John Oliver filmed yet another absurd clip for Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight — but rather than focusing on contemporary politics, it dug into America’s political past.
“With all the horrors of our current president,” Oliver explains, “it can sometimes help to get some historical perspective, to look at all the people who preceded him.”
Enter the closure of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania’s Hall of Presidents and First Ladies wax museum in late 2016. When the museum auctioned off its figures, some famous buyers claimed them — Rachel Maddow purchased Dwight Eisenhower, Stephen Colbert got Zachary Taylor — but Oliver and Last Week Tonight went all out, obtaining five wax statues to build “The Last Week Tonight Hall of Dubiously Lifelike Wax Commanders-in-Chief.”
But that’s all prelude to the most outrageous part of the segment. Oliver noted what a “shame” it was that Hollywood had never made a biopic about Warren G. Harding — one of the figures LWT had purchased. “The problem is, who would do it?” Oliver mused. “It would have to be someone with way too much time on their hands, way too many resources, and unfettered access to a life-sized wax replica of former president Warren G. Harding.”
Naturally, Oliver and his ambitious team carried the idea to fruition, recruiting Anna Kendrick, Laura Linney, James Cromwell, Michael McKean, and Campbell Scott to fill out the imagined film’s fictional cast. The hilarious product is something like Lincoln meets Weekend at Bernie’s — and Kendrick can now add “bedroom scene with a wax replica of Warren G. Harding” to her résumé.
Last Week Tonight returns to HBO on July 30. See the show’s clip about Harding above.