LGBTQ/MIKE PENCE/PROTESTS: “Guess who just managed to pull a best-selling book out of their hat? That’s right: it’s John Oliver and the staff of Last Week Tonight—specifically, writer Jill Twiss—whose picture book, the somewhat cumbersomely titled Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, is, as of this writing, the No. 1 best-selling book on Amazon. It’s a sweet victory, made even sweeter by the book that’s currently down at fourth place: Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President, a picture book written by Mike Pence’s 24-year-old daughter, Charlotte, and illustrated by his wife, Second Lady Karen Pence.
The results may be even more satisfying for Oliver on the children’s book chart, where the Pence joint is being outsold not only by the hardcover version of A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, but also by the Last Week Tonight creation’s Kindle edition. The Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo audiobook, featuring the talents of Jim Parsons, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jeff Garlin, Ellie Kemper, John Lithgow, Jack McBrayer, and RuPaul, is also Audible’s current No. 1 best-seller, beating out slightly more substantial audiobooks like James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty and the movie tie-in version of A Wrinkle in Time… Last Week Tonight’s bunny book, which follows a sprightly young rabbit named Marlon as he meets and falls in love with a dashing male rabbit named Wesley (and defeats a stink-bug bad guy that doesn’t think boy bunnies should marry each other, one who looks an awful lot like Mike Pence), would not exist were it not for the Pence family’s book, a gentle dramatization of life in the Naval Observatory from a bunny’s-eye view.
The Last Week Tonight crew specifically wrote their take on Marlon Bundo to piss off Pence, who is notoriously anti-gay rights. In a deliciously petty flourish, Oliver and Co. made their bunny book available one day before the Pence family’s—and they also gave the book a purposefully similar title and cover, all the better to accidentally ensnare unsuspecting consumers. Proceeds from both books will be donated to charity: the Pence family’s are going to A21, which works to end human trafficking, and Tracy’s Kids, an art-therapy program for children with cancer, while Last Week Tonight chose the L.G.B.T.Q.-friendly Trevor Project and AIDS United.”
-Hillary Busis, “John Oliver’s Gay-Bunny Book Is Outselling the Mike Pence Book It’s Trolling,” Vanity Fair, Mar. 20, 2018 08:53am