The most recent episode of “Last Week Tonight” took an unfair shot at Charlotte Pence, daughter of the vice president. Comedian John Oliver filled his “main story” segment reviewing the veep’s long-term anti-LGBT views, not exactly new information for anyone familiar with Mike Pence and the Trump administration. By revisiting some clips of Pence either firmly stating his beliefs or avoiding interview questions, Oliver used his go-to “Shocked British Man” reactions to elicit a strong viewer response.
Toward the end of the 15-minute segment, Oliver reveals his one soft spot for Pence, the fact that the family has a pet bunny named “Marlon Bundo.” In fact, the Pence family was set to release a children’s book about their beloved pet called, “A Day in the Life of the Vice President.” By use of omission, the comedian implies this just-villainized version of Mike Pence may have penned the bunny book himself.
Fans of “Last Week Tonight” have come to expect Oliver to go beyond telling jokes in a studio once a week. He is known to interact with his antagonists off screen, including a former FIFA president, the U.S. government, and several global heads of state, all for the sake of jokes for the show. The televised accounts of these scrimmages always portray Oliver as the savvy, smart, worldly (albeit arrogant) voice of reason.
This episode was no exception. After the summary of Marlon Bundo’s literary debut, Oliver reveals that he, too has written a book about Marlon. His version is called “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo,” and is an actual children’s book that was available for purchase a day ahead of the Pence book.
Oliver’s version, written and illustrated by staff of the show, is about a gay bunny who is interested in marrying his bunny boyfriend, despite his “Grampa Pence’s” many objections. In addition to the book, there is an audio version narrated by celebrity voices, including John Lithgow, RuPaul, Jim Parsons, and several others. This book has outsold the original, non-political book by an overwhelming margin, even selling out of physical copies within the first two days. All proceeds go to The Trevor Project and AIDS United.
The problem is that Mike Pence did not write this book. His 25 year-old daughter, Charlotte did. His wife, Karen did the illustration. Oh, and also conveniently omitted from the segment that all of Charlotte’s proceeds will be donated to charities that fight human trafficking and support art therapy. If the audience had been given this information, would they still have stormed Amazon in an antagonizing attempt to bury Charlotte’s book before it had a chance to succeed? Maybe, but at least they would have known who their real target was.
Charlotte Pence did not write a political book, just a children’s book about her bunny and her dad, the vice president. The innocence of the book was completely dissolved by an HBO show looking to mobilize an angry mob, creating dissention where it did not need to exist.
In a Fox Business segment on Tuesday morning, Charlotte Pence was asked about her thoughts on Oliver’s book, and the second daughter responded with nothing short of poise: “Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery in a way, but also … his book is contributing to charities that I think we can all get behind.”