Tom Hanks kicked off his hosting gig on Stand for Rights: A Benefit For The ACLU livestream saying ‘Look at me on the internet, a butt kicking fall to obscurity from my former lofty heights.”
“Normally telethons are done on television,” Hanks said. “Why is this not on TV? Because no one wanted us? Turner Classic Movies? Speed Channel?”
Tracy Morgan stole the show very early, telling Hanks, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
“That’s the wrong telethon,” Hanks said, when he’d recovered from his surprise.
“So why won’t he paint me?” Morgan complained.
Hanks told him that W is painting people who served in the armed services, snarkily asking from which military branch Morgan had retired. “I didn’t know that, Capt. Phillips,” Morgan snarked right back at him.
Asked how the chatting was going, Morgan informed Hanks, “somebody just said, I’m ugly,” adding, “I’ll just type back ‘your mother’.”
Alec Baldwin walked behind them holding a sign that read “Send Money.”
Speaking of signs, Colin Jost gave a quick tutorial on the fine art of protest poster making, assuming there would be loads of relevant occasions during the “one to four years left in [Donald Trump’s] term.” Among Jost’s pointers:
• Subtlety is not your friend
• No one is going to read your novel about Obamacare
• Use all the space you have on the sign
• ‘White Nationalism’ is too long to fit on most signs
• Use waterproof ink because it might rain and then Steve Bannon can’t read it and “how will he know Muslims can be kind of human.”
Baldwin returned to discuss efforts by some politicians at local and national levels to take away people’s right to free speech and to vote. “That’s what people in power do if they go unchecked,” Baldwin warned. “Backstage Tom Hanks is drinking bottled water while the rest of us have to slurp from a hose; he is so mean. How do you combat such abuse of authority? With Tom you can’t, he’s turned his Oscars into nunchucks.”
Baldwin acknowledged that not everyone should vote. Children, for instance, “unless it’s Boss Baby, opening today nationwide.” If babies were given the right to vote, he warned, our presidents would be silly over-the-top cartoon characters.”
The ACLU having been the first national organization to call for the impeachment of Richard Nixon in the 70’s, Steve Buscemi asked Edward Snowden’s ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner his thoughts about doing same for Trump.
“We’re not here to make ACLU policy on this question,” Wizner said carefully. But, he added, “My opinion is, impeachment’s power is more political than legal.” It requires the president’s popularity to fall so low that people in the government see that person as more of a liability than asset, he advised.
Wizner also did not want to see Twitter block President Trump, he said when asked. The public learns a lot about Trump from his tweets, which we would not learn if all we heard from him were words written by his professional handlers. One of the lessons of free speech, Wizner explained is that it flushes offensive speech out into the open.