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Trevor Noah spends 18 minutes talking to Omarosa, as life is now the worst reality show ever

Omarosa Manigault-Newman, Trevor Noah
Screenshot: The Daily Show With Trevor Noah

You remember back when it started to look nauseatingly possible that Donald Trump would become president? Of the United States, even? When all the jokes about a reality show White House started flooding your social media feeds, like how Trump would staff his cabinet with contestants from Celebrity Apprentice? Well, Omarosa Manigault-Newman spent 18 minutes on last night’s Daily Show hawking her tell-all book about her time as the Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison in the Trump administration and telling host Trevor Noah about how she secretly taped damning conversations with Trump and company before being fired after being “locked in the Situation Room” for two hours and personally threatened by Chief of Staff John Kelly. So it seems we all owe apologies to every comedian we called hacky for joking about, say, Meat Loaf being the new head of the White House Arts Committee. Sure, that didn’t happen—yet—but, as Omarosa (reality show mononym employed for the rest of this article) aired her version of her time working for a “mentally impaired” boss, the beyond-satire blurring of real life and shitty TV continued apace.

Noah pushed Omarosa at times about her choice to work for a person whose long history of racism was well-documented even before, as Noah ran down the list: Trump attacked Mexicans, immigrants, black athletes, African nations, Puerto Rico, and, as of this week, Omarosa herself, in blatantly bigoted appeals to his reactionary base. Omarosa, dropping the name of her book at judicious intervals throughout the interview, expressed remorse, calling herself “totally complicit.” That said, she spent much of the interview spinning her involvement with the Trump administration as a courageous attempt to represent the black community from inside the bloated belly of the beast, claiming that she fought valiantly to steer Trump toward helping end violence in Chicago (instead of using the city as a racist dog-whistle), fixing the water crisis in Flint, and assisting the people of Haiti. Why, Omarosa even took Trump to museums in order to get her boss to learn about the black community, all to no avail. Noah, while largely deferential about Omarosa’s attempt at image rehab, did point out that there’s precious little we didn’t already know about the pervasive dysfunction in the White House outlined in her book, to which Omarosa responded that the book will give readers a lot of insight—into Omarosa.


Noah did earn some points by throwing his guest off her practiced promotional track by comparing her newfound conscience to “the bad guy who’s come over to the other side” on a CBS police procedural. He also brought up the fact that there was plenty of proof that Trump was a dingbat racist before Omarosa decided to work for him as president, to which she conceded that she “looked like the biggest dummy following this person,” and that her gratitude to Trump for bringing her on board his buffoonish TV empire gave her a “blind spot” about him. She and Noah discussed how her habit of recording seemingly every conversation she ever had with anyone connected to Trump has served to vindicate a lot of the otherwise farcically improbable claims she’s made in her book, with Noah admitting that, without empirical evidence, he definitely wouldn’t have believed some of her claims. (You know, like how Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson just got caught lying that she’d never discussed the depressingly probable existence of tapes of Trump using the “n-word.”) Throughout the interview, viewers were left asking if the relentlessly self-aggrandizing Omarosa’s face turn is worth paying attention to, as this ineptly written season of Big Brother: White House lurches from one incompetently manufactured twist to the next.

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Dennis Perkins

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