If he doesn’t get elected this year, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson maybe should make a career move to TV comedy.
In case you haven’t noticed, Johnson is everywhere these days, on television, on the web and in the newspapers. With political tumult surrounding the major party candidates, Johnson – the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee, on the ballot in all 50 states – is getting all kinds of attention from news organizations, both real and fake. Some polls show him as the choice of 10 percent of the potential voters and, if gets that up to 15 percent, Johnson would be on the debate stage with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Comedian Samantha Bee, like HBO’s John Oliver, a graduate of the Jon Stewart academy of fake news anchors, had Johnson on her TBS show “Full Frontal” on Monday.
Bee started her piece on Johnson by saying, “Let’s say you were choosing a sandwich. What do you do when your only choices are something morally reprehensible, against the rule of law and decency, and a symbol for all that’s wrong in America, and something you – I don’t know, you don’t really know why, you just never cared for?
“You might be wondering if there’s anything else on the menu. Well, guess what, there is. It’s not FDA-inspected, but I took a bite anyway.”
Johnson, who emerged into New Mexico politics with bizarre gubernatorial campaign commercials back in the 1990s featuring himself with a scary deer-in-the-headlights look, these days seems to have the television thing figured out. He’s been acing his interviews on the news channels and, on Monday’s show, dived all the way into Bee’s faux-news aesthetic. He even dropped an F-bomb, a practice which seems to be de rigeur for the hosts of fake news shows.
“His mind is as free as his markets,” Bee pronounced at one point, leading into Johnson, an avowed pot user who supports legalization of marijuana, saying that his last job was as CEO of Cannibas Sativa Inc., a marijuana company.
“But I am making a pledge that I would not be consuming marijuana as president of the United States,” Johnson said, adding, “I am actually a really disciplined cat.”
Bee enjoys the feline reference. “Pantherlike?” she asks.
“Oooh,” Johnson says, “may I share one of my high school nicknames with you?”
The nickname is “Jaguar – Jaguar Johnson.” That prompts an on-screen graphic showing Johnson as a jaguar with a human head, with claw marks across the image and the title “(Expletive) JAGUAR, DUDE!”
When Johnson says the economic model of the future is “Uber everything – Uber accountant, Uber lawyer, Uber doctor,” Bee quips, “I can’t wait to pay surge pricing mid-colonoscopy.”
Bee and Johnson end up rock-climbing, which is what Johnson says he’d be doing if he wasn’t campaigning. A distraught Bee hangs high on a climbing wall while Johnson expounds, “Isn’t it exciting? I mean, it’s just so in the moment.” Then he plants a kiss on Bee’s cheek.
Johnson gets the final punch line when Bee asks about what kind of people attend the Libertarian Party’s national convention.
“You’re going to find really wonderful, well-meaning, well-spoken people,” he told Bee, “and then people that are just bat-(expletive) crazy.”