On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence and his family released a children’s book starring their rabbit and titled Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President. As you can imagine, the divisive Vice President’s book is ripe for mocking, and on Last Week Tonight, John Oliver and his team created a parody book – titled A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo – that sees Marlon Bundo star in his very own gay love story.
Pence’s homophobia is common knowledge, so much so that Oliver called Marlon Bundo “the most likable thing about an otherwise unlikable man.” The Last Week Tonight book is an attempt to call out Pence’s historically regressive stances on LGBTQ rights. The Vice President once blamed the LGBTQ community for an alleged “societal collapse,” and has opposed legislation that protects LGBTQ citizens from discrimination. Oliver noted that he would have let Pence’s book slide as “a fun sweet book about a rabbit” had one of the stops on the impending book tour not been at Focus on the Family, a notoriously anti-LGBTQ conservative organization that aims to help couples “build healthy marriages that reflect God’s design.”
During the related segment on Sunday’s show, Oliver played his audience a clip from his book, set to animation. The clip starts with Marlon Bundo hopping through a field, before he meets and falls in love with another rabbit named Wesley:
“We went on a long hop together. We hopped through the garden. We hopped right inside the old stuffy house. We hopped through very boring meetings with very boring people. At the end of our hop, I said ‘Wesley, I don’t wanna hop without you ever again,’ and Wesley said, ‘That’s funny because I never wanna hop without you Marlon Bundo, ever again,’ and we both said, ‘We will get married and hop together forever.’”
Just as the two rabbits declare their love for each other, the book’s plot thickens when a stink bug – clearly drawn to resemble Pence – tells the two rabbits that they won’t be allowed to get married.
“The stink bug was in charge,” the book reads. “All the animals listened to him, even though he was very stinky.” The stinkbug goes on to tell the group of woodland creatures that “Boy bunnies don’t marry boy bunnies. Boy bunnies have to marry girl bunnies.”
The rest of the book is essentially about Wesley, Marlon, and the other garden animals banding together to protect equality and defeat the evil Pence-bug. In case this feels like a cheap, if funny, shot at Pence, Oliver and his team are doing it for a good reason: all of the proceeds from the Last Week Tonight book will go to The Trevor Project – a non-profit whose goal is to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth – and AIDS United – a group that aims to defeat the spread of HIV/AIDS in the US. By comparison, only a portion of the proceeds from the Pence’s children’s book will go towards charity.