Jessica Williams, one of the Daily Show’s most effective weaponized comedic assets, gets sent on a search, mock, and destroy mission to take on the idiocy of “bathroom bills” like those recently passed in North Carolina and Mississippi, legislation so awful that even conservadarling Nikki Haley thinks it’s stupid. Williams even manages to sit down for an interview with Colorado state Rep. and outrageous self-parody of a rightwing preacher Gordon Klingenschmitt, apparently because he doesn’t have any self-awareness at all. (Haha “apparently.”) This is prime Daily Show stuff, kids: Explain the issue, interview some reasonable people who have been hurt by terrible bigoted legislation, then let the bigots speak for themselves. After speaking to Meagan Taylor, a trans woman who was jailed for eight days in Iowa after checking into a hotel with a photo ID identifying her as “male,” Williams seeks the opinion of an advocate of “trans panic,” the demon-obsessed Klingenschmitt, whom she introduces as a “Colorado representative and Elmer Fudd Lookalike.” It’s funny ’cause it’s true!
If you were worrying that a new host might have led the Daily Show to lose its edge, this segment will help allay your fears. Our favorite moment (joke spoiler warning): Klingenschmitt tells Williams that he can’t really explain the utter sinfulness of trans people until he changes into his “alter ego” (or maybe “altar ego”) — that is, gets his ministerial vestments on. After Williams asks, “Who are you, Lady Gaga?” she mutters as he gets all robed up, “Is everybody seeing this? I am actually waiting for this man to transition so that he can feel more comfortable during our interview.” Once he gets his minister dress on, Klingenschmitt reads some Deuteronomy at her, and elsewhere in the interview explains that trans people are just making up their whole perverted scheme so they can go into the wrong restroom and “violate the rights of others.” Not that he has any proof of it, but he bets it could happen, maybe, someday. On the other hand, he says, the very real cases of priests raping children? Those are criminal outliers, and don’t reflect at all on the ministerial profession as a whole.
Poor Gordon Klingenschmitt. It has to hurt a little, knowing that even Pat Freaking Robertson makes more sense on trans people than you do. You weirdo.