What: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, an alternate version of the Pence family children’s book, Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President.
Who: John Oliver, the Last Week Tonight writing team, and celebrities like RuPaul, Jim Parsons, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and John Lithgow.
Why we care: One of the best things about Last Week Tonight is that the show doesn’t just make a point; it makes a difference. John Oliver and his staff often point viewers toward a problem and use participatory stunts to urge them toward an action, like fighting for net neutrality. Sunday night’s episode continued that tradition. It presented a problem, Vice President’s Mike Pence’s awful, homophobic politics, and pointed viewers toward spectacular action.
After 14 minutes of railing against everything from Pence’s signing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people on religious grounds, and his opposition to allowing gays in the military, Oliver segues to the one thing most people actually like about the guy: his family’s pet rabbit. Marlon Bundo, which as Oliver notes, is “an objectively good name for a rabbit,” is the star of the new book Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President, written by Pence’s daughter, Charlotte, and illustrated by his wife, Karen. In typical Pence family fashion, though, the tour for the book will include a stop at Focus on the Family, the Christian conservative organization that advocates for gay conversion therapy. (Pence is pals with the founder.)
“It turns out, in a complete coincidence,” Oliver announced after revealing that particular detail, “we also wrote a book about Mike Pence’s rabbit that is also being published. In fact, while his is out tomorrow, ours is being released right now.” The major difference is that A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo is about a gay rabbit, proceeds from its sales go to benefit LGBT crisis hotline The Trevor Project, and the audiobook version from Audible features celebrities like RuPaul, Jim Parsons, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. It’s a trolling similar to Colbert writer Daniel Kibblesmith’s children’s book about a black gay Santa, but on a higher level. The message is clearly already resonating: While the Pence family book is #15 on Amazon right now, the Last Week Tonight version is #1.