BY ISABEL RODRIGUEZ ’21
Vice President Mike Pence’s worst nightmare takes shape in a story about a male bunny falling in love with another male bunny. Pence is known for being against same-sex marriage — he signed a religious freedom bill as governor of Indiana in 2015, which according to CNN, would allow businesses to turn away same-sex couples “in the name of ‘religious freedom.’”
In mid-March of this year, Mike Pence’s daughter Charlotte and wife Karen published a book,“Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President,” in honor of their family rabbit. Vice President Pence organized a visit to Focus on the Family, an organization that is known for supporting conversion therapy, for the book tour.
On his show, “Last Week Tonight,” comedian John Oliver announced that a parody children’s book he and the show’s staff wrote about Marlon Bundo called “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” follows the life of the Pence’s gay bunny and would be released one day before the book written by Charlotte and Karen Pence. “I think that Oliver’s book is parody at its finest,” said Katie Carlson ’18. “[Putting] an LGBT spin on a book associated with a known supporter of conversion therapy and anti-gay legislation is sweet justice.”
Days following its publication, John Oliver’s book soared in popularity. According to Amazon Charts, for the week of March 25, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents a Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” is the first on Amazon’s most sold fiction list while “Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President” is the eleventh. “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” is temporarily out of stock on Amazon, since Oliver and the Last Week Tonight staff did not expect such large interest in their book. In just two days, it sold 180,000 copies.
During his TV show interview with Seth Meyers, Oliver assured the audience that more copies are being printed and will be available both on Amazon and in bookstores. There is also an audiobook available for “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents a Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” with a voice cast that features Jim Parsons, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ellie Kemper, RuPaul, Jack McBrayer and Jeff Garland. “I have no beef with his bunny,” said Oliver. “The beef comes in regarding Michael Pence, who has a history of, let’s say, homophobic views.”
Oliver explained on his show that all of the revenue from his book will go to the Trevor Project, a non-profit organization that focuses on suicide prevention among LGBT youth, and AIDS United, whose mission is to end the AIDS epidemic in the United States. “The fact that proceeds from the book will be donated to the Trevor Project makes me love it even more,” said Carlson in support of the decision.
According to the LA Times, a portion of the sales from Charlotte and Karen’s book goes to the A21 Campaign, a nonprofit focused on combating human trafficking, and Tracy’s Kids, an art therapy program.
During his appearance on the Ellen Show, Oliver said, “Part of the reason of writing this book is so that I could read something to [my son] which paints the world in the light that you want it to be rather than the way it is currently being painted.”