage mutant ninja toilets, mary poopins, and, in the clearest example of “we’ll add toilet to anything” – jurassic toilet. Look: let me be very clear at this point– I have no idea how good at plumbing Radiant Plumbing is. Given how much time they spend making these ads, they could well be terrible. But I couldn’t care less. Because they are now responsible for some of my favorite commercials ever produced, including this final one I’d like to show you, a love letter to James Cameron’s least wet film, The Terminator— we must destroy the mother toilet. We will not stand for a toilet takeover! We’ve got bowel movement. Turn on all frequencies. Alpha team, status report. I can see the mother toilet now. Go! Now! The toilet has taken over the squad commander. You forgot to wipe the seat. For all your plumbing- ac and drain needs- just call Radiant. Come on, what are you doing? Pick up the phone, now!
John: That’s just very good. From making the choice that there will be not one Arnold Schwarzenegger, but eight, to giving the evil toilet what I can only describe as “disturbingly human” teeth. Honestly, you watch enough of these, and you begin to wonder: is there any movie they can’t turn into a commercial? I guess, sadly, there’s no way to find out. Except for one. Because you may remember– a few years ago, we offered local car dealers the chance to film a commercial we wrote, with the only catch being they couldn’t look at the script before agreeing and one dealership, zumbrota ford of minnesota, took us up on our offer. Well, I have a similar proposition tonight, but with a crucial difference. So please, come with me. Radiant Plumbing. Listen to me very closely, because I have a very important proposal for you. Unlike the last time, I haven’t written you a script. Why would i, when you’re already swimming in a veritable toilet bowl of ideas. Instead, in this envelope, I have the name of a film. I won’t say which one. But I will say that if you agree to some basic terms and conditions– a key one being, that you agree to make your next movie commercial inspired by the film in this envelope, sight unseen– we will debut your ad on this show to millions of people, and give a $10,000 donation to the central texas food bank. Now, the movie in here could be in your wheelhouse, like an action film, or costume heavy horror. Or it could be something else. So it is a risk. But as you might say, “with great risk comes great toilet.” So please– get in touch, and let’s make movie magic together! You have one week to reply!
That’s our show, thanks so much for watching, we’ll see you next week, good night!
[Cheers and applause]
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