The last time I saw Donald Trump on television, he was on The Celebrity Apprentice and administering the tall task of painting New Era baseball caps to the eager celebrities. It was a challenge that would bring about the longest and loudest Meatloaf vs. Gary Busey screaming match that reality television has ever seen. That was four years ago. Now Gary Busey is on Dancing With the Stars US, Meatloaf is off calling Australians “cheap” for allowing him to use three motorbikes instead of 100 and Donald Trump is the Republican presidential frontrunner. What a bloody world.
Meatloaf rage aside, Trump has made network ratings soar more recently on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. In fact, he’s given them the best Friday night ratings in 18 months. Appearing in a sketch to interviewing himself in the mirror, Trump was clearly not embarrassed by his recent admission to Bloomberg Businessweek that he takes business advice from his own reflection.
Fallon stepped into the other half of Trump, by seemingly dipping himself in gold paint and taping a piece of tumbleweed to his head. “We look fantastic” Trump says. I’m reminded of the Smeagol sketch in Lord of the Rings, except both sides of Trump are played so exceptionally well that the line between real and parody fades faster than the seam of an expensive hairpiece.
“How are you going to create jobs in this country” asks Fallon Trump to Actual Trump. “I’m just going to do it” Actual Trump replies, more of a Nike campaign that a groundbreaking employment policy. “Geeeeniiuuss” Fallon Trump barks, part Arnie and part stoner turtle from Finding Nemo – but 100% accurately. How else is he going to help the economy? “Look, I’m really rich.” Trump says, nodding his head smugly, eyes completely shut.
After confirming that Gary Busey is out of the running for Vice President – but Kanye isn’t – Trump moves from the fake interview to the real interview. “Please welcome real estate mogul and reality TV producer…” Fallon booms, two accolades which are seldom followed by “presidential frontrunner.”
It’s September 11, which needs to be addressed immediately. “That was 15 years ago,” says Fallon, “now I’m the host of The Tonight Show and you are the Republican frontrunner to be the president of the United States.” He looks around in disbelief, “what happened?!” Trump remains unphased, sitting with the stoic spread-legged confidence of a man on the train holding a small transistor radio to his ear. He’s here to make America “great again, and rich again.”
Fallon still can’t believe it, staring at Trump like he is a mirage of a giant satsuma in a suit. Trump is harping on about stadiums in Dallas and selling out rallies. “What the hell question did I ask?” Fallon interrupts, snapping himself and the rest of us out of Trump’s bronzed hypnosis. “Does everybody love The Apprentice – that was some show huh?” Trump is just saying words at this point.
Fallon wants to know how Trump manages to walk into debates and speeches without any notes. Trump reveals that he gets a more pure reaction from the crowd by being off the cuff. Like Michelangelo freeing David from the block of marble, Trump likes carving his improvised words into the air, sculpting a verbal buttocks of Apprentice-based ramblings.
Bringing up Trump’s controversial comments regarding immigrants, Fallon asks him if he has ever apologised for anything. Trump is clearly miffed. He hadn’t been briefed on this question. “I’m being like you” Fallon grins cheekily, off the cuff. For someone who makes things up on the spot, Trumpo sure doesn’t like it when others turn that particular mirror back on him. Trump says he will apologise in the far distance future, if anything he has said is proven to be incorrect. Apparently the verdict is still out on his ol’ Mexicans Are All Rapists manifesto.
Time for a speed round. Hillary Clinton has done “a lot of bad stuff”. He’s friendly with Kanye because he likes “people who are nice to him.” He’s still dead serious about the wall on the Mexican border, and “may build it with immigrants.”
Fallon ends the interview by suggesting that Trump change his campaign song to ‘All I Do is Win’. The victorious chorus rings through the studio, and Trump’s face lights up – he’s thought of one of those ‘off the cuff’ moments. He leans in to Fallon and yells chillingly “it happens to be 100% true.”
The Tonight Show airs weeknights on Prime around 10.30pm
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