Some political figures are just ready-made for mockery, as Stephen Colbert demonstrated when he wasted no time roasting new White House Communications Director (and, according to Colbert, “lawyer whose ad is above the urinal”) Anthony Scaramucci. During his Monday Late Show monologue, Colbert was in late night comedy heaven, as he delved into the past, present, and almost certainly limited future of the newest SNL-bait member of the Trump administration being shoved out onto the national stage. “The Mooch” (for such is Scaramucci’s catchphrase-friendly nickname) isn’t just a brash, comically tough-talking New York douchebag caricature, he also comes with the baggage of a recent career as Trump-bashing TV talking head, and a disastrous debut weekend filled with gaffes, hypocrisy, and thorough, slavish smooching of his new boss’ posterior. (“The Mooch is ready to smooch!,” is Colbert’s assessment.) For Colbert, who’s made voluminous hay (and ratings) out of jokes about now-resigned press secretary Sean Spicer, the Mooch era appears to promise all the incoherence and bluster of the Spicer regime with a healthy added Mooch of incompetence.
Where to begin? Scaramucci (already, after only six months, the “Scrappy-Doo” or “Chachi” of the Trump administration, according to Colbert) advising White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, on-air, about looking prettier for the cameras? (“And would it kill you to smile more?,” riffed Colbert, in character.) Or formerly contemptuous Trump critic Scaramucci engaging in some North Korean-style praise of his new Glorious Leader’s majestic athletic prowess? (Colbert-as-Mooch carries tales of Trump’s football-through-a-tire and hoop-shooting skills to Trump shooting a recent “hole-in-none.”) Perhaps The Mooch’s Orwellian assertion that him hurriedly scrubbing his Twitter feed of any scraps of pre-employment anti-Trump positions (on climate change, gun control, the folly of border walls, Trump’s habitual misogyny) as “complete transparency.” Or, just for fun, the time The Mooch attributed, among other inspirational clichés, “dance like no one is watching” to noted person who did not say that, Mark Twain.
Still, since Scaramucci was brought on to fix that whole “translating Trump’s daily toilet-tweets into public policy” logjam that undid Spicer, Colbert’s main focus was on The Mooch’s inauspicious (except for comedy) first foray onto the Sunday morning news shows. It was there that, challenged by a dogged Jake Tapper over his use of an anonymous White House to pooh-pooh the various Trump-Russia investigations, Scaramucci showed his canny, 3-D chess-level communications skills by immediately giving up his source in about 10 seconds. In a snappish comeback that is just so Mooch, Scaramucci essentially told off Tapper by admitting that, yeah, it was the president himself who told him he didn’t do nothin’, and what’s Tapper gonna do about it? Colbert clearly welcomes The Mooch—if for no other reason than it’s funny to say “The Mooch!” a lot—as yet another cartoonishly broad character whose bumbling unsuitability for a role in any real, functioning White House promises to provide at least some hearty laughs as showrunner-in-chief Trump micro-manages his failing enterprise right into cancellation.