John Oliver Is Offering Clarence Thomas $1 Million a Year to Resign from the Supreme Court

In a headline-making bit, John Oliver used the last two minutes of his HBO show this week to urge Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to resign. The late night host offered him $1 million a year and a tricked out tour bus in return.

On Wednesday’s show, Megyn was joined by National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke to discuss Oliver’s bizarre plea and what it says about comedy today.

Bribe Time

Season 11 of Oliver’s Last Week Tonight kicked off on Sunday and, as the show teased on its X account, the “main story is about the Supreme Court, the ethically questionable gifts some of the justices receive, and one very special offer for Clarence Thomas. Which could ruin John’s life. Genuinely. You’ll see.”

Justice Thomas has been under scrutiny from the media and ethics watchdogs over the course of the last year over the failure to disclose luxury trips and other benefits he received from Republican donors like billionaire Harlan Crow.

At the end of the program, Oliver made Thomas an offer:

“You have a lot on your plate right now. From stripping away women’s rights to hearing January 6 cases you definitely shouldn’t be hearing to potentially helping rollback decades of federal regulations.

And you deserve a break, you know, away from the meanness of Washington so you can be surrounded by the regular folks whose lives you made demonstrably worse for decades now. The good news is I think we can help you with that because since your favorite mode of travel might be in need of an upgrade, we are excited to offer you this brand new, top-of-the-line cray boat marathon motor coach…

And if you’re thinking, ‘What would my friend say if I take this offer? Will they judge me as they sit in their boardrooms and mega yachts and Hitler shrines? Will they still treat me to luxury vacations and sing songs about me off their phones?’ Well, that’s the beauty of friendship, Clarence. If they’re real friends, they’ll love you no matter what your job is. So, I guess this might be the perfect way to find out who your real friends actually are. 

That’s the offer: $1 million dollars a year, Clarence, and a brand new condo on wheels. And all you have to do in return is sign the contracts and get the f–k off the Supreme Court. Talk it over with your totally best friend in the whole world because the clock starts now. Thirty days, Clarence. Let’s do this.”

The “top-of-line” bus is, according to Oliver, valued at $2.4 million and features a king-sized bed, one and a half bathrooms, a “f–king fireplace,” and four televisions. As the credits rolled, the comedian reiterated the stakes. “Your move, Clarance,” he concluded. “Your f–king move.”

No Laughing Matter

While some have raised questions about whether or not Oliver’s offer meets the legal threshold for bribery, others have simply been left wondering whether or not the bit was meant to be funny. “That’s not comedy,” Cooke noted. “I don’t know what it is, but it’s just politics. Where’s the joke?”

Megyn questioned what the reaction would have been if a right-of-center late night host made a similar offer. “Can you imagine if that were a white male Republican comedian like Greg Gutfeld making such an offer to Ketanji Brown Jackson or Sonia Sotomayor,” she asked. “I don’t think they’d be laughing.”

What Cooke found most interesting about Oliver’s monologue was what wasn’t said. “He doesn’t actually seem to know why he hates Clarence Thomas,” he said. “This seems to have been absorbed as if by osmosis. He just operates in this particular small clique within our culture and he knows somehow that Clarence Thomas is bad.”

There was, in his view, a lack of specificity. “He said, ‘Oh, Clarence Thomas has spent years making people’s lives worse.’ He didn’t say how,” Cooke continued. “Is he upset with the affirmative action case, which has 80 percent support in the public? Is he upset with Clarence Thomas’s Second Amendment and First Amendment writings, which reflect popular positions? What is it?”

At the very least, Cooke said Oliver should have made an actual case against Thomas. “I just feel as if this is another good example of completely unthinking late night television that is supposed to be smart because, at the end of it, the guy delivering the monologue says the F-word,” he said. “I just don’t get it.”

In Megyn’s view, this is par for the course when it comes to Thomas. “Clarence Thomas gets no credit from the left for his amazing accomplishments,” she concluded. “Everything he’s done is seen through their racial prism.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Cooke by tuning in to episode 728 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.