Reality star and former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault once warned on Celebrity Big Brother that "we would be begging for the days of Trump back if [Mike Pence] became president." John Oliver summarized the vice president's narrow, evangelical vision for the U.S. – including his opposition to abortion and gay rights – on Sunday's Last Week Tonight.
The comedian opened by reminding viewers that, unlike many other fired members of the Trump administration, our vice president is here for the long haul. "While in many ways, Pence is like any Trump employee – ethically compromised, creeped the fuck out by Jared and subjected to all sorts of unwanted physical contact – Pence is constitutionally the only official in the White House that Trump can't fire," he said. "And that is worrisome because he is synonymous with some extreme positions."
Oliver surveyed Pence's history of "ludicrous" opinions throughout the years, moving from his time in the mid-to-late Nineties as a conservative radio host to representing Indiana as a member of Congress and the House of Representatives. Pence has frequently denied supporting conversion therapy, the practice of attempting to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. But the vice president is well connected to Focus on the Family, an organization that has promoted the "therapy" over the years.
In 2017, Pence spoke at a Focus on the Family event and referred to the organization's founder, James Dobson, as a personal "mentor."
"Saying you don't support conversion therapy and then calling Dobson your 'mentor' is like saying you're a staunch vegetarian and a law-abiding citizen – and by the way, please meet my lifelong friend and mentor the Hamburgler," Oliver cracked.
The Last Week Tonight host was willing to give Pence one small compliment: He really likes the vice president's rabbit, Marlon Bundo. "It kills me to say this, but [that's] objectively a good name for a bunny," he said, smiling at posed Instagram photos of the bunny.
"Marlon Bundo is the most likable thing about an otherwise unlikable man – like how George W. Bush is a perfectly fine painter or how Bill Cosby raised Americans' awareness of pudding or how Roger Ailes is dead," he said.
Bundo even has his own children's book, A Day in the Life of the Vice President, out today. But Last Week Tonight, in classic irreverent style, beat the rabbit to the punch with a more progressive, bunny-themed children's book: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo. In this Bundo title, the protagonist is gay and falls in love with another bunny.
Last Week Tonight is donating all sales of the book to the Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth, and AIDS United, which works to end the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. An audiobook, available at Audible, features voice acting from Jim Parsons, Jessie Tyler Ferguson, Jeff Garlin, Ellie Kemper, John Lithgow, Jack McBrayer and RuPaul.
The book is available at two hilariously titled URLs, Focus on the Furmily and Better Bundo Book. An e-book version is available for free by donating $11.99 or more directly to the Trevor Project or Aids United.