It only took one and a half days for the first truly bizarre panel at the Television Critic Association’s summer press tour: Tom Arnold ranting for a half hour about his efforts to bring down President Trump.
It’s all part of Arnold’s new Viceland show, The Hunt for the Trump Tapes With Tom Arnold. In the series, which debuts Tuesday, Sept. 18 with two episodes, Arnold searches for allegedly incriminating audio and video recordings of Trump, from Celebrity Apprentice outtakes to old Howard Stern interviews to the rumored “pee-pee tape” that was referenced in Christopher Steele’s infamous dossier.
“I’m going to do this until he resigns. He’s a crazy person. He’s putting our country on the precipice of a war right now,” said Arnold, who hosts and executive produces the series.
It was one of the most surreal press tour sessions in recent memory. Arnold would passionately rant about Trump for several minutes and then end by saying, “Anyway, it’s a comedy.” He responded to questions by instead answering questions that had been asked minutes earlier, and other times, uttered enigmatic responses like, “I just told you how without telling you how.”
In addition to targeting Trump, Arnold directed his ire at people he alleges are covering for Trump by refusing to release tapes that could damage the president, such as Celebrity Apprentice executive producer Mark Burnett and Miss Universe Pageant owner (and bigtime Hollywood agent) Ari Emanuel.
“I’m going to keep hammering Mark Burnett,” Arnold vowed.
Arnold is still in production on the show. “We are filming right now and there are big things happening,” he said.
One promise that Arnold made: when the show airs, “you will know for sure there is a pee-pee tape. There will be no doubt in your mind.”
The show includes appearances from Arnold’s True Lies costar Arnold Schwarzenegger (who took over from Trump as Celebrity Apprentice host), former Celebrity Apprentice contestant Penn Jillette, Judd Apatow, Rosie O’Donnell and former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.
Arnold said he wasn’t worried that the 40 percent of the country that seems to support Trump no matter what information comes out will discount anything he uncovers. “I don’t give a shit about the 40 percent,” he said.
Earlier in his career, Arnold admitted, “I was one of these a-holes who thought Donald Trump was charming and funny.” He and Trump visited the Playboy Mansion together and attended Elton John’s Oscars party.
While Arnold made several incendiary and potentially libelous claims about Trump and others during the panel, the show’s producers stressed that everything that appears on The Hunt for the Trump Tapes will be vetted by Viceland’s legal department.
And if Arnold locates any of his white whales ahead of the show’s premiere, he won’t wait to release them.
“If we had a tape that would completely change this regime, of course we’d make sure the American public got it right away,” said executive producer Nomi Ernst Leidner, who is also svp of development for Viceland.
The only thing that Arnold wasn’t chatty about during the panel was his ex-wife Roseanne Barr, a longtime Trump supporter who has made more than her share of outrageous statements this year. When asked how Barr would react to his show, Arnold fell silent and said, “I don’t know. We haven’t been married for 24 years.”