Michael Moore has Trump on the brain, and the Oscar-winning documentarian and liberal scourge unleashed his animus on the new president on Friday in the first public performance of his one-man Broadway debut, “The Terms of My Surrender.”
“I refuse to live in a country where Donald Trump is the president — and I’m not leaving,” Moore said near the end of his two-hour plus show, which was part autobiography, part counseling session to like-minded urban liberals and part political rally and call to action.
At one point, Moore teased a run for president in 2020, with a typically satirical edge. “I really will shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue,” Moore said, before adding in reference to Trump’s efforts to avoid military service in Vietnam, “He got five deferments because he wouldn’t shoot anyone.”
He offered campaign pledges that mixed the silly (“free HBO for all”) with the edgy (“If elected, there will be no low-flow showerheads; I don’t want to feel like I’m being peed on by a 12-year-old in the presidential suite of the Moscow Hilton”).
He offered praise for Sen. John McCain’s return to Washington after brain surgery and voting to block the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare. “Give the other Republican senators that surgery!” he quipped.
Moore did not spare Democrats — and Hillary Clinton in particular — from his jabs. “We have to admit that Trump outsmarted us,” Moore said. “He was crazy enough to know where the state of Wisconsin is — and to go there.”
He even made a joke suggesting the former Secretary of State was a lesbian — which he quickly tried to re-contextualize. He noted that a man arrested for attempting to blow up Moore’s Michigan home had kept a diary with a kill list that started with Moore and included Janet Reno, Rosie O’Donnell and Hillary Clinton.
“How did I get on the lesbian list?” he quipped, then added, “By the way, with Hillary, that’s the way the right wing talks about her.” (For the record, Bill Clinton-era Attorney General Janet Reno, who died in 2016, also denied that she was gay or bisexual.)
Moore, who recently launched a website dubbed TrumpiLeaks intended as a clearinghouse for whistleblowers and a new nonfiction film for The Weinstein Company titled “Fahrenheit 11/9” (for the date of Trump’s election win last fall), said that he’s offered a standing invitation to Trump to attend his show — a box seat with stars-and-stripes bunting in front of it sat empty through the performance.
He also shared that he and Trump shared an agent — WME’s Ari Emanuel — and claimed to have overheard a phone call from Trump to Emmanuel in which the “Celebrity Apprentice” star suggested announcing a run for president as a gambit to get a better salary for the NBC reality show — or a counter-offer from another network.
“He just found out that NBC was paying the hosts of other reality shows more than him, like Gwen Stefani on ‘The Voice,'” Moore claimed. According to Moore, Trump told his agent: “I’ve been thinking about running for president. The networks would see how hugely popular I am.”
“Even when he was running, didn’t you feel, Does he want this job?” Moore asked. “Does he want to live in a majority-black city? The penthouse of the White House is the second floor.”
In one of his most provocative bits, Moore played an audio clip from 2005 in which conservative radio host Glenn Beck speculated about killing Moore: “I’m wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it.”
Moore then pretended to leave a voicemail message for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo using Beck’s scripted threat virtually word for word. “Could I just call any public person with these threats the way Glenn Beck did?” he asked. “I don’t think I would get away with it.”
The show, directed by Michael Mayer (“Spring Awakening”) and produced by IMG Original Content and Carole Shorenstein Hays, will have an official opening on August 10 and run for 12 weeks. 101 Production is exec producing.
Moore’s credits include directing “Fahrenheit 9/11,” the highest-grossing documentary of all time, as well as “Bowling for Columbine,” which earned an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Other films include “Sicko,” “Roger & Me” and “Where to Invade Next.”
He also created the television series “TV Nation” and “The Awful Truth,” and has written eight books which have all made the best-seller list.
Last October, Moore dropped a film about Trump titled “Michael Moore in TrumpLand” which screened for the first time in New York City’s IFC Center that month.