“One of the reasons I was looking forward to talking with you is that I think you’re OK with discomfort,” Stephen Colbert told his guest, Rose McGowan, Wednesday night. “You’re comfortable with discomfort,” he said, adding, “I like awkwardness.”
He had no idea how awkward things were going to get.
McGowan has been making the talk-show rounds this week just as her docuseries Citizen Rose premieres on E! and her new memoir Brave arrives in stores. But her refusal to play by the Hollywood rules makes her an unconventional guest, to say the least.
The self-described “architect” of Harvey Weinstein’s downfall delivered a stream-of-consciousness performance of sorts on The Late Show that kept Colbert on his toes. She went from talking about sitting with a “horrible man” from Fox News at one of Obama’s White House Correspondents’ Dinners to loving the Todd Solondz movie Happiness to the Canadian health-care system without so much as a transition.
At one point, the host struggled to follow a story about McGowan getting busted on a questionable drug charge. “Yes, I’ve had handcuffs on me but no one else in this situation [has], isn’t that grand?” she asked.
When Colbert asked her about the “cult” her father led when she was a child, McGowan said, “So he thought that was a better alternative to the crap shithole world we’re living in and he might have been right. It just went wrong for a little bit.” That led to Colbert schooling her on his “cult,” the Catholic Church.
“Here’s the thing about you,” Colbert said, trying to get the interview back on track. “Six months ago, before you and other people had the courage and the bravery to come out and talk about Harvey Weinstein, if six months ago, you had said, ‘Listen, man, I was being surveilled by Mossad agents in the pay of Harvey Weinstein,’ we would have gone that’s cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. But now we know that’s what happened. Did you ever think that you were crazy for thinking that?”
“No,” McGowan replied, insisting that she never doubted her version of reality, as hard as Weinstein and his team was working to make her question her own sanity. But then, she changed the subject yet again.
“I just got back from India and everyone’s so colorful,” McGowan said, her words speeding up. “And I came here and saw all these khaki pants and T. Rex things, and I said what is going on? I think we can do better as a society. I think we can be looser, 10 percent have more fun, be better, see more colors, run! Like, what are we doing? It’s not working out so well here, am I wrong? Or like there’s a bus on fire and a madman in a blindfold and everybody is still talking about it as if it’s nice. It’s not nice. It’s fucking weird, right? Whoa! What! Shake it up! Otherwise we’re all maybe going to die sooner than we think. And that’s what I think.”
“Here’s the strangest thing,” Colbert replied when she was done. “There’s nothing about what you just said that’s wrong.”
“But they’ll make me seem crazy for saying it,” McGowan said. “It’s called gaslighting and it’s been going on to men and women in society, all of us, since the dawn of time.”
Harvey Weinstein specifically tried very hard for a very long time to make McGowan feel like she was crazy. And she’s not going to take it anymore.