Trump’s overly communicative communications director Anthony Scaramucci is out—of a job! But Mario Cantone isn’t. Since “the Mooch” got ousted, the comic/actor who so deftly portrayed him on Comedy Central’s The President Show did a video for the New York Times and a return appearance on Comedy Central. It’s the gift that keeps giving.
But let me communicate the back story: When the newly appointed Scaramucci gave an incendiary interview to the New Yorker (posted July 27), trashing other Trump administration notables while invoking expressions like “cock block” and “not trying to suck my own cock,” he became a political hot potato that even Trump had to ultimately sense was a tad inappropriate.
After hilarious gay comic Mario Cantone’s physical similarity to Scaramucci was pointed out on Twitter, the funny man landed the TV appearance, where he nailed the guy’s bravado, Italianate toughness, and crudeness. And then the (ba-da) boom dropped! Scaramucci was axed, and Cantone kept doing the fandango. I talked to Cantone about what this all means.
Congrats, Mario! So you’ve gotten to do Scaramucci some more?
I thought it was over. I’d like to relax again. It’s making me very anxious. I was very relaxed two weeks ago...
On CNN, you said you couldn’t even get out of bed.
I know—and now, oh my god. But it’s been a blast. I posted an article in the Washington Post about playing him and about Italian American culture.
You and I are Italian Americans, but we didn’t come out as, how you say, guidos?
No, we didn’t, and that’s why I can play it so well, because I know it so well. My brothers aren’t really like that either. I’m so charmed by that too, at the same time, and I think it’s very sexy and funny and I know guys like that that I love dearly. Some of them piss me off. We did not come out that way!
My mother probably would have been happier if I had.
My mother might have too. We might have had the same mother. She wasn’t happy about the homosexual thing.
I love where you—as Scaramucci—said your mother had an old expression: “Stick the umbrella up my ass, but don’t open it.”
That was actually my mother’s expression. She actually would say that.
I love it. What other qualities do you find in Scaramucci?
He’s a charming guy, but so repetitive that the back of my head goes off. Everything is repeated. It’s like, “Don’t forget to bring the cannoli. Get those ravioli—the square ones, not the round ones. OK? Don’t get the round ones, get the square ones. I want the square ones, remember?” OK we get it.
I love saying things like “cock block,” but is that proper talk for an official in the White House?
No, of course not. My mouth has gotten me in trouble too, and I’m a comedian, I don’t work for the President. I knew he’d be out. My husband said, “I don’t think it will affect anything.” I said, “Yes it will. This will come to an end soon.”
As for appropriateness: To satirize the Mooch on TV, they hired you—someone who has done Liza Minnelli and Julia Child impressions (though you have great range, of course). What does that say?
I don’t know. Someone tweeted out a picture of me and him, and I retweeted it. Me retweeting doesn’t mean much.
I’m surprised your Twitter following hasn’t gone through the roof.
It’s gone up, but not through the roof. It’s a job, and I don’t like doing all that, and that’s probably why. Anyway, it came from a lot of different people. They had the same thought. I don’t know why because I’m not that much on the radar lately, and it just exploded. Anthony Alamanuik from Comedy Central called me and I said, “Yeah.” I love him. At Emerson College, his mother choreographed me in West Side Story. I played Chino.
Do you think you would have gotten to do the characterization on Saturday Night Live?
I was never gonna do SNL. I never “lost a job,” as people are saying. I’m not part of that world. Lorne Michaels is very particular and doesn’t like to be told what to do. He does a magnificent show. There are a couple of guys on the show that could do a brilliant job.
But he went outside the show to bring in Melissa McCarthy as Spicer.
But she’s Melissa McCarthy. I’m Mario Cantone. I know the level of my fame. Hey, if he did call, I’d be shocked.
OK, hear me out about the man you play. He says “cock blocker.” His wife left him. He follows a gay porn star. He follows me. Is he gay?
He follows me too. He followed me as soon as people started tweeting that we looked alike. I know he follows a gay porn star. I don’t know what that means. I don’t think he’s gay. He is a metrosexual. Maybe he’s just getting grooming tips.
The first time I saw him on TV, I said, “She’s a queen!” And he was pro gay and backed Hillary.
If he was in the closet, I don’t think he’d be pro-gay. The ones doing tap dances in bathroom stalls are the ones who get busted. The fact that he’s not afraid of following a gay porn star says he’s pretty secure in his sexuality. If he has a little Yorkie, that nails it, you’re straight. They all have little dogs.
You actually come off butcher than him when you play him. But you totally nail the part. Will you add Scaramucci to your live show?
I don’t think so.
I bet people will get angry.
Well, let them get angry. As much as I love playing Scaramucci, I don’t want to step out on the concert stage and have people say, “Do the Mooch!” They will see a character similar, so I think that will satisfy them, and it’s timeless. I do a character even more Italian than him, my alter ego. The character used to be named Angelo. Now I say, “This is who I am. I just said I was gay to sabotage my career.” I improvise with a woman in front and pick her up in front of her husband and it’s disrespectful and funny.
Love it. Love you. Don’t open the umbrella.