Billy Bush’s promising career as a smiling, essentially empty TV talking head took a sudden sharp detour last October, when footage emerged of him from 2005, merrily toadying up to future U.S. President Donald Trump during an Access Hollywood visit to a soap opera set. On the tapes, Bush mostly just giggles along to ”The Donald’s” “locker room talk” about all the ways he likes to “move on a bitch” or grab women by the genitals, but he did offer up a few enthusiastic catcalls of his own. The aftermath of the tapes made it clear, though, that America holds its entertainment reporters to a higher standard than its elected officials: Bush was promptly fired, while Trump became Commander-In-Chief.
At the time the tapes came to light, Bush apologized to the public, saying he’d been a young, tender 33 years old when they were filmed. He then did us all the courtesy of promptly disappeared from the limelight, and allowing people to get on with worrying about the myriad problems his co-star’s election would cause.
But now Billy Bush is back, courtesy of the irresistible allure of social media. An Instagram post Bush made two days ago is blowing up at present, showing the former Today star getting his haircut and singing a mournful ditty about his own fall from grace. “Look at me, I’m Billy B,” he croons, imitating “I’m Sandra Dee” from Grease. “Trying to get back on TV. My hair’s long and flat, and it makes me look fat. And I can’t be. I’m Billy B.” (Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any additional verses about the importance of not playing along when bullies ask you to normalize their sexism-laden rants.) Bush is clearly going for playful with the video, but the actual effect is more “sad and weird,” revealing what seems to be a real desire to get himself back into some kind of camera-friendly spotlight.
The video is a departure from the rest of Bush’s Instagram, where he seems to have mostly been enjoying his time since his ouster, spending time with his family, traveling abroad, and occasionally hosting fake TV shows. (Oops, there’s that sad and weird sensation again.) He’s even gotten his youngest daughter Lillie involved with his faux-TV efforts, although one hopes he’s also teaching her how to deal with other problems, like what to do if famous men try to reduce her to nothing more than a sexualized object for them to leer over. Fingers crossed on that one.