The return of The President Show’s Anthony Atamanuik in his first real shot at Donald Trump since last December’s Christmas special would have been an event in itself. But something tells us a lot of viewers tuned in just to see how comedian Kathy Griffin would handle her turn as Kellyanne Conway on Tuesday night’s Make America Great-A-Thon special.
“Speaking of low-quality people, I’m so pleased to bring out a very special guest,” the president said about 15 minutes into the hour. “She’s the cockroach of my administration. Please welcome the lone survivor of the Bowling Green Massacre, Kellyanne Conway!”
Wearing a version of the patriotic getup Conway wore to Trump’s inauguration, complete with frazzled blond wig and comically caked-on makeup, Griffin’s Conway looked the part. She was probably never going to top Kate McKinnon’s terrifying Saturday Night Live portrayal, but she was able to capture some of the White House adviser’s relentless ability to spin on command.
“Wow, Kellyanne, you are just an assault on the senses,” Atamanuik’s Trump told her when the applause died down. “What have you been up to?”
“Just drinking blood to stay young,” Conway replied. “I just want to say, Mr. Trump, in my capacity as a private citizen, I love the Ivanka Trump line of shoes and bags. They’re perfect for a woman who is a government employee but is not on the clock. Kinda like me!”
Asked by Trump to defend some of the “worst people in history,” she managed to accuse the media of being “anti-Semitic” against Bernie Madoff for using the term “pyramid scheme” and called O.J. Simpson nothing more than “a hand-glove model and a real lady killer.”
“I could do this in my sleep if I slept!” she declared.
Griffin’s appearance marked a triumphant comeback of sorts after her career nearly came to a halt last spring following an overblown backlash to a photoshoot she did in which was holding up a bloodied fake severed head made to look like President Trump. The visual gag was apparently taken as a threat by the Secret Service, who questioned her over the incident after Trump himself condemned her actions on Twitter.
“I think that the controversy surrounding a comedic choice that she made pales in comparison to the grotesque things that our president does on a daily basis in public,” Atamanuik told The Daily Beast last week of Griffin, whom he referred to as a “comedic genius.” “And for some reason he is still plastered across all of cable news and major newspapers.”
Speaking out about the ordeal Tuesday morning on The Howard Stern Show, Griffin revealed that she received some unwanted support from Billy Bush after she was dropped by CNN for her annual New Year’s Eve gig with Anderson Cooper.
“I didn’t want to be put in the same basket as Billy Bush,” Griffin told Stern. “You know what I mean? When people would say, ‘Oh, you’ll bounce back.’ And I’m like, I never encouraged a future president to grab someone by the pussy and said ‘score one for the Donald.’”
Later in the special, Vice President Mike Pence (as played by the show’s executive producer, Peter Grosz) tried to get Griffin’s Conway to spin for him, but she wasn’t having it.
“You vacationing power-bottom, you look like the white turd in a sick kitty’s litter box,” she told him. “You think you can play in the big-boy yard with me? You’re a child! I’ve smoked menthols with more personality than you. You’re a crumpled up bodega bag full of self-loathing mayonnaise. Oh, I’m sorry. Have I made you uncomfortable being a woman who’s not your wife?” She added, “You are not welcome and you better stay the fuck out, Mike Pence.”
Before the night was over, Conway was begging Trump—as a “recovering attorney”—not to speak with Robert Mueller. What followed was an extended black-and-white fever dream in which Trump came face to face with the special counsel, played with deadpan severity by Griffin Dunne, who forced Trump to admit to all of his many lies.
“How did this happen?” Trump whined as the walls closed in around him at the end of the hour. “I’ve surrounded myself with idiots and criminals. No one understands my struggle!” From there, he transitioned into screaming in German in the style of the “Hitler reacts” video meme as subtitles appeared along the bottom of the screen.
Griffin’s Conway ended the show with one last piece of spin about Trump going undercover with the FBI. “In the words of Sinclair Media Group, ‘This is extremely dangerous to our democracy, this is extremely dangerous for our democracy, this is extremely dangerous for our democracy,” she repeated as the credits rolled.