There were plenty of dispiriting aspects to come out of the quick fall of Roseanne Barr — the most obvious of which was her racist remark — but the most obnoxious ancillary effect had to do with the re-emergence of Barr’s former husband (and national embarrassment) Tom Arnold.
I thought we’d heard the last of Arnold after he left the wishfully named “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” many, many aeons ago. But no, Barr’s rebarbative remarks have thrust him back into the spotlight for reasons unbeknownst to God or man.
As long as he was opining on his former wife, however, I suppose there was sort of an excuse for him to be on TV, however slight the validity for it may have been. However, when he started telling America he was teaming up with Michael Cohen to “take down” Donald Trump, that’s probably when any responsible journalist should have referred him to California authorities under Section 5150.
The whole weirdness began when 1991’s version of Kevin Federline tweeted a photo of himself and Cohen with the caption “I Love New York.” That might have been ever slightly odd if it were anyone but Arnold, for whom this was actually quite anodyne, at least in a relative sense. It also got a retweet from Mr. Cohen.
I love New York pic.twitter.com/J7AJg1HiHo
— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) June 22, 2018
Things, alas, did not remain on that plateau of semi-rationality for long. NBC News asked Cohen about the photograph, which was apparently taken in the lobby of the Loews Regency Hotel in Manhattan. Cohen referred any questions about the circumstances surrounding it to Arnold, which was a big mistake.
On Friday, Arnold told NBC the meeting was part of a show he was working on with Vice in which he was going to track down incriminating videos of President Trump. “It’s on!” Arnold said. “I hope he (Trump) sees the picture of me and Michael Cohen and it haunts his dreams.”
“This dude has all the tapes — this dude has everything,” Arnold added, referring to Cohen. “I say to Michael, ‘Guess what? We’re taking Trump down together,’ and he’s so tired he’s like, ‘OK,’ and his wife is like, ‘OK, f*** Trump.’”
Alger Hiss was taken down by Whittaker Chambers. Richard Nixon was undone by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. And Donald Trump is going to be felled by … the dude best known for the bathroom scene in the first “Austin Powers” movie. As that old ditty from “Sesame Street” goes, one of these things is not like the others.
You may not be surprised to learn that Cohen wasn’t exactly on the same page as Mr. Arnold when it came to “taking down Trump together.”
“Appreciate (Tom Arnold’s) kind words about me as a great father, husband and friend. This was a chance, public encounter in the hotel lobby where he asked for a selfie. Not spending the weekend together, did not discuss being on his show nor did we discuss (President Trump),” Cohen tweeted, adding, “#done #ridiculous”
There’s a little part of me that wishes he had added “#basta,” too, but other than that it was pretty much the perfect riposte.
I’m not quite sure in what universe Michael Cohen would work with Arnold, who isn’t just a Trump critic but arguably the least-visible Trump critic who can still reasonably call himself a Hollywood star. Kathy Griffin’s show was called “My Life on the D-List.” If Arnold were to launch his own version, I don’t know if “Z-List” could properly describe his place in the Hollywood pantheon; he might have to dip into the Greek alphabet. My point is, if Michael Cohen was going to become a turncoat on national TV, he would probably at least have the sense to hold out for Cyndi Lauper.
As for Arnold’s new show, for those of you who are curious, it’s apparently called “The Hunt for the Trump Tapes.”
“The host will draw on his high-profile network of celebrity friends, entertainment executives, and crew members he’s met over more than 35 years in showbiz to dig for evidence on Trump’s most incriminating moments — and, being a comedian and all, he’ll have a little fun along the way,” Vice said when they announced the show back in May.
“He’ll be backed up by a handful of experienced journalists, and — aside from trying to uncover the tapes themselves — he’ll look into the companies and tycoons who have allegedly fought to keep the damning recordings a secret.”
It’s good that he’ll be “backed up by a handful of experienced journalists,” since he’s not even particularly adept at his chosen profession of acting. I do wonder, however, how giggly the copywriter was as they typed out the words “his high-profile network of celebrity friends, entertainment executives, and crew members.”
Good luck with the show, Tom. I’m pretty sure you have roughly as much chance of staying on the fall television schedule as your ex-wife does.
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