Other talk show hosts should take note.
When Anthony Scaramucci (aka “the Mooch”) appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Aug. 14, the interview could have gone one of two ways: Colbert could have found jokey ways to work around the Mooch’s canned deflection or he could lean into the awkwardness in hopes of getting some answers. Luckily, the talk show host opted for the latter option and did not disappoint, to say the least.
The interview took place just days after neo-Nazis became violent at a protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, injuring dozens and killing one activist. To make matters worse, Trump waited two days to take a firm stance against white supremacy. Colbert didn’t waste any time diving into this topic with Scaramucci, who was clearly attempting to course-correct his tattered image post-firing. And when Scaramucci tried to shout over Colbert, he quickly shut it down, saying, “No, no, no, you don’t get to stop my show. I stop my show,” effectively setting the tone for the rest of the interview.
In the first half (which you can watch above), Colbert grilled Scaramucci on topics ranging from Trump’s sincerity to the Mooch’s unprecedented chat with a reporter from The New Yorker that ultimately likely led to his dismissal. Throughout the interview, Scaramucci seemed arrogantly unaware of how severely his reputation has been tarnished and Colbert provided little sympathy, opting instead to challenge Scaramucci’s opinion that the White House is anything other than a total “dumpster fire.”
“Are there elements of white supremacy within the White House right now?” asked Colbert in the second half of the interview (above), adding, “Is Steve Bannon a white supremacist?” Even when Scaramucci answers with a firm condemnation of Nazis (scary to think this is no longer the bare minimum to ask of politicians), Colbert refuses to let him come across as an affable man of the people. Talk show hosts still adjusting to this increasingly perilous and frightening administration would be wise to take note from Colbert, who manages to balance his role as an entertainer with his responsibility to inform.