tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg January 17, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm EST
♪ announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: we begin this evening with a look at president-elect donald trump's plans for health care administration. in an interview this weekend with "the washington post," he said he was almost done with his plan to end the affordable care act. they held votes on repealing the law. in the interview, trump said his plan's goal was to provide insurance for everybody and vowed to have drug companies negotiate directly on medicare and prices. bob costa is a "washington post" political reporter. welcome, bob. tell us how this interview came about.
bob: in the usual way, requested an interview -- especially after i was at the capital covering congress, and anxiety, a lot of especially among republicans in the senate and the house, and the party just did not have a plan, and i was very curious whether president-elect trump, just days before this, was watching the conversation, and he is. charlie: what did you learn from that and from watching the debate? bob: it was something reflective of a trait i found through the campaign following trump. he is not driven by ideological passions. he has a political antenna up in the air. he knows the democrats are making the case that the 20 million people covered under obamacare could lose their insurance if it is repealed and replaced, and trump knows that politically -- not just on policy, but politically -- republicans have to have an answer for that, and he did say he has been watching what has been happening, with the failure
of consensus among the republicans, and he says he has a plan. now, he did not go into detail, which is important to note, but he did say he is down to the "final strokes," and he also added a curveball, charlie. he says he wants to go after the pharmaceutical companies on pricing. so you see in trump's thinking, he is working with ryan and the house and mcconnell in the senate, and he also has his own trump touch. charlie: and the touch there is to get pharmaceutical companies to reduce the prices for drugs that they sell to the government for medicare and medicaid, i assume. bob: particularly medicare. this is one of the most protective industries in washington, pretty cozy with the republican party, and trump said to me that they are not protected anymore, and he will -- should expect to negotiate directly with the government and he will try to encourage men -- them, if not force them in certain ways to produce drugs in the united states. charlie: he is not afraid to use
the bully post of the president and his own twitter account to threaten or to push large, american corporations to do what he thinks they ought to do. bob: not at all, but i was struck that he tried to balance, in the course of the conversation, his high praise for ryan and mcconnell, kept coming back to how much he liked ryan and mcconnell -- people he has not always had warm relationships with, especially ryan, and he would be willing as a president to encourage republicans in various ways and use the power of the presidency, so he is threatening them in a way while also embracing them at the same time. charlie: what does he mean by "insurance for everybody?" bob: a lot of people perked up their ears, wondering if he is endorsing a single-payer system.
trump repeatedly said throughout the interview that he does not want single-payer, which is the more progressive health care model. but he does want universal access to health care. how he does it is complicated, how you manage costs, and how you provide coverage to most americans, if not all americans, and that is a very difficult task. we have seen it under obamacare. but trump, as a politician, wants to have an answer for the 20 million who are currently covered. charlie: does he have numbers that will add up that will allow him to do this? bob: he does not have any numbers. -- we have not seen any numbers. he continues to negotiate with congress and has his own ideas in mind. trump trying to set the stakes of the debate -- trying to set a marker down that he will provide this kind of universal access or have an ability to have coverage for everyone, but no details yet. charlie: when will the details come out? bob: he said it will be right after tom price, his nominee for secretary for health and human services, is confirmed. charlie: some are talking about the difference between universal "access" as opposed to universal "coverage."
bob: what we saw in the comments from many republicans after the interview was posted that that is what they hope trump meant, not necessarily universal coverage. but trump is torn, in a way, and this came through in our conversation, between the need to have everyone covered, and he knows republicans on capitol hill aren't willing to have government expansion to try to fulfill that goal, but trump said throughout the campaign, and he referenced the "60 minutes" interview in our chat, "no one is going to die on the streets in my administration." that is a way, a cadence of speaking on health care, a language republicans usually do not have that makes him so different and that is why , capitol hill has reacted so strongly to this interview. they are wondering what he is up to, is he pushing us in a direction we are not normally comfortable with? charlie: so, you cover the congress what is the mood about , donald trump so far? bob: they like his salesmanship.
when they heard he had a replacement nearly done, working with ryan and others, they were really happy sunday and monday. at the same time, as much as he has the bully pulpit and the to sell his plan or his ideas to republicans, democrats or independents -- they want to make sure that their positions as stakeholders, as conservatives mostly, who have been elected with congressional majorities, they have a debate, but they are also wary of angering him or alienating him. privately,real fear among most republicans that you , just cannot cross this president-elect or you put yourself at political risk. charlie: we know that as ronald reagan was president, he had a way of going over the head and appeal to their constituencies, so donald trump is seeming to do the same thing. bob: he is. he told me, charlie, the congress, they had better not get cold feet, because the people won't tolerate it. the people.
and this comes back to a theme trump has articulated more and more since he won in november, he thinks there is a movement behind him. a movement defined as you want it, not necessarily a republican group, who are supportive of whatever donald trump's idea of speaksis and the way he about politics whether he has , the backing of 20 million people on twitter -- he thinks he can activate that. again, he is not as active as many president-elect have been in the polls, and there are real concerns about him, so that will be a test on day one, how much of this so-called movement that trump always talks about is going to push his agenda. charlie: he is also doing another -- a lot of the other things. we are here to talk about health care because of the attention it has in the congress right now, that he is pushing against nato. he is pushing against the chancellor of germany. bob: this aspect of trump's
weekend interviews -- he gave an interview with "the times" of london, one of the major newspapers in europe, and why washington is more alarmed about some of those interviews more so than the comments if he is so far removed from the hawkish consensus in the republican party and many parts of the democratic party he is not , talking about western europe in the way most western politicians do. partly based on my reporting, charlie, this is based on steve bannon, his chief strategist, at his side almost every day michael flynn, the retired , general who is coming in as the national security adviser, that they do not think of europe and the world the way most have for decades. charlie: how do they think of europe? bob: they are more open-minded about russia. they think with the threat of this aerosonic state, -- islamic state russia is a potential ally , for military engagement, and they think that the u.s., especially bannon, that the u.s. needs to be more isolated with
-- or on its own terms with trade and economic issues, not owing anything to western europe, and when you talk to certain diplomatic officials in washington from other countries they are all trying to get a , read on what bannon is up to. what is he telling trump? what figures is he bringing over from the brexit movement? it is something they cannot comprehend in official washington and diplomatic circles. charlie: and explanations of flynn's conversations with the russian ambassador? bob: the trump campaign or the transition hasn't acknowledged some of these calls have happened. they say they were "purely logistical." that was the statement from the thing i havet one heard from my sources charlie, is that flynn is following up on trump's view. that he wants to have warmer relationships with thruster -- russia. of some of getting rid of these sanctions in the conversations in trump tower. there is a real sense that
russia, in spite of all the clouds hanging over this past campaign, could still be a major ally of the trump presidency. charlie: notwithstanding there is an investigation under way with the senate armed services and other services about how russia could have hacked the election and the president-elect himself, basically saying they want a better relationship, so rather than increasing sanctions, they want to have a better relationship, so going to -- and are prepared to negotiate the reducing of sanctions in order to get them some benefit from putin? bob: that is certainly very much a possibility, and it comes as a bipartisan committee in the senate, senate republicans and democrats working together to try to further probe in the coming months russia's role in foreign policy and the u.s. election, but trump himself in his press conference did acknowledge that russia had a role in the hacking -- putting -- but it has not put him in any
way that more of the distance from russia in the way he talks about it. charlie: listen, you have had a very, very highly praised coverage of this campaign, the rise of donald trump and donald trump's preparation for the presidency. how do you think he sees the press? is there some danger here in terms of something that is different from what might have been before in every other administration? bob: i think we have seen some discussions now about whether or not the press would move to the old executive office building, which has made some of the press concerned. but trump is complicated in this way, because he really loves to be in the press. he constantly consumes media. he's up every day watching television and reading the newspapers, so he is not like some past presidents who just shy away from watching cable.
we always heard president obama did not like watching cable news. same thing with george w. bush. trump, every day, thinking about it in how he lives his life. at the same time, he is highly sensitive to many stories. people close to trump have told me he is still unhappy about the way this russia story and alleged compromised information was floated in this dossier by an official. he did not like the way this played out in the press, so he has some issues that are really agitating him behind the scenes right now with the press that have not helped those relationships. but he is such a total outsider. i think that is important to remember when we look at trump and the press. when we look at bernie sanders, in the democratic primary last year. the senator from vermont, there is so few relationships with trump and the press. i used to cover trump for years
which is how i got to know him, , but he is not a typical politician, and he does not do much to soothe the relationship either, charlie. he is always tweeting against them. he enjoys the confrontation. people cannot process that. how does this guy love to fight? he relishes to fight? the answer is yes. he loves the confrontation with the press because he thinks , disruption can be power. charlie: where is he on the wall? when everyone says sense, he gets very upset. bob: very upset. the thing about the wall is you , know bannon is close to him. you know jared kushner, his son-in-law, is close to him. and senator jeff sessions, the new attorney general should he -- should nominee did he be nominated and confirmed, and sessions is already helping trump to come up with executive actions for the first couple of weeks of the presidency to help begin construction of the wall,
because sessions, his work with trump, and miller, they say they cannot let congress stall the wall, that it was the issue that helped lift trump to the white house, and it is something that 'wholeimated sessions career. so this congress is wary about running in 2018 if this wall is full of public protests. and stars public protest. do you want to be responsible for that politically? charlie: thank you so much for joining us. i hope we can look forward to many conversations like this as we look at the beginning of the trump administration. thank you. bob: thank you, charlie. ♪
♪ charlie: denzel washington has starred in more than 40 films. he has 12 academy awards for his acting and has been nominated six times. here is a look at some of his work. >> let me explain something to you. the way i figure, i figure this war would be over a whole lot sooner if you boys would just turn around and head back that way. and you let us head up there where the real fight is. there wouldn't be nothing but rebs dying if you let the 54th in. >> you have to see that all of this is hypocrisy. these negro leaders are running around telling the white man that everything is all right,
but everything mohammed teaches is wrong. but i am telling you, mr. muhammad said these things are going to come to pass, and now, these things are starting to come to pass. >> talk about what these casesb. are really about. our hatred, our loathing, our fear of homosexuals. and how that climate of hatred and fear translated into the firing of this particular homosexual, my climate -- client, andrew beckett. >> i am the man up in this place. you will never see the light. i am the police. i am here. you just live here. yeah, that's right. you'd better walk away. go and walk away, because i am going to burn this down. king kong ain't got anything on me. >> i am drunk now.
i am drunk right now. because i am an alcoholic. charlie: his latest film, which he also directed, is an adaptation of august wilson's pulitzer prize-winning play "fences" by august wilson, and he reprised his role troy from the 2010 broadway revival, which won him a tony award for the best actor. part of august wilson's work known as the "american cycle." here is wilson on this program in 1992, talking about his goal for the ambitious project. mr. wilson: the odyssey of black american life in the 20th century, through that decade. through that century.
charlie: so it would be, in a sense an understanding of the , dilemma, the conflict, the triumph of african-americans over that period of time. mr. wilson: they placed black americans, who are so often neglected in terms of history -- they are not given any historical weight. their experience and presence in america is not given weight. it places them at the spiritual center of the place, and the spiritual center of the world. charlie: wow. here is the trailer for "fences." [video clip] >> when i first met this woman, i saw rose, and i latched on to her. i told her, "baby, i do not want to marry you. i just want to be your man." rose told me -- >> i told him if he wasn't the marrying kind, then move out of the way so the marrying kind could find me. >> that is what she told me. "you're in the way. you are blocking the view. move out the way so i can find me a husband." >> where cory?
i want him to help me with this fence. >> he got recruited by a college football team. >> it is not going to get him nowhere. >> if he be like you in the sports, he going to be all right. ain't but two men who could play baseball as good as you. >> and what did it ever get me? i ain't got a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of? >> hey, pop. can i ask you a question? how come you've never liked me? i've gots there says to like you? a man is supposed to take care of his family. you live in my house, fill your belly with my food, put your behind on my bed because you are my son. now, don't you go through life worrying about whether somebody like you or not. you best be making sure they are doing right by you. >> cory is just trying to fill out your shoes. >> i don't want him to be like me. i want him to get as far away from my life as he possibly can get. you are the only decent thing to ever happen to me, rose. >> you can't be nobody but who you are, troy.
that's all you got to measure yourself against the world out there. >> rose, i have got something to tell you. i don't know how to tell you this. >> why, troy? why? >> you ought to know it's time. >> i do not want to know! >> what did you ever give me? >> your feet, those bones, that thumping heart. >> you never done nothing but hold me back, afraid i was going to be better than you. >> everything that boy do, he do for you. >> it's not easy for me to admit that i have been standing in the same place for 18 years. >> well, i have been standing with you! i've got a life too! , don't you think i had dreams and hopes? what about my life? what about me? >> what are you going to do? >> some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in. [end video clip] charlie: joining me is denzel washington, the film's star and
andctor and producer, constanza romero wilson. the wife of august wilson. i am pleased to have them back at the table. first time for you. but august was here many times. to see this, to see all of that film, to see "fences," makes me proud to call you friend, my friend. denzel: thank you. charlie: and to see the craft, to see the craft all of these years. denzel: it just touches me to see young august, to hear what he is saying, and then here we are. charlie: at the same table. then sell: yeah, because -- >> yeah, because i have not watched anything of him talking. i have listened to things, and i have read things, but that is the first time i have watched. charlie: take a look at this. roll tape. here it is. august wilson. [video clip plays]
august: i was in a seminar, and a white guy said to me, "are you saying that whites are not capable of directing then?" i said, "no, the industry is saying that blacks are not capable," because every movie that you have that is about the black experience is made by hollywood, as opposed to an independent films. "the color purple," etc. i could name a lot of examples. they are all made by white directors. set themselves up as the custodians of the black experience. and i and saying, i don't see black folks making films about italian whites or jewish whites, -- italian life or jewish life or whatnot," so when you have a situation in which the content of the play is so much enmeshed in black culture, then you have to have a black sensibility behind the camera. [end video clip] denzel: i have been saying that. there are cultural differences between "good fellas" and
"schindler's list," and there are cultural differences, so he is right. they are cultural differences, and so, he is right. [laughter] charlie: but you had not heard him say that before? denzel: no, i had not. charlie: why did you want to do this? beyond how that speaks to you and beyond, maybe there is some sense that a black man should direct this. denzel: i was asked about that. it was as simple as that. scott rudin brought the play to me, and i realized i had not read the play, and so i read the play. and it said troy was 53, and i was 55, and i thought i was too young for the part, going back to the 1980's, so i called, and scott said that, and that was seven years ago. charlie: to do the play. denzel: to do the play first.
i don't think i said i wanted to do the play first. i wasn't going to commit. and i had to go through the experience and find out if i could do the part. charlie: did it speak you from the very beginning, when you read it? denzel: oh yeah. charlie: what was it? denzel: that is a good question. it is not like i saw that and said, "that is like my father. that is how we used to do." it was our culture. it was things we were talking about then. and the time that he took to let people tell stories was so natural and real, it made me think of holidays around my house, or times when uncles were always the ones who kept going i had an uncle-- who could drink, but i never saw him drinking but the glass was , always going down, because i
used to watch him. but i never saw him drink. now it is down there. charlie: where did august put "fences" among all of the things that he did? constanza: you know, it is a really curious relationship he had with the play. i think after he wrote his first, a lot of critics were saying, "yes, he is a fantastic writer, and he has written a beautiful play, but can he rise to the level of a tennessee williams and arthur miller, and can he write the classic american play," and i think that he rolled up his sleeves, and it is not that he set out to write, you know, with those two giants sitting on his shoulder, but he did say, "i want to write on -- a treatise on american life," and the people who surrounded him while he was growing up, the
men who surrounded him he wanted , to add value to their lives. he wanted to say, what is it about films that makes them so noble, so, you know -- people who are worth remembering, and he wrote this play in answer to those questions, and if you look at the body of his work this is , the only play that has one central figure, and the central figure is larger than life, and the others are much more -- i am sure there are some central figures, but the intention is read a little bit more as an ensemble. charlie: did you get viola to do this? denzel: did i get her to do it? you mean to do the movie? well she did the play and i wasn't doing the movie without her. no, no.
charlie: having her was essential to having you. denzel: yes, yes, because that is the experience we all have, and not just viola. viola and stephen henderson and -- >> you know you have seen him. denzel: he is him. constanza: and another thing, denzel, he did his homework. casting theater actors in the film makes for far more richness and relationships. denzel: you have got it. you have to be able to handle the language. if the actor cannot get around the language -- there is no improvising. you have got to hear it and know it and the music of it and know when to jump in, because there is some music to it.
there is some rhythm to it, but it will not allow it. august will not allow it. charlie: owning the rights to it since about 1987, that is about 30 years. any trepidation about turning it into film, or you knew you had to do this? denzel: you never know. you never know. whatever i do next or whatever i did before it, you never know if it is going to work as a film. just because it says "screenplay" does not mean it is going to work. charlie: can you feel there is magic here? denzel: well, i knew i had a great piece of material. i knew i had a great actress. i knew we had delivered before, and i do not remember it being long. it might have been halfway into the first day, when i want, "yes, yes," but we did all
things first, and even with that, i remember we went to the cemetery, and just what mykelti did with leaving a piece of bread, i was, "we are already off to the races, here we go." charlie: what was the hardest part of it? denzel: letting it go. letting it go. charlie: "letting it go," meaning it is finished? denzel: i am still not finished. you are letting it go, really letting it go, letting the character go, but my wife, she says, "how long -- let's see how long troy is going to be here. [laughter] who is coming home today?" making speeches. charlie: is this why you became an actor?
the ability to do this kind of work? whether it was malcolm, whether it is troy, whether it is the first film that we saw? denzel: it is interesting you say this, because i wanted to be an actor because of james earl jones. he was the example. i started acting in the mid-1970's, and he was on fire, and there were not a lot of african-american film actors or even films that i could look at and say, "oh, i want to be in that" in 1975. there were not a lot of films, and we were sort of new york theater snobs, so i wanted to do what james earl jones was doing. well, at that time, it was before "fences," so he had not done "fences" yet. charlie: and do you still want to do those things? denzel: yes.
i better hurry. [laughter] charlie: and you have a bucket list? there are things that you want to do because you can grow into those roles? you may have been too young earlier? denzel: i want to do -- you do not know about this yet. you do what you want to do. life is too short. it really is. the same thing -- this is not a dress rehearsal. charlie: tell us about august, as a man, as a -- constanza: yes. i think that the first thing i want to say about him in light of this movie is the first half of this movie, the way that troy maxson is a storyteller, he will take little journeys away from reality and go to, you know,
sort of meld stories together, and say "a field full of frogs," and we are all going crazy, and there were flights of fancy for the sake of the story, but he -- his sense of humor was so ironic. you know, it took sometimes a couple of minutes to say, "ah!" and many times, we would go to parties, and he would sit in a quiet, little corner, and people would come and talk to him, and he would tell his stories, and by the time the party was finished, everybody at the party was in his little corner.
charlie: you mean made-up stories? constanza: just stories, early days in pittsburgh. charlie: as denzel said this morning, he is up there in the heights with arthur miller, eugene o'neill, tennessee williams. he appreciated this remarkable achievement. constanza: i think so. i think so. exactly, the american century cycle. he had a lot more to do, and he would often tell me, "i cannot wait to write things outside of the american century cycle." what he did with the 10 plays is he cut the 10 out of the same cloth so they would fit as a whole, and, you know, each decade, and he had a novel in him, another play.
as soon as he finished one play, he would start another one, so he would rewrite, yes, yes, but it was more like making the plays fatter. you know, making the plays more rich. charlie: more adding to it. constanza: yes, more adding to it. he did not like to cut. -- he hated to cut. [laughter] constanza: he said that is important, that is important, even though some may have thought it was extraneous, but all of those little tidbits that he put in there are large ideas about the common man. and culture and about history. charlie: casting. we talked about viola. and here is stephen henderson, who plays bono. [video clip plays]
[laughter] >> when i first met this woman, hitch up my pony, saddle up my man, there is a woman out there for me somewhere. i latched onto her. i latched on to her, and i will tell you the truth. i latched onto her and told her, "baby, i do not want to marry you. i just want to be your man." rose told me -- say what you told me. >> i told him to move out of the way. if he wasn't the marrying kind, get out of my way so that the marrying man can find me. >> move out of the way. i thought about it two or three days. he is going to flap his wings. i'm going to watch the front door. it is the back door i was worried about.
denzel: not anytime soon. -- charlie: are you going to direct more? denzel: not anytime soon. [laughter] where would you go from here? because where would i go? no, not right now. i do not even see it. charlie: from work that is so great and the lines are so fantastic. and the experience you had -- denzel: let's go make some money. you do take a year or two out of your life, and it does not really pay, and my bills -- but not just that, but, really, where do you go from here? so i just leave that alone and go somewhere else and retool. charlie: have you tried in your career to balance some stuff that might be good work but because it has the potential to be a big payday, that you just really wanted to do it because it was so rich? denzel: both.
i did "raisin in the sun," and i did nothing else that year, and then i did a western in 2015 and nothing else, and all i did in 2016 was "fences" and nothing else. charlie: what can you tell us about august? in terms of how he felt about plays in the theater? constanza: he was a theater animal, really. people would ask him to write a screenplay about martin luther king or tupac shakur, and there were characters that i want to explore for myself, so he turned that down.
it took an extraordinary amount of discipline, i think, for him to stay so focused, and, you know, who knew that he was only going to have that amount of time? he was 60, and he had just premiered his last play at yale when he was diagnosed, it took everything out of him for the last four months of his life after the diagnosis and flesh it out, so, yes, he was also -- he knew what worked on stage. he was also very audial. he liked process. he liked to work with actors. he liked to work with erectors. -- with directors. he liked how, you know, certain actors, you know, some of what i call the warriors, how they treated his texts.
absolutely. always, always. [laughter] yes, mckinley henderson, another one of his favorite actors. i still remember -- you know how everybody says wilsonian, excuse me, but everybody says shakespearean, but we were talking about a certain actor, and i said he was not wilsonian. and he said wilsonia n? yeah. you know what i mean, and he loved it, because it went up to -- just because you are a black actor does not mean that you can do august wilson, the music, the rhythm, the understanding of the
underpinnings, the under wave of his work, so that is why i say he is a theater animal and love d the stage. denzel: shakespeare. august liked shakespeare. when i studied shakespeare in school, you would learn that paragraph sometime -- you learn not to break it down. you learn that a paragraph has meaning so you learn not to break it down too much. do not make too much of a meal out of it, or it will not make sense. there is a rhythm to it. august is the same thing. there is a rhythm to it. charlie: what does august say about family and marriage? denzel: it is the most beautiful thing. a very close, loving couple.
that is why it was important for me, and it is in the play -- i told all of the actors, we have to be as loving as began. we cannot start at where we think the play starts. we have to start at the beginning. without the love, the disappointment does not mean anything. charlie: thank you. thank you. ♪
♪ charlie: billy eichner is with us, the creator and star of a pop-culture game show "billy on the street," the show ending its fifth year. this season's guests have included john oliver, james corden, and more. here is a look at "billy on the street." [video clip plays] >> immigrant? mila kunis? >> real american. >> pierce brosnan? >> immigrant? >> charles manson?o >> real american. >> salma hayek? ted bundy? charlize theron? antonio banderas? craig ferguson? >> he is an immigrant. >> yes, he is. >> cesar millan, the dog whisperer?
timothy mcveigh? natalie portman? jackie chan? casey anthony? >> she is a real american. >> carlos santana? o.j. simpson? >> a real american. >> yes, you win. [end video clip] charlie: he also stars on the hulu original series "difficult people." how is "billy on the street" going to be different? billy: we have an obstacle course, and the obstacle course is an obstacle course without any obstacle, because the theme is to really buy a gun, and we realize that there were not any real obstacles in it, so we created an obstacle course. charlie: what is it?
billy: it's kind of inspired by the old nickelodeon double dare. i was obsessed with it as a kid, and they had these crazy obstacle courses, so we borrowed the aesthetic from that, but ours is about trying to buy a gun, which you realize is not terribly difficult. charlie: you like politics? you are tweeting against trump. billy: i tweet against trump on a daily basis. [laughter] tweeting?hat are you billy: i tweeted several times. i tweet when i am inspired. we are on the same schedule, me and trump. [laughter] weirdly, we tweet the same amount, but i am a comedian, and he is president of the united states. charlie: president-elect.
billy: so i tweeted last night, "you are a broken man." charlie: did he respond? billy: what i feel interested in is that all of these sketches and tweets get to him. he is watching her and i think he is checking his twitter. charlie: and every tweet saying how stupid he thinks it is. billy: and every tweet i think has an effect. charlie: you like donald trump as a character? billy: i don't like donald trump. not even as a character. i do not think it is that funny. most of my tweets about trump are serious. when he was campaigning, it was different, but i am having a problem laughing at trump at this point. charlie: what is something that
bothers you the most about him at this point? billy: i think he is full of it. i have never seen someone, a politician, someone who is so transparently full of it, along the campaign trail and even now. it is mind-boggling to me that he has been able to brainwash so many people. charlie: pop-culture though, my impression -- my impression is that you are keenly observant, engaged by, and enjoy pop-culture. billy: absolutely. charlie: whether it is music, comedy, movies. billy: i love it all.
i grew up loving the entertainment industry, you know, theater in new york. initially, it was broadway, and here we are. charlie: and what doors has it opened for you? billy: a lot. i have another series on hulu, "difficult people," and there is a new series on netflix here called "friends from college," and all of this comes from the notoriety i got from "billy on the street." charlie: it opened doors. it gave you traction. it is still as funny as it was in the beginning. billy: thank you. charlie: you know what is going to happen. you know the game, and you want to see the game played. billy: there are shows that are hot and buzzy, and five years ago, no one knew what it was, and every season, it has gotten progressively more popular. charlie: so when you line them all up now, do they say yes?
billy: not everyone says yes. a lot of people come to us now, remarkably. it has become part of someone's press junket. charlie: david letterman has been on. michelle obama. billy: we did a segment with michelle obama and big bird. together. it was to promote the first lady's "let's move" campaign. getting kids to eat healthy. it has become a phenomenon. charlie: is there anybody who you desperately wanted and pursue and keep asking, and they say -- billy: meryl streep. we have gotten close. charlie: how have you gotten close? billy: we have spoken to people on meryl's team. we did a whole obstacle course go-round.yl charlie: and saying i am not a good actress -- billy: i got into a war with meghan mccain about it. i do not want to get into it. charlie: you do not want to get
into it because -- it so offends you that somebody would say something -- billy: everybody, -- every day, it is something new. it's exhausting. i called megan mccain out on that, but i felt a need to do it. charlie: how is billy epstein different from billy eichner? billy: that's "difficult people." billy epstein is different from billy eichner. he is three-dimensional, operating in somewhat of a different way on "difficult people." charlie: might its bond all kinds of new billy eichner things? like a talk show? billy: i try not to -- there might be something like
that down the line. charlie: i'm just freethinking here. billy: bring it on, charlie. i'm trying to help you. billy: i mean all of the help i can get. charlie: i am here. you know that. i am here for you. i mean, might you want to do something kind of an insult comedy? like don rickles? billy: i think of myself as a little bit different than don rickles. i do not think of "billy on the street" as an insult shtick. it is a show business obsession and a cultural obsession. charlie: satire, show business, and celebrity. billy: the industry, as we say. charlie: take a look before you go.
this is james cordan, "billy on the street." [video clip plays] >> conga line. let's go. please join our conga line. please join the conga line. get in here. we need a conga line. will you join our conga line? [end video clip] charlie: and here is another favorite of mine, john oliver. [video clip plays] >> sir, are you gay >> yes, i. >> have you heard of john oliver? >> i do not know who that is. >> what about wendy williams? >> of course, i do. >> do you care about john oliver? he is right here. >> nice to meet you. >> sorry, i am yelling. who do you like better, john
oliver or wendy williams? >> wendy williams. >> i knew it. are you gay? do you like john oliver? and what do you like about wendy williams? >> john oliver, i have no idea who that is. [end video clip] charlie: there you go, part of what makes "billy on this street" so popular. you are welcome back at this table. and we will see you. billy: i hope so. ♪ .