Search

Trump’s Second Term: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver | Transcript

John Oliver discusses the plans for Donald Trump’s second term, an interesting campaign choice from a conservative congressional candidate in Michigan, and the bakery that has very successfully turned John into a cake bear.
Trump's Second Term: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Season 11 Episode 15
Aired on June 16, 2024

Main segment: Project 2025, Schedule F appointments under a second Trump administration
Other segments: A candidate in Michigan’s 8th congressional district using AI to replicate Martin Luther King Jr.’s voice; John donates equipment to a local bakery in exchange for it selling cupcakes with his face on them.

* * *

[Music]

JOHN: Welcome, welcome! You’re welcome to Last Week Tonight. I’m John Oliver. Thank you so much for joining us. It has been a busy week. Hunter Biden was found guilty on gun charges, Macron called a snap election in France, and in Michigan, this conservative Congressional candidate posted a campaign TikTok with an AI-generated voice, that is bold.

“I have another dream. Yes, it is me, Martin Luther King. I came back from the dead to say something. As I was saying, I have another dream that Anthony Hudson would be Michigan’s 8th District’s next Congressman. Yes, I have a dream.” [Applause] “Again, okay, now I am going back to where I came from. My name is Anthony Hudson, and I approve this message.”

JOHN: Okay, okay, okay. Oh my God. Let’s just jump in. It is hard to pick the wildest part of that. The opening scream? The casual “as I was saying”? The fact that MLK reassures his audience he has another dream three times, as if that’s going to be the main thing someone takes issue with. But honestly, I think it might be the four-second pause before “Okay, now I’m going back to where I came from. Goodbye,” making him sound like a middle-aged dad who doesn’t know how to end a phone call.

I’ve got so many questions about that, and none of them are about Anthony Hudson or where to vote for him. Now, Hudson initially put out a statement saying the video was posted without his knowledge and that it was stupid and disrespectful, only to then reverse that position, saying, “If MLK were alive today, I do believe he would endorse me and my vision for a better Michigan.”

First, no, he would not, Anthony, for so many reasons. But second, you had it right before your double-down. The only acceptable response to that ad is to issue an apology, drop the whole thing, and then, if I may quote something Martin Luther King never said, announce, “Okay, now I’m going back to where I came from. Goodbye.”

But we’re going to jump straight in with our main story tonight, which concerns the presidential election—the thing you’re actively ignoring so you can devote all your brainpower to MILF Manor. If you’re not watching, real quick, this season not only are the MILFs dating hot younger men, they’re also, and this is true, dating the young guys’ dads as well, and it is exactly as awkward for everyone as you’d think.

“Today, you’re going to be exploring a tantric yoga class.”
“Oh God, like no way. No, there are some things that you just don’t do with your son or with your father.”
“Are you traumatized?”
“A little bit, yeah.”

JOHN: Yeah, I bet. Although, not to victim-blame here, but you did sign up to bag MILFs in a televised sex contest, so no brain was ever leaving that manner unscarred.

The election is in full swing right now, and it’s pretty much your usual campaign: candidates offering policy proposals, trading barbs, occasionally getting convicted of 34 felonies, and complaining about the judge.

“You saw what happened to some of the witnesses that were on our side. They were literally crucified by this man, who looks like an angel, but he’s really a devil.”

JOHN: Okay, Trump definitely doesn’t know what the word “literally” means, but given his inability to talk about the Bible, it is possible that he doesn’t know what “crucified” means either. Though I could be wrong. Maybe Jesus got nailed to planks because of his hush payments to a porn star. I don’t know. I don’t have the close personal relationship that Trump has with the Bible, which, for the record, is sourly holding it up like he’s showing off the bug he just squashed with it.

But as massively flawed as Trump is—as a candidate, husband, boss, father, and human being—he is currently slightly ahead of Biden in the polls. So there is a pretty good chance he could be back in the White House next year, and given that, it’s worth talking about what he plans to do if he gets there. Because Trump does have a second-term platform. You can go on his website and see it all laid out, and it is pretty alarming.

For instance, here he is talking about his plans regarding trans rights:

“I will ask Congress to pass a bill establishing that the only genders recognized by the United States government are male and female, and they are assigned at birth. No serious country should be telling its children that they were born with the wrong gender, a concept that was never heard of in all of human history. Nobody’s ever heard of this. What’s happening today—it was all when the radical left invented it just a few years ago.”

JOHN: That is really the Trump experience in a nutshell right there: hateful ideology, a promise to make life harder for minorities, all wrapped up in a non-sequitur so stupid it is inconveniently funny. The radical left invented trans people a few years ago? I’m sorry, what? Did they put it on Shark Tank and I somehow missed it?

That’s another instant classic line read from one of humanity’s worst brains. Trump’s also promising mass deportations in his next term. Here is Stephen Miller, his former advisor and first-draft Pixar villain, talking in depth about the logistics:

“So you grab illegal immigrants and then you move them to the staging grounds, and that’s where the planes are waiting for federal law enforcement to then move those illegals home. You deputize the National Guard to carry out immigration enforcement, and then you also deploy the military to the southern border. The military has the right to establish a fortress position on the border and to say no one can cross here at all.”

JOHN: Wow, those are some strong words from Miller, only slightly undercut by his tendency to look at all times like a condom full of soup. But that is still just the beginning. Trump plans to require local law enforcement agencies to use measures like stop-and-frisk, cut funding for any school that has a vaccine or mask mandate, and impose a universal tariff of at least 10% on all imports. Notably, he’s promising to get revenge on his enemies. At rallies, he’s told supporters that “I am your retribution,” which sounds more like something you’d hear out of the mouth of Megatron than a major presidential candidate. He’s been specific about who exactly will be on the receiving end of that retribution:

“We will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections and will do anything possible—they’ll do anything, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America and to destroy the American dream.”

JOHN: First, was he falling asleep at the end there? But second, it’s not usually a great sign when a politician starts referring to groups as “vermin,” unless, of course, they’re running for mayor of Zootopia and they’re gunning for the little rodent vote. Then it’s actually pretty savvy politics.

And you think, well, okay, Trump’s making big scary promises, but he did that in 2016 too, and he broke a lot of them. That is true, although he did also go on to do a lot of damage. He blew up the Iran nuclear deal, withdrew us from the Paris Climate Agreement, slashed access to food stamps, and gave a huge tax cut to corporations. He separated children from their families at the border, suggested curing COVID with bleach or a bright light, summoned an insurrection, and put in three Supreme Court justices who helped overturn Roe v. Wade and seem to have no intentions of stopping there.

But it is true that a lot of his other major policy goals, from ending the Affordable Care Act to getting Mexico to pay for his border wall, remained out of reach. Trump as president was sort of like a hamster in an attack helicopter. Sure, he wants to bathe the world in blood and terror—he wants it with his whole rotten hamster heart—but luckily he doesn’t know what buttons to press and his brain’s the size of a peanut, so that puts some hard limits on the damage he’s actually able to do.

This time, though, Trump will have a lot more help. Not only are the courts more conservative and the Republican Party more firmly aligned with him, but a group of conservatives has come up with a plan of action to ensure that he can hit the ground running. And even if he does meet resistance from Congress or the courts, he will now have ways to go around them.

That is why, while Trump’s first term was bad, his second could be much, much worse. So tonight, let’s talk about Trump’s second term—who’s making those plans for him, what they entail, and how much damage they could do. And the main insight we have into all of this comes from something called Project 2025, which I know sounds like a sexy CW sci-fi drama starring Ashanti, Chad Michael Murray, and Turtle from Entourage, but incredibly, it’s even worse than that.

Basically, Project 2025 aims to do for Trump’s whole presidency what the Federalist Society did for his judicial picks: give him a step-by-step game plan that he simply has to execute and then take credit for. They’ve even made a promotional video for it:

“On inauguration day, the four years ahead seem like an eternity. It’s not, because the left has engineered our government and institutions to reject conservative ideology. The 2025 Presidential Transition Project brings together conservative organizations to ensure the policy and personnel are in place on January 20th, 2025. Using four pillars, we are laying the foundation for the next president to end Washington’s bureaucracy and restore American prosperity.”

JOHN: Yeah, more than 100 conservative organizations have come together to work on this, and they’re all there—The Heritage Foundation, Liberty University, the NRA, Turning Point USA, Rodeo Clowns for Trump, The Center for Ruining Thanksgiving, The Marriages Between a Man and His Property Institute, Arm the Unborn, The Union of Twitter Guys with Goatees and Wraparound Shades, Captain Planet Villains for a Brighter Tomorrow, and of course, Americans for How Zoos Should Let You Touch the Bald Eagles. They are all here.

They’ve even produced a 900-page handbook on their goals, which are sweeping. It proposes dismantling NOAA, the agency that tracks hurricanes and protects marine life, because it’s “one of the main drivers of the climate change alarm industry.” It also proposes eliminating the Head Start program, installing a pro-life task force to replace Biden’s reproductive health care one, plans to defund the DOJ, dismantle the FBI, and eliminate the Departments of Education and Commerce, and states that pornography should be outlawed and the people who produce and distribute it should be imprisoned.

These proposals are extreme because the people who wrote them are extreme, and they’ve been laying all of this out in plain view, mostly on conservative podcasts. One of the major architects of Project 2025 is Russ Vought, who served in the White House during Trump’s first term. He’s a self-described Christian nationalist, and here he is making a targeted pitch for one funding cut that Trump could make:

“I am opposed to the Department of Education because I think it’s the Department of Critical Race Theory 100%. I mean, you have grants after grant of culturally responsive learning where you’re funding essentially a cultural revolution, not just with teachers but with the students. That’s what all this wokeism is about.”

JOHN: Yeah, apparently the Department of Education is funding a cultural revolution. I presume that is why every kindergarten classroom now has the new edition of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? where he responds, “A parasitic member of the bourgeoisie.” But Vought and the rest of the Project 2025 team aren’t just devising policy; they’re making sure they’ll have the right people in place to implement it.

One of the reasons Trump got off to a slow start last time is that, because nobody expected him to win, there wasn’t a plan in place for what to do once he did. Jared famously toured the Obama White House not long after the election and asked how many of the individuals there would remain into the next administration, to which someone presumably had to tell him, “Not many, you f*cking idiot. You have to hire people yourself. That is what you just won.”

But that confusion won’t happen this time, because Project 2025 is assembling a database of prospective hires not just for the White House but across the entire federal government. They’ve likened it to a conservative LinkedIn. Here’s one of the leaders of that effort, John McEntee, making his pitch for people to sign up:

“If you want to work and make a difference, you can go to Project2025.org. You can apply, you can take the training, you can learn about being a political appointee and how to be effective, which is so important. Okay, you got the job. Now what do you do? How do you take on the bureaucracy? How do you do all these things? So that’s where we’re trying to help, just give the president a little leg up on staffing.”

JOHN: It’s essentially an open audition for people who might want a new job because they lost their old one back on January 6th for some reason. Their goal here is clear: to assemble an army of vetted, trained staff who can begin dismantling the administrative state from day one. Which is a little weird if you think about it. They’re assembling an army of future government bureaucrats who hate the government. If you were interviewing for a job at Cheerios and the interviewer said, “Why do you want to work here?” and you replied, “Because I hate Cheerios and want to destroy it,” you’d be immediately grabbed by security and never seen again. You think Cheerios f*cks around? You thing you ruled the cereal aisle for 80-plus years without burying some bodies? Try messing with Cheerios and I promise you’ll find out.

And once Project 2025’s wrecking crew is in place, they’ve outlined a number of strategies that can be used to make sure Trump can do as much as possible without needing Congress. A lot of them derive from the so-called unitary executive theory, which was developed during the Reagan years. Its supporters argue that Article Two of the Constitution gives the president complete control of the executive branch. As one person who’s read that manifesto puts it, it turns the separation of powers among the three branches into a game of rock-paper-scissors, except rock beats everything.

Here is one example. There used to be a thing called impoundment, where a president could stop or redirect money that Congress had already appropriated for something. Congress actually made that illegal in 1974 after some abuses during the Nixon administration. It may ring a bell for you because it came up during Trump’s first impeachment hearings when he held up aid to Ukraine to try and get them to look for dirt on the Biden family. But Trump’s team now wants to bring impoundment back to thwart anything liberal that comes out of Capitol Hill. Just listen to Larry Kudlow, one of Trump’s top economic advisers in his first term, get very excited when talking about it:

“So let’s get back to, you know, you and I agree, how about giving the power of impoundment to the president?

Impound their asses off! Impound their rear ends off! That’s what you do and leave all this legislative BS. Just impound, impound, impound!”

JOHN: Wow, he’s getting fired up there. Also, “impound their rear ends off” sounds less like a statement about presidential power and more like a slogan from a Pride event in the Cars universe. But it goes well beyond impoundment. In fact, it’s one of the most boring-sounding parts of Project 2025 that can actually end up being the most insidious, because it could make achieving all Trump’s other goals so much easier.

It’s called Schedule F, and to explain it, I’m afraid I’m going to have to briefly talk about government HR procedures. So just sit tight, and when we’re done, I promise I’ll play you another clip from MILF Manor as a reward.

Very basically, there are two kinds of federal employees. The first group are merit-based career positions. These jobs tend to be experts, administrators, and support staff that do the important work of keeping the government running. It could be an engineer at NASA, a nurse at the VA, or a railroad safety inspector at the Department of Transportation. Workers like that have robust employee protections, meaning they can’t be fired for political reasons because their jobs aren’t political. That way, they can work over many administrations, gaining the kind of extensive experience that the government needs to function.

The second group consists of political appointees, like cabinet secretaries and those under them. They are hired by a new administration to ensure the campaign promises of the new president are being worked on, and they tend to leave when that administration does. There are about 2 million career federal employees and only about 4,000 political ones who change depending on who is in charge. Those are the ones the new administrations do have to hire in, Jared, you f*cking idiot.

Okay, that is essentially all the background you need to know about federal personnel management. If you’re bored, it’s over, and if you’re hard, welcome home. And either way, here is that promised clip from MILF Manor:

“I definitely conflicted kissing Joey, and it is so weird because my son’s name is Joey, and they kind of look alike.”

JOHN: Oh my God. Oh my God. I will say this: I know that is gross and incestuous, but you all liked that sh*t when it was on Game of Thrones. You lapped it right up. If that clip had a dragon in it, would that make it any better for you?

Anyway, during Trump’s first term, he got frustrated by the fact that so many of the career government employees seemed to be undermining him by telling him things he wanted to do were illegal or that things he said were wrong or, you know, testifying publicly about the laws they’d seen him break. But Schedule F would fix all of that. Basically, it’s a new designation that would reclassify around 50,000 career civil servants as political appointees, meaning they wouldn’t have civil service protections from getting fired, and whoever replaces them could be hired on loyalty, not on merit.

Here is Russ Vought explaining the plan to Don Jr.’s fiancée:

“We have a number of ideas, most notably Schedule F, which allows us to reclassify. If you work on policy, you have the opportunity to be reclassified and turned into an at-will employment. That doesn’t mean you’re going to get fired tomorrow, but that does mean that you are now working for the president of the United States. You’re not working for your own institution or your own institutional benefits.”

JOHN: Right, “you don’t work for the institution. You work for the president.” So if, for example, you’re a government weather forecaster using your expertise to predict the path of a hurricane, and hypothetically a president assembles the press only for it to become clear he’s extended your map in black Sharpie for some f*cking reason, your job isn’t to correct him. It’s to say, “Absolutely right, Mr. President, you truly are the best at weather.”

Except the truth is, Trump wouldn’t even need a Sharpie to do it next time, because whatever map exists in his head would already be the official position of the National Weather Service. In that interview, Vought goes on to lay out exactly what Schedule F would do, and it is worth listening to him closely because it’s very important, even if Kimberly Guilfoyle is clearly not listening to him at all:

“The whole notion of independence, Kimberly, there’s this view for a hundred years that agencies should be independent of the president. And some of them are really independent under statute, and some of them just want to call themselves independent. All of it’s unconstitutional, and all of it is designed so that a president of the United States can’t call these individuals up and say, ‘Hey, you guys work for me. This is my policy agenda. This is what I want you to do.’ “

JOHN: I will say, that dead-eyed stare is absolutely the level of conversational B.S. I’d expect from someone in a relationship with Don Jr. There are Tibetan monks who aren’t that good at mentally transporting themselves somewhere else. Interestingly, Trump actually signed an executive order enacting this Schedule F plan back in October of 2020, but barely anyone noticed because the whole thing had been developed in secrecy and issued only two weeks before the election. Under it, anyone with a role developing policy could be reclassified, but they basically decided that almost any role could be policy-related. In fact, Vought, who was serving as Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget at the time, drew up a list of potential employees that could be reclassified that amounted to 68% of his department’s workforce.

Now, thankfully, Biden undid Schedule F immediately upon taking office, but Trump says he plans to reinstate it on day one of his second term. And to understand just how consequential that could be, it is worth going back to that guy you saw earlier, John McEntee. He is a big proponent of Schedule F. He also happened to work as the director of the White House personnel office for the last year of Trump’s first term, a job that he got at the age of just 29 after initially starting out as the guy who literally carried Trump’s bags. Here is McEntee telling the fun story of how he got his big promotion:

“I was walking with the president on the colonnade in the White House. He said, ‘What’s on the schedule today?’ I was reading through 9 a.m. this, 10 a.m. that. I said, ‘You have your P.O. meeting.’ He said, ‘P.O.?’ I said, ‘Yeah, the personnel office is coming by.’ He said, ‘Oh, I’ve always had so many problems with that office.’ And then he just looked at me and said, ‘Do you think you could run that office?’ And for some reason, I said, ‘Yes, I could run that office.’ “

JOHN: Wow, that is an amazing story, although I don’t know how good it makes you look, to be honest. So there I was holding the president’s purse when he says, “Hey, you, you’re alive and in my field of vision. Do you want to do some sh*t so that I don’t have to?” He really saw my value in that moment.

By all accounts, McEntee used his sudden power to purge anyone even suspected of disloyalty to the president. His team pulled in even fairly low-level employees to make sure that they toed the Trump party line. For instance, an office assistant at the DOJ was asked to explain why she voted in a local Democratic primary a few years earlier, and employees were expected to endorse policies that had nothing to do with their work. Officials at the EPA and HUD were apparently asked, “Do you support the president’s plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan?” Pity the random plant biologist at the EPA who had to be like, “I don’t know. How will it affect ferns?”

Since leaving the White House, McEntee has kept busy not only working on Project 2025 but also starting this terrible conservative dating app called “The Right Stuff.”

“I’ve got to tell you about something I am so excited to announce—a dating app for all of us conservatives. You’ll start off by building your perfect profile—no pronouns necessary. We want you to put your best foot forward, which includes your favorite photos of yourself doing what you love or being with the people you love. Our prompts give you the opportunity to let people know various sides of you. So remember, be authentic and creative.”

JOHN: Okay, a few things. First, you don’t need a new dating app to find conservatives online. Just go onto any existing app and filter for people who describe their views as “moderate.” Any single woman in a big city can tell you “moderate” just means “I’m a right-wing nut job, but I’d like to get laid, please.” And there is so much in that ad, from the image of Trump himself in one of the profile photos to the fact that some of those fun prompts include naming your favorite liberal lie. If you actually go on the app, you’ll find another prompt for you to fill in that just says, “January 6th was…” And what is the right answer when a dating app asks you to rate an insurrection? “January 6th was a total turn-on. Now get over here and shatter my a**hole like it’s a Capitol window.”

McEntee also created a TikTok account for the site where every video seems to be a POV shot of what it’s like to be on a date with him, which seems to be an absolute nightmare:

“I was watching TV yesterday, which I usually don’t do, and I noticed something with the commercials. When did everyone in America become black and gay?” “Do you really think handing over your gun ends gun violence? That’s like chopping off your own dick to stop rape.” “If you say Palestinians deserve a homeland just for themselves, you’re woke. But if you say white people deserve a homeland just for themselves, you’re racist.” “It’s funny how New York went from trying to ban Big Gulps to people openly sh*tting in the street.”

JOHN: Okay, you clearly have some questions there, and I can see your food is getting cold, so real quick: 1) Everyone in America isn’t black and gay, though some people are, and sometimes they do appear in commercials. 2) To be clear, I think you just made yourself the rapist in your own hypothetical there. 3) Is wanting a homeland just for white people racist? Yes, yes it is. Thanks for asking. And finally, people in New York have been sh*tting openly pooping in the street long before Big Gulps were even invented, and it’s an odd thing to bring up seconds before inserting an entire hamburger into your face.

While I know those TikToks are very, very dumb, one of them is actually a pretty good reminder of McEntee’s entire philosophy when it comes to government staffing.

“So, Elon Musk cut 90% of Twitter’s staff, and it’s still working fine. Should we try that with the government next?”

JOHN: Yeah, is that the best comparison though? Because I’m not sure Twitter is working fine so much as it’s a ruined castle slowly sinking into the bog of irrelevance. But I guess there are a lot more Nazis on there now, which does seem to track with your plans for government. And look, I am not saying there aren’t lots of ways to make the government more efficient. There are, but this isn’t the way to do it.

Because there is clearly a problem with making large chunks of the government subordinate to the whims of the chief executive and his advisor-slash-amateur food comedian-slash-founder of Trad Wife eHarmony. Especially when this particular chief executive famously values loyalty over all else. Just listen to this head of a government worker union point out the obvious:

“Do you want people doing scientific research at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who don’t have the qualifications to perform that kind of work? Their only qualification is an allegiance to the Trump agenda. It’s very disheartening and it’s scary. I think that there will be a massive exodus of competence.”

JOHN: Right. When you fire everyone who knows what they’re doing and only hire people who will say yes to the rich guy in charge, that’s not a recipe for good government. It’s a recipe for the Titan submersible. I don’t want scientific research about nuclear power being done by people without experience. I don’t want my latte being made by someone without experience. Oh, it’s your first day? I’m sorry, step aside, please. Give me the barista with a sleeve of techno-tan stick-and-poke tattoos and a septum piercing who’s worked here for five years and who hates everybody here. Experience matters.

And look, there are agencies where you obviously don’t want a president interfering for political advantage, like the Department of Justice or the EPA. But across the whole government, with Schedule F, a president could exert a lot of power and enact a lot more policy simply by telling his loyalists what to do. For instance, Trump wouldn’t need Congress to vote on a nationwide ban on abortion drugs when he can simply have his FDA declare them unsafe. That plan, incidentally, is specifically spelled out in Project 2025’s handbook, which suggests the president have the FDA reverse its approval of chemical abortion drugs, something that is a pet project for Vought himself, who has said, among other things, “The families of the West are not having enough babies for their societies to endure.”

In fact, for all Trump’s talk of wanting to get rid of the deep state, Schedule F isn’t eliminating it. It’s creating a deep state that is loyal to him and driving good people out of government. And people across the political spectrum have been raising alarms about this. Robert Shea, a senior official under George W. Bush, a self-described “hugely conservative loyal Republican,” has said, “Hiring people based on personal political loyalties would produce an army of suck-ups,” adding, “I can’t overstate my level of concern about the damage this would do to the institution of the federal government. You would have things formally considered illegal or unconstitutional popping up all across the government like whack-a-mole, and the ability to fight them would be inhibited.”

But that’s probably the point here.

And I do get that Trump unraveling civil service protections isn’t the sexiest headline, but it’s also the action that could unlock his ability to do all the incredibly damaging things that he and those involved in Project 2025 have been planning. So, what do we do here? Well, the simple thing is: don’t vote for Donald Trump. I don’t know if you were planning on doing that, but I think it should be clear by now that the official position of this show is that you should not vote for Donald Trump—not for president, not for winner of The Masked Singer, basically not for anything.

And while I have a lot of problems with Biden, he’s clearly the better of the two options, which I recognize is a very low bar. Being better than Donald Trump cannot be the standard, because Trump himself is the very absence of a standard. But the truth is, even if Trump loses, that won’t be the end of this. The people who cooked up Project 2025 will just move on to Project 2029 instead. Because for them, this is about so much more than just one election or indeed one candidate.

Project 2025 is born from an impulse as old as America. It’s an impulse that says one class of Americans is entitled to lead, and the rest of us are lucky to be allowed to serve. That thinks there should be a limited government when it comes to rules they have to live by, but also a unitary executive to keep the rest of us in line. These are old, old ideas that have been shouted from podiums by the likes of George Wallace and Pat Buchanan but have now been placed into a new handbook for an only-too-willing president to use on day one.

In a perfect world, I would love if we had an opposing party better able to articulate a strong defense of our country’s ideals and that also consistently lived up to them. People are entitled to hope for more from the next four years than someone just not being Trump and for at least two Supreme Court justices to die. I’m not saying which ones I would prefer, but I think we all have our top two. And for anyone tempted to think, “Well, we survived Trump’s first term,” first, not everyone did. And it should hopefully be very clear by now: a second Trump term really does promise to be far, far worse.

Because if Trump’s first term was defined by chaos, his second could be defined by ruthless efficiency, and that should be troubling to absolutely everyone. Project 2025 is a movement whose members joke about wanting a white homeland and insist women have to have more babies to uphold Western society. And its work could be about to be funneled through a man who happily calls his fellow Americans “vermin.” It is not subtle, it’s hard to miss, and once you see it, you cannot unsee it.

And I know that’s bleak, so let me leave you with something to which that exact same description can actually apply—your third and final clip from MILF Manor.

“Oh my God, the dads are hotter than the sons. Even the one on crutches.” “I want the one on crutches.” “Yeah, definitely. The dads are giving me coochie tingles.” “Would have never thought I’d see my son in this situation.” “Would you? No. All these older women? You just never thought you’d like older women.” “Yeah, no, I do. I want to call him ‘Mommy.'”

JOHN: We need to be better than this. We need to be better than all of this.

[…]

JOHN: Moving on, before we go, a quick update. You might remember two weeks ago, we bought the contents of this shuttered Red Lobster in upstate New York and rebuilt it inside this studio. Unfortunately, it turned out this nearby bakery was disappointed because they put a note on the door of that Red Lobster asking for two pieces of their kitchen equipment, which I maintain is still the strangest way to communicate a desire to purchase something. It’s like ordering lunch by writing what you want and tying it to the leg of a carrier pigeon. You’re not getting your Sweetgreen salad. At best, it’s coming back with a rat on its back and a single AirPod in its mouth.

Nevertheless, last week we offered to send this brand new equipment to that bakery with one condition, because we noticed they make cake bears, and I wanted a cake bear with my face on it, as would anyone in my position because life is short, TV is fun, and cake is better. I especially wanted one because, as you can see, each bear has an absolute dump truck ass, and simply put, me gusta.

So, last Sunday night, we reached out to them in their favorite way—by attaching this note to their actual door. And it turns out one of the bakery’s owners got the message.

“We were so pleasantly surprised to come in this morning with this lovely note on our door. And then I was like, ‘Wow, what is that?’ And I checked John Oliver’s show and I watched the whole show while I was working this morning, and you know, we’re just so grateful that we got to be part of the show and that he’s going to donate this kitchen equipment to us. And here’s his cupcake.”

Yes! Yes! I love everything about that cake bear. Its wide-open eyes pleading, “Munch me, munch a bite out of my ass right now.” I love the little paws, the little nose, and that each bear basically looks like it’s wearing a John Oliver Halloween mask. And they made those bears so fast. That guy apparently woke up to texts about our show at 3 a.m., a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and by 10 a.m., the bears were already on sale. And they even honored my request that they’d be given an enormous ass. As their Facebook post announcing them said, they have “DONK! in all caps,” and just like that, Facebook is good again. Sorry for everything I said about you, Zuckerberg. You really are a boy genius.

And the good news is, those bears have been selling surprisingly well.

The first batch of about 80 John Oliver cake bears sold out in under an hour.

“It was unbelievable. I was like, ‘I can’t believe it went viral and the amount of emails and messages on social media that we’re getting. People want them shipped to like the Philippines and Australia.’

I was a little shocked. I was like, ‘I can’t believe this is real life right now.’

This large cake bear is going straight to Oliver dicing, selling the smaller ones for eight bucks each and sending all the proceeds to People’s Place Food Pantry in Kingston.”

JOHN: Again, that is excellent. Not only are they currently donating all the proceeds to this local food bank, he’s eating that bear in the manner I’d suggested they be best enjoyed: ass first. And can I just say, respectfully, sir, that is a lot of eye contact there. I don’t want to make this weird, but my only question is: so, what are we?

And the donation to that food bank could end up being considerable, given at times they were apparently selling around 100 bears an hour. It seems the cakes do have fans. One customer took their cake bear to visit the shuttered Red Lobster that started all of this, while another made this superlative TikTok.

Listen, as a 47-year-old who looks like a 67-year-old, I clearly don’t understand TikTok, but I do know perfect filmmaking when I see it, and that right there is perfect filmmaking.

Look, this has all been a lot of fun, and fair is fair. We sent Ding’s new kitchen equipment up to them on Thursday, on top of which I’m happy to say we’ll be making our own $10,000 donation to that local food bank. And now, there is really only one thing left to reveal, because it turns out Ding’s didn’t just make that large cake bear that you saw earlier. They also made another featuring my actual likeness, and it is the single funniest possible rendering of me as a bear. Would you like to see it?

Please come with me and behold this absolute masterpiece. Look at its eyes, look at its skin, look at its mouth—look how much of a problem its mouth is. I am humbled, shocked, and as this cake bear suggests, slightly terrified. But I’m also impressed because Ding’s, you clearly met my challenge and sent us something that looks somehow both like me and a version of Yogi Bear that’s been through 14 divorces.

It even includes an edible note reading, “Don’t be a monster. Have some class and eat it ass first,” from the Ding’s family and staff, which is just perfect. So, thank you so much to Ding’s Bakery, who rose to the challenge of producing a product on zero notice that didn’t exist and yet had somehow been advertised on national TV. And thank you to everyone who bought the bears. I can really only think of one way to end this, and that is to eat this bear that I love so very much in the only universally acceptable manner, and that is by taking a bite out of its sumptuous ass. Here we go.

We did it. That is our show. Thank you so much for watching. We’ll see you next week. Good night.

[Music]

[Applause]

SHARE THIS ARTICLE

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read More

Weekly Magazine

Get the best articles once a week directly to your inbox!