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‘The President Show’ Finds Its Special Counsel: Griffin Dunne

A group of people who look a lot like the people who are supposed to run the United States have begun to convene again for Comedy Central.

One of them is Griffin Dunne, the actor known for his role in the 1985 Martin Scorsese dark comedy “After Hours,” and, more recently, 2013’s “Dallas Buyers Club” and Showtime’s comedy “House of Lies.” Dunne is set to take up the role of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the next iteration of Comedy Central’s “The President Show.” The surreal and satirical comedy has Anthony Atamanuik depicting President Donald Trump as a mercurial and self-indulgent but larger-than-life personality who holds forth from the Oval Office with a rogue talk show.  After running a first season of the show, the Viacom-owned cable network will air an hour-long special, “Make America Great-A-Thon: A President Show Special,” on Tuesday, April 3 at 11:00 p.m. eastern.

Dunne joins comedienne Kathy Griffin, who will play Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway. “The President Show” has kept viewers intrigued by introducing different actors to play various members of the President’s orbit of advisers and hangers-on:  Mario Cantone as former White House Communications Officer Anthony Scaramucci; Adam Pally, an executive producer, as Donald Trump Jr., John Gemberling as Steve Bannon and James Adomian as Bernie Sanders.

The announcement that Atamanuik and team are ready to introduce a Mueller only emphasizes how much space he has begun to take up in the news cycle, as his legal team examines the issue of Russian influence on U.S. elections.  “He’s a justice guy. He’s only interested in the judicial system, and to find out if a crime has taken place,” said Dunne of Mueller, in an interview. But under the lens of “The President Show,” he says, he could take some liberties with the character. “I quickly abandoned the impersonality, and then it became a manifestation of what we can only hope are Trump’s actual nightmares.”

The conceit of the special will be a little different from the series as fans know it. In the new show, President Trump hosts  a telethon to raise money for all of the projects he can’t get anyone in Congress to fund – like a border wall and infrastructure. Vice President Mike Pence,  played by executive producer Peter Grosz, will take the Oval Office with Trump to raise funds in a telethon likely to emulate the ones TV viewers know from decades past.

“I imagine if I was Roseanne Barr, I probably would not have taken the job,” said Dunne. “But I voted differently.”

Mueller hasn’t recently been in the habit of speaking to the press, but Dunne says he found various videos of the former FBI chief giving speeches and even a commencement address. “My observation in him as a character is he has no ulterior motives,” says Dunne. “He seems like a real stand-up guy to me, and Trump has every reason to be terrified.”

The actor thinks the impression will make audiences laugh, even if the actual Mueller portends something more serious. “I  think it’s easier to laugh when it comes on Comedy Central and it’s a little bit harder when the real things is on.”

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