So it turns out our president has always had a temper. While doing rounds for Conan, his new, half-hour-long program, Conan O’Brien has been looking back on his long career as a late night host and top shelf Simpsons writer (or sometimes simply getting delightfully dark). And lo and behold, he has a decent Donald Trump story that involves a) him storming off an old episode of Late Night with Conan O’Brien and b) a condom.
The incident happened all the way back in 1997, when the 45th president was a sprightlier, slightly more articulate 50. O’Brien reflected on the incident in a new Rolling Stone interview. It was, in fact, the first time he had the repeatedly bankrupt billionaire-turned-reality TV show host on any of his programs. The way it played out, he assumed it would be the last.
“I asked him a question that I’d always wanted to ask someone who proclaimed to be a billionaire: ‘How much money do you have on you right now?’” O’Brien recalled. Clearly uncomfortable, the Home Alone 2 alum tried to change the subject, muttering, “I don’t know, I maybe have some.” But O’Brien persisted.
Then he stuck his hand in his pocket and he clearly found something. I saw his face change, and I could see that he didn’t want me to know what it was. So I reached over and I was like, “Come on, come on.” I made him pull it out — and it was a condom. He said, “Practice safe sex everybody.” He was in-between marriages at the time.
Trump chuckles throughout the bit, trying to play along. Once they cut to commercial, though, his mood changed.
He was pissed. He was really mad. I went to commercial. He stood up. I don’t think he said goodbye to me, and he walked over to my producer and said, “That’s the last time I’m gonna be on this fucking show. He humiliated me in front of everybody.” He stormed out. Cut to me seven more times [over the years]: “Ladies and gentlemen, Donald Trump!” He got over it, clearly.
He sure did. Trump was on Late Night with Conan O’Brien 12 more times, sometimes as a guest, sometimes just to do bits. He was also on O’Brien’s short-lived version of The Tonight Show twice. For whatever little it’s worth, Trump didn’t make a second Late Show appearance until 2004, seven years after skedaddling — rather unprofessionally, it should be noted — in the middle of an episode.
Despite that, O’Brien clearly never forgot the incident, or what it said about the man John Mulaney would later famously compare to a “horse loose in a hospital.”
“I read a piece recently, maybe in The Onion, about how Trump is allergic to humor,” he said. “To really have a sense of humor, you have to be able to laugh at yourself. You have to be able to see the human condition as absurd.” O’Brien compared him to other presidents who could take a joke, like John F. Kennedy or Abraham Lincoln or one of his nemeses, Barack Obama. He says they, unlike Trump, knew the value of and strength in self-deprecation.
“I think all of that is anathema to Trump,” O’Brien reflected. “Trump’s superpower is constantly believing in the infallibility of Trump. Humility is a weakness to him.”
(Via Rolling Stone)