It Takes Tom Arnold to Take Down Trump

TomArnoldIt takes a clown to take down another. That’s the basis of Tom Arnold’s ambitious “The Hunt for Trump Tapes” coming to Viceland Sept. 18.

Arnold seems to know how ridiculous his premise may seem: that the fate of the country is in the hands of the goofy “True Lies” and “Soul Plane” costar.

But as he aggressively seeks damning tapes of Donald Trump on his rise to power, he deadpans in the show promo, “Don’t worry, Tom Arnold is on it.”

At the same time, he has a takes-one-to-know-one attitude when he starts his shows by saying, “He’s a kind of old school dumbass, like I am …But I don’t think I should be president.”

Amid the humor of his various obsessive misfires in trying to track down evidence, Arnold actually uncovers some news, at least in the first couple of episodes made available to critics, where a search for Trump’s many hours on Howard Stern’s radio show turns up a fan who had recorded and transcribed all the shows on his own, catching the president in previously unreported salacious give and take with Stern.

Stern wouldn’t release any Trump tapes on his own, Arnold said; he wouldn’t even release the video he had of Arnold on his show talking about the project, so on “The Hunt for the Trump Tapes,” the exchange appears in cartoon form.

Such is the result when investigative journalism and politics are on a collision course with entertainment.

But we are reminded how entwined those elements have been when Arnold Schwarzenegger is stalked by the comedian for some input. Not just the comedian’s co-star in “True Lies,” he was of course also governor of California for eight years.

“Arnold Schwarzenegger’s funny because he said — he’s a great guy, he doesn’t love Trump. But he said, ‘Tom, you know, you got to calm down. Talk about the environment,’ or ‘Don’t be so crazy on Twitter,’” Arnold told critics at the TV Critics Association summer press tour. “And then after Helsinki, he does this crazy video on his Twitter account and he looks as insane as I do.”

And Arnold didn’t acquit himself so well at the session, talking non-stop and wild-eyed, calling on reporters but careening right on without hearing their questions in his fractured train of thought.

Still, in a week where possibly damning tapes of Trump and his lawyer leaked out; and on a day where his ex-wife Roseanne Barr would appear on Fox News to not exactly apologize for the racist tweet that got TV’s most popular new show canceled, it seemed Arnold was onto something.

Arnold says he knew Trump casually over the years.

“We went to the Playboy Mansion together once,” he says. “He used to come on ‘The Best Damn Sports Show Period,’ my sports show.”

And in both cases Trump showed his true colors, he says. “He was a little racist and definitely talked about women in a certain way.”

On an episode of “The Hunt for Trump,” he gets a “Celebrity Apprentice” finalist Penn Gillette to talk about racist and sexist things he heard. But as for tapes from “The Apprentice” and its outtakes, they are locked up by its producer Mark Burnett, who wouldn’t release them.

Those are some of the tapes he’d like to get his hands on “The Hunt for the Trump Tapes,” but also notorious videotapes said to exist according to a dossier about Trump and Russia. There are also leads to other potentially incriminating tapes, he says.

“We explore all of these tapes and more,” says producer Jonathan Karsh. “Every episode is Tom’s journey off of Twitter in life trying to track down source, talk to people who may know, who may have strong opinions, to get to the truth.”

In addition to Schwarzenegger, Judd Apatow, Rosie O’Donnell and journalists like Michael Isikoff, David Korn and Jane Mayer will appear, as will brief White House spokesman Anthony Scaramucci.

“I’m going to do this until he resigns,” Arnold vows.



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