Remember that time that John Oliver spent $13,700 in a bidding war for wax figures of U.S. presidents against Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Rachel Maddow? That super wonky and pricy move begat Oliver’s movie trailer for his ideal Warren G. Harding biopic, featuring Anna Kendrick and Laura Linney acting the hell out of their wax co-star.
And because we’re nearing the closing months of 2017, it’s only fitting that Last Week Tonight pulls off something even more admirably ridiculous. Think of this as a highly anticipated sequel to “Harding,” in a shared cinematic universe of world-saving wax presidents, led by a resolute Tom Hanks.
Watch the John Oliver Wax Presidents Meet Tom Hanks
In July of this year, John Oliver came into possession of five wax presidents, the creepy residents of a now-defunct museum in Gettysburg, Pa. But the Last Week Tonight host wasn’t the only late night show host — or cable host, for that matter — to get wind of the wax presidents and engage in a high-priced bidding war over them. Rachel Maddow showed off her Dwight Eisenhower on MSNBC. Stephen Colbert, who at first vied for Martin van Buren only to lose him to Jon Stewart, got Zachary Taylor. But Oliver outdid all of them by buying five of the presidential wax figures over the course of the six-month auction.
Following up to Oliver’s similar (and also highly produced) fake “Harding” trailer from earlier this summer, the Last Week Tonight 2017 season finale ended with sleek spoof of a political thriller trailer, starring Tom Hanks and five wax presidents. It’s all very solemn and serious, with Hanks appealing to an unseen president that “the fate of humanity is at stake.” The commander in chief turns to reveal that he is Oliver’s favorite Warren G. Harding figure, and he is soon joined by the figures of Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, William Henry Harrison and Jimmy Carter when Hanks suggests this “isn’t a one-man job.”
The cherry on top is Hanks’ heroic declaration, “Gentlemen… let’s go wax these bastards,” only for Carter’s figurine to fall face-first on the floor.
Actually, now that I think about it, “Tom Hanks in Wax Presidents” could easily be a crossover of Bridge of Spies, set in some strange universe where everything is fine and the current White House administration isn’t bringing about our political ruination. Nevertheless, Tom Hanks is the inspirational figure we only wish could lead all of our past presidents on a world-saving mission. HBO is obviously willing to pour a lot of money into a tw0-minute clip, so let’s make it real, people.
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