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

Sarah Cooper tells Stephen Colbert how Helen Mirren helped her recreate Trump's Access Hollywood tape

Stephen Colbert, Sarah Cooper
Stephen Colbert, Sarah Cooper
Screenshot: The Late Show

Calling his guest “one of the unexpected discoveries and delights of the last seven months,” Stephen Colbert welcomed TikTok Trump impersonator and new Netflix special star Sarah Cooper to The Late Show on Tuesday. Cooper, whose talent for lip-synching the speeches of Trump and the Trump-adjacent have won her a loyal online following as well as the Maya Rudolph-produced Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine, calls what she does less an impression than the efforts of “an interpreter for the emotionally blind.” Explaining that the simple (albeit expertly mimed and timed) act of removing video from Trump’s audio is enough to lay bare the carefully manicured and manufactured effect Trump is going for, Cooper told Colbert that her goal is to “strip away the B.S.”

Admittedly, that’s a pretty huge task, considering not just Donald Trump’s extravagant cosmetic chicanery but also his multi-layered, manure-heap appeal to the absolute worst elements of white America, but Cooper happily noted that she—as a woman of color and an immigrant—represents “everything [Trump] hates.” Telling fellow Trump satirist and occasional impersonator Colbert that her goal is to pare down all the authoritarian pageantry and present just the ugly, incoherent, pandering words, coming from her expertly expressive countenance, Cooper noted that she’s been successful enough at her task to attract a truly head-spinning roster of A-list admirers to help her out. In addition to Rudolph, Everything’s Fine boasts guest reenacters like Aubrey Plaza, Ben Stiller, Connie Chung, Eddie Pepitone, Jane Lynch, Jonathan Van Ness, Megan Thee Stallion, Tommy Davidson, Whoopi Goldberg, Winona Ryder, Jon Hamm, Fred Armisen, and Marisa Tomei, all itching to get in on the pre-election, Trump-bashing, would-be cathartic fun.

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But it was none other than Dame Helen Mirren who impressed Cooper most with her commitment to playing, of all people, former Access Hollywood bro-chucklehead Billy Bush, whose chummy misogyny in response to Donald Trump’s infamous “grab ’em by the pussy” bullshit ended the career of merely one insignificant half of the sleazy pair back in 2016. 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.

Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine is on Netflix now.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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