From the very beginning, Stephen Colbert’s take on the president felt different than his peers’. While Jimmy Fallon kept things relatively light and Seth Meyers redefined his show with the anchor approach he perfected at Saturday Night Live, Colbert took his show in a much more naturalistic direction. His reactions the night Trump took the presidency were nothing short of weary. He’s kept a version of that tone ever since. It’s produced some hilarious and powerful moments.
Which is why it was so interesting and promising when it was announced that ousted White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci had chosen Colbert’s show to tell a version of his story. Right away, you got the feeling that Colbert wouldn’t be hiding behind a schtick. Monday night, when The Mooch finally showed up, Colbert was ready to aggressively and unapologetically grill him. It was tense, fascinating television.
Right away things got uncomfortable when Scaramucci joked about adding Colbert’s writers to his “kill list.” When Colbert pointed out that Mooch was leading off what was ostensibly a friendly interview by joke-threatening to murder people, this was Mooch’s response:
“I’m not allowed to joke anymore, I’ve learned that,” Scaramucci said.
Over the course of the interview Colbert pressed Scaramucci on everything from leaks in the White House to Reince Priebus to Steve Bannon (who Mooch said should be fired). Even for a political interview, the tension in the room was palpable as Mooch tried to deflect answer after answer, or at least stress that regardless of his opinion he had no decision-making power in the Trump administration anymore. Colbert wasn’t buying the act. When Scaramucci tried to downplay Trump’s delay in denouncing white supremacists over the weekend, the host had a killer line ready:
“Does he order his spine on Amazon Prime? Why did it take so long?”
Scaramucci spent the interview trying to be jovial, but in that moment you could see a shadow cross his face.
Check out the interview below. It’s uncomfortable must-see television.