Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Helen Mirren’s Billy Bush joins Sarah Cooper in bringing the Access Hollywood tape to life

Illustration for article titled Helen Mirren’s Billy Bush joins Sarah Cooper in bringing the iAccess Hollywood/i tape to life
Screenshot: YouTube (Fair Use)

Sarah Cooper’s Netflix special, Everything’s Fine, goes out of its way to both give the people what they expect (that is, Trump lip-syncing) and to demonstrate that Cooper has more to offer than the gimmick that got her this break. (Yes, she speaks in her own voice, and yes, she is very funny.) But the centerpiece of the special is arguably Cooper’s inevitable, funny, viscerally upsetting recreation of the infamous Billy Bush Access Hollywood tape.


We’re going to embed it here, but really, watch the whole special (if only to see the end of the sketch). We called it “honest in its absurdity and appropriately apocalyptic” in our capsule review, and it’s a description that feels especially appropriate for this segment, which Netflix calls simply, “The Tape.” For assistance, Cooper turned, as one does, to Dame Helen Mirren.

Earlier this week, Cooper told Stephen Colbert about her experience filming the segment with Mirren, who apparently relished the chance to remind us all what pieces of shit these two men are. (One of those pieces of shit got elected President! What a world!) Anyway, here’s Dennis Perkins on Cooper’s appearance:

Noting that Mirren jumped at the chance to once more bring that odious, disqualifying-in-any-sane-society, caught-on-tape confession of cartoonishly evil premeditated serial sexual assault to the public’s attention, Cooper praised the 75-year-old thespian legend for not just knowing what TikTok is, but for fretting over just what to wear to approximate her lowly subject. Calling Mirren “the polar opposite of Billy Bush,” Cooper yet marveled at just how deeply a great actress will delve into even the shallowest puddle when it comes to her craft.


The sketch gets even more interesting when you’ve seen the whole special and fully enveloped yourself in the nightmare world Cooper and director Natasha Lyonne create. Watch it, if you feel like seeing the chaos in your brain reflected back at you.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!

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