Attempting to pin his guest, former wrestler an current international move idol Dwayne Johnson, concerning the long-gestating rumors of his political aspirations, Stephen Colbert asked point-blank, “Do you actually take that possibility seriously.” “I absolutely do,” replied the former The Rock, once again raising the specter of yet another Johnson in the White House. And while the always-engaging actor (there to promote his new film in which he punches a burning building) did appear straight-faced about whatever shape his seemingly inevitable political career might take, he also jokingly conceded, “I need that thing... [snaps fingers as if looking for the word]... oh, experience.” Seriously though, as the kids on the internet say, “He’s running.”
Look, if the prospect of a member of the WWE Hall Of Fame holding the highest office in the land seems far-fetched, well, welcome to the new reality. At any rate, Johnson, unlike some other former reality-based TV figures we could name, appears to be a decent enough fellow, with [snaps fingers as if looking for the word]... human charisma. On his two-segment Late Show appearance on Wednesday, Johnson was in full-on charm mode, goofing about with Colbert’s playful joshing with signature good sportsmanship. Johnson really warmed up when talking about the good old days, when, as a young ‘rassler, he paid his dues at such illustrious venues as used car lots, county fairs, and flea markets, before finally getting his shot at Madison Square Garden.
Johnson talked feelingly about his place in his family’s long wrestling legacy (his dad, grandfather, and even grandmother being semi-legendary figures in the sort-of sport), and, after correcting Colbert’s assertion that he’s of Samoan heritage (“I’m half-black and half-Samoan,” he politely countered), Johnson gamely sang a snatch of a traditional Samoan song that was genuinely sweet. (Even if he didn’t have Moana’s Lin-Manuel Miranda coaching him this time.) He rose to every challenge throughout the interview, eventually doing tequila shots while having an arched-eyebrow face-off with the similarly facially agile Colbert. “To hell with the movie, let’s drink!,” Johnson joked, before taking another shot while a clip from Skyscraper (that brought to mind Sidney Mussburger’s fateful double stitch more than anything else) dutifully showed the onscreen Johnson battling that burning building. (For crying out loud, he already pummeled an entire earthquake into submission.)
Colbert also addressed Johnson’s famous 2011 tweet, in which the then-The Rock appeared to know in advance of the American public that the raid on Osama bin Laden’s hiding place had been successful. Explaining cagily that he has “friends in high and low places,” Johnson would diplomatically neither confirm nor deny Colbert’s guess, “It’s Biden, right?” So, get those Johnson/Biden 2024 bumper stickers ready, is what we’re saying.