It’s been a long week without TV comedians lobbing brickbats at the daily conveyor belt of Trump administration targets, as literally every late-night host took the July 4 holiday as a patriotic excuse to refresh, and reload. Stephen Colbert had plenty of bad news from our long national nightmare to catch up on in his monologue (including Trump’s new, predictably right-wing SCOTUS pick, whose name was humorously dubbed in later, as The Late Show taped before Brett Kavanaugh was officially handed Trump’s Rose Garden rose). But there was one spot of good news that occurred during Colbert’s, one hopes, bourbon-flavored hiatus, one whose intoxicating bouquet of slavish subservience to power, outrageous corruption, and good old schadenfreude at a cartoonish grifter getting his comeuppance could only truly be enjoyed by one as delighted by cruelty, venality, and toxic chemicals as Colbert’s cutting-room-floor version of Hunger Games aristocrat Caesar Flickerman.
As he’s done when other Trump administration enablers, co-plotters, and just plain incompetents have fled or been shit-canned, Colbert’s blue-coiffed Flickerman gleefully introduced what he’s termed “The Hungry To Leave Power Games.” Flashing up a stomach-churning montage of previous administration bigots, scammers, and Omarosa, who’ve played Trumps’ grimy game and lost (including a secret celebrity thrown in to see if viewers were paying attention), Flickerman added now former EPA head and protector “of our nation’s fragile industrialists” Pruitt to the unmourned fallen. Noting Pruitt’s truly impressive roster of active ethics investigations (involving as they do, lavish travel, soundproof phone booths, fancy pens, moisturizer, used mattresses, and chicken franchises, to name but a lot), Flickerman was most impressed by Pruitt’s lucrative, child-poisoning coziness with the very polluters he was—again, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency—supposed to be policing.
Calling Pruitt “a man whose only flaw was being terrible,” Flickerman happily sprayed his face with what he claimed was a particularly nasty Dow-made chemical Pruitt gave the green light to, despite its known links to developmental harm in kids. “I can really smell the ‘I can’t read,’” Colbert-as-Flickerman ad-libbed after realizing he’d polluted his much-needed eyeglasses. (“This is why you do this shit in rehearsal,” he joked.) In the end, Flickerman gave fellow evil youth-despoiler Pruitt the only proper sendoff, sealing a Scott Pruitt action figure in a plastic coffin teeming with noxious fumes and his beloved skin emollient. “Remember to stay moisturized in hell!,” Flickerman crowed, before adding Pruitt’s image to the lofty Ed Sullivan Theater firmament of those deemed too soullessly corrupt, even for this White House.