Friday, July 19th, 2019

President Trump, the Bravo channel is calling

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The other night I was watching Watch What Happens Live, the Andy Cohen talk show on Bravo when Donald Trump interrupted. Look, I can’t read Shakespeare and Homer all of the time, and the remote control was across the room. And it’s my wife’s fault I was watching.  Really.

Cohen’s guests were Caroline Manzo, a former Housewife of New Jersey and now star of her own “reality” television series, and Ricki Lake, host of the eponymous 1990s daytime talk show that featured the dysfunctional in our society. The show was going along with its usual focus on the other “Real Housewives” pseudo-dramas and Andy Cohen’s silliness until he started taking calls from viewers.

After the usual fawning, one of the callers asked Manzo and Lake what they thought of Donald Trump. Manzo looked genuinely confused how she should answer, only saying, “He is interesting!” Lake announced she was “Team Rosie all the way,” and criticized Trump for attacking Rosie O’Donnell. As if the Trump candidacy is an ongoing plot in a Real Housewives series, Manzo added there must be something behind the scenes fueling the feud between O’Donnell and Trump. Lake added the O’Donnell gives a lot to charity, something she read on the Huffington Post. Fortunately there was no time for rebuttal from the caller.

Judging from Trump’s Twitter feed, word of Lake’s “Team Rosie” declaration must not have reached our mercurial celebrity presidential candidate yet.  There were no comments about Lake’s temper or blood loss. Manzo, too, was spared the Wrath of Trump, at least temporarily. Such is the world Trump inhabits that we actually have to check these things.

Why not ask Lake what she thinks of “the Donald?” When her audiences were chanting, “Go Ricki,” President Bill Clinton was playing the saxophone on the Arsenio Hall show. That was in the post “boxers or briefs” era (turned out it was neither with the right intern), and his presidency gave birth to George Magazine, the fusion of politics and celebrity culture.

Now we’ve come full circle and the leading candidate for Republican nomination has as his main qualifications his wealth and his celebrity. Maybe we should complete the circle by having former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton debate Donald Trump on Watch What Happens Live.

Who wouldn’t want to hear Cohen announce, “Hey everybody, since it is Hillary’s and Donald’s first visit to our show, it’s time to play our favorite game, Plead the Fifth. Hillary, I’m sure I don’t have to explain the rules to you?”

After Clinton breaks the rules by pleading the fifth to all of the questions asked instead of just one, Trump can inhale some helium and play, “Trump hair or Trump pet?”  It’ll be great fun and completely keeping with the current dignity of the office of President.

When Trump is elected President, perhaps the Bravo network will find a place in its primetime network lineup for Trump and his family. The network could bring back “The Real Housewives of Washington D.C.” with Trump’s second, sorry, third wife Melania Knauss as a regular cast member.  I lose track of these temporary celebrity marriages since my wife let her People Magazine subscription expire.

Trump might even break tradition and come up with his own “Housewives” tagline, even though he has “husband” status. “I’m rich, I’m powerful, and you’re fired.”

Instead of summit meetings with foreign leaders or speeches at the United Nations, Trump could appear on Watch What Happens Live, too, with Vladimir Putin. Raul Castro could be the guest bartender along with former Celebrity Apprentice contestant Nene Leaks.

Trump, Putin and Cohen could settle the whole Ukraine question over a couple of vodka shotskis before the first commercial break.

“Wow, that’s great Mr. President,” Cohen would say. “Vladimir, do you think you could take your shirt off for our audience?”

America will finally have the celebrity president we so desperately want. Are you not entertained?

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