The Late Show host Stephen Colbert delighted Wednesday night as his guest, actor John Lithgow, read aloud some anti-Trump poetry from his upcoming book Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse. The book features a collection of “doggerel, satirical poems” written by Lithgow that serve as a “kind of chronicle of the last crazy two years.”
Colbert began the conversation about the book by holding up a picture of the cover, which features a very unflattering illustration of President Trump drawn by Lithgow. Colbert described the illustration as “very good.”
After Lithgow announced that he had finished all of the poems in the book, Colbert called him “maestro” and asked him “would you be willing to share any of your doggerel poetry with us?” Lithgow happily obliged the Late Show host’s request. Before he began reading, Lithgow explained that “Dumpty” was his nickname for President Trump.
The poetry definitely buys into the conspiracy theory that Attorney General Bill Barr has worked to cover up the actual contents of the Mueller report and misrepresent it as more favorable to President Trump than it actually is:
The report was at hand and Dumpty was manic;
awash in a flood of distemper and panic;
At lush Mar-a-Lago, his Florida lair;
He braced for Bob Mueller, his ruthless Javert;
His heart skipped a beat when from distant DC;
Came a call from Bill Barr, his conniving AG;
Dumpty lurched from his bed with a ponderous groan;
and with trembling fingers, he picked up the phone.
“Good News!” Barr exclaimed. We’re home free, it’s a wash;
The report's a big nothing that’s easy to quash;
Thus began Barr's campaign to covertly impede it;
Since he, only he, was entitled to read it;
In fact, he just gave it a cursory glance;
but that hadn’t thwarted his victory dance;
Nor forestalled his appalling misrepresentation;
proclaiming the POTUS’s exoneration.
Not surprisingly, Lithgow’s anti-Trump poetry caused Colbert and his audience to erupt into applause. At this time, the segment with Lithgow came to an end but the Colbert Book Club continued after the break as the Late Show host read aloud some erotic fiction written by failed Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams under a pseudonym. Colbert’s admiration for perverted literature should not come as that much of a surprise since he once referred to President Trump as a cannibal who “eats human flesh.”
A transcript of the relevant portion of Wednesday’s edition of The Late Show is below. Click “expand” to read more.
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
STEPHEN COLBERT: But you’re also an author. No, you’re a musician. An author. You’ve got a, a new book coming out. This is an illustration on the front. It’s called Dumpty and you…
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
COLBERT: You’re also…
JOHN LITHGOW: And that’s, that’s my illustration.
COLBERT: That’s…you, you, you painted this cover illustration right there…
LITHGOW: I painted the cover…
COLBERT: …that’s very good.
COLBERT: And it’s, it’s “An Age of Trump in Verse.” You’re also a poet, which…
LITHGOW: …Well, I’m a doggerel poet. I’m a sort of reckless rhymester.
LITHGOW: But yes, I…it comes out in the fall. It comes out end of October. But my deadline to finish all the poems was yesterday. And I by God, I did it.
COLBERT: So you’re done?
COLBERT: Do you…
COLBERT: Well, maestro, I know you don’t have the text with you right now, but would you, would you be willing to share any of, any of your doggerel poetry with us?
LITHGOW: In a word, yes. It’s…the poems are a kind of chronicle of the last crazy two years, very much the way you chronicle this political moment yourself. They’re comic doggerel, satirical poems. And I tried over the last couple years…
COLBERT: There you go. That’s a pro. You call that a pro right there.
LITHGOW: Well, he told me to bring it, so I brought it. I tried, ever…for about the last eight months, to respond in, in real time, as much as I could, to what was going on. So this is the first two stanzas. The first two of five stanzas of the last poem of the book. And it’s based on the events of the last ten days.
COLBERT: Ladies and gentlemen, John Lithgow in a dramatic reading from Dumpty.
LITHGOW: Dumpty by the way is, is my name for our President, as in, as in Trumpty Dumpty, but that’s another poem. It’s called…it’s called “Afterward.” The report was at hand and Dumpty was manic; awash in a flood of distemper and panic; at lush Mar-a-Lago, his Florida lair; he braced for Bob Mueller, his ruthless Javert; his heart skipped a beat when from distant DC; came a call from Bill Barr, his conniving AG; Dumpty lurched from his bed with a ponderous groan; and with trembling fingers, he picked up the phone. “Good News!” Barr exclaimed, we’re home free, it’s a wash; the report’s a big nothing that’s easy to quash; thus began Barr’s campaign to covertly impede it; since he, only he, was entitled to read it; in fact, he just gave it a cursory glance; but that hadn’t thwarted his victory dance; nor forestalled his appalling misrepresentation; proclaiming the POTUS’s exoneration.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)