Hot Air (2018) - full transcript

A right wing talk show host's life takes a sudden turn when his 16 year old niece comes crashing into his life.

Get ready for

The Lionel Macomb Show.

Lionel Macomb is fired up.

Oh, you're so hot,

Greetings, friends, patriots,

you're listening to Fired Up.

I'm your host, Lionel Macomb.

Your humble steward,
your deliverer of hard truths,

a beacon of light
in the dark harbor.

Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses.

Bring me your over taxed,
your underlaid,

your put-down, your fed up,

bring me your rage.

This morning, I bring you news

of a fresh threat
to our republic.

Our old friend, Judith
Montefiore "Hyphen" Salters,

has brought a new bill
to the senate floor.

Judy in her infinite wisdom

wants to offer
a fresh round of amnesty

to the millions of illegal kids
flooding our borders.

So long as they stick around
and go to college.

That's right, folks.
If you came here off the books,

but you hit the books,
you can stay put.

Maybe even steal a scholarship

from a valedictorian in Tucson,
while you're at it.

The Hyphen calls
this act of treason

the Clean Slate Initiative.
And I guess it is a clean slate.

If you want to demolish
our systems of justice

and education in one fell swoop.

I'm a practical guy.

I'm not saying
we should build a wall.

No, I... I think a... A moat
would be more effective,

with a wall behind it,
topped with coils of barbed wire

painted a dazzling
red, white, and blue.

Because make no mistake,
my friends,

we're in the midst
of a full-scale invasion here.

What kind of message
does the Clean Slate Initiative

send to the untold masses

plotting to infiltrate
our borders?

"Come on over. All is forgiven.
The more, the merrier."

This ain't a game of red rover,
folks. This is our homeland.

You know what I always say...

"No free ride."

Smart kids. But I can hear
the other side now.

"Lionel, think of the children."

I do.
That's why I never had any.

And if I did, I'd make damn sure
I set a good example to them.

It's a question
of personal responsibility.

But the Hyphen
sees things differently.

For instance, I prefer to go by
only one last name.

I mean, how many syllables
does one woman really need?

I've seen Judy up close,
too close.

And believe me,
there's not enough going on

to support all that alphabet.

The fact is, Clean Slate
is a treasonous time bomb

which makes Judy
today's public enemy numero uno.

But this fight's
bigger than Judy,

it's bigger than me which is why
I come here every day,

ready to do battle.

I know you're with me,
my army of the indignant.

My hordes of hell-raisers.

Don't stay silent,
we're gonna open up the phones.

Speak up.
So who's ready to march with me?

Who's ready to fight with me?

Hey, it's your first time
in New York?


Because, you know,
it's a big city.

You should probably
get a tour guide.

You know, it's unpredictable.

Some things
are pretty predictable.

Yeah. You got a place to stay?

I know all the best places.

Let me show you around
for the afternoon.

- No charge.
- Move.

- Move?
- I really don't care

what you do, but he does.

Lionel, do you have a minute

- to talk about Gareth Whitley?
- Gareth who?

He used to work for you. Now
he's killing you in the ratings.

- How do you feel about it?
- Hey, Wendell.

- Hi.
- How's the job search going?

I've already got a job,
Mr. Macomb.

It's promoting
a more civil tone

for our national conversation.

That come with dental?

Talk's not cheap, it's toxic.
Talk's not cheap, it's toxic.

Talk's not cheap, it's toxic.

Talk's not cheap, it's toxic.

Talk's not cheap, it's toxic.

Talk's not cheap, it's toxic.

Hi. I'm here for Lionel Macomb.

And who may I say is calling?

Actually, I'm not here
for Mr. Macomb.

My mom, she works in his
apartment housekeeping and...


Look, I need to see her...

right away.
It's a family emergency.

Well, we'll have
the maid sent down.

What's her name?

- Miss?
- I'm sorry. Sorry.

- What's happening?
- I know... I'm trying to... I...

- What's her name?
- I don't... I don't...

I don't want to make a scene.

Okay. I don't want
to make a scene. I'm...

I'm sorry. I just...
I need my mom.

- I need my mom. I need my mom.
- Just stop. Slow down.

- Lawrence, bro. Have a heart.
- Yes, sir.

Your name?


Hi. Uh, I'm sorry.

There seems to be
some confusion.

Uh, I'm... I'm new here,

so I'm not quite sure
who your mother is.

Oh, that's okay.
She's in the laundry room.

Yeah, it's fine,
I'll just wait here.


Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh, no.

Miss, I really have to ask
that you not go in there.

- Okay.
- Thank you.

- I'm sorry.
- It's fine.


Oh, my God.

Who is this?

Uh, I... I don't know, sir.

You don't know?

I asked her to wait
out in the hallway

- and she pushed me.
- She pushed you?

Well, she... pushed passed me.

She said she's
the housekeeper's daughter.

You are not my daughter.

Tyler, you're new.

- Summa cum laude at Stanford.
- Penn.

So it's unlikely
you're a complete moron.

Rule number one, do not let
strangers through my front door,

down my hall,
and into my fucking bedroom.

Yes, sir.

It's a nice place.

- It's roomy.
- Who are you?

It's kind of a long story
but the best ones are, right?

If it's okay, I'm gonna look
at him while I talk to you.

NYPD is on its way,

so I suggest you stop being cute
and answer my question.

I'm Tess...

I'm Laurie's daughter.

I'm your niece.


I thought
you were gonna say daughter.

Didn't you think
she was gonna say daughter?

How did you find out
where I live?

Follow the trail
of fire and brimstone.


Your mom talked about me?

Uh, yeah, you know,
we catch your show sometimes.

Long-time listener,
first time caller.

Well, I'm guessing you know
a little of our family history,

and based on the fact that

I never laid eyes on you
till 20 minutes ago,

you can draw
your own conclusions

about my level of interest

in your mother's life
or your own.

I'd say
pretty much non-existent.

Let's not qualify it.

So given that,
why would you come see me?

Well, um... at this point,
it's either here, or a shelter.

What about your mom,
where is she?

Hiding in the wine closet?

She's at Three Oaks.

What is it this time?

Booze? Pills?

Booze and pills?

Well, congratulations!
You've breached the keep,

but, uh,
you're gonna have to leave.

Hey, but... But I...

But I told you I don't...
I don't have anywhere to go.

That's not my problem.

It's a question
of responsibility.

Personal responsibility?

Not my personal responsibility.

You're not my kid.

I have no legal obligation
to you whatsoever.

Right, Kent?

Now, go. Get.


No, no can do, Uncle Lionel.

Yes, can do.

Can very much do.

One tweet should do it.


A short, sad story
about a 16-year-old girl

who goes looking for
her only living relative

not currently in rehab,

a gazillionaire uncle
who just happens to be

the reigning king of talk radio.

When she finally
tracks him down,

he kicks her
right back out again

onto the mean streets
of New York City.

Only to be swept up in the
tangled web of social services.

That's right, folks.
It turns out the guy

who blasts other people
for living off the system

is perfectly fine
with forcing his own family

onto the tired shoulders
of the American taxpayers.

Well, I'm...

no expert but it seems like...

I think the last problem
you need right now

in a ratings war...

with your contract up.

Right, Kent?

That's way more than
a hundred and forty characters.

It was nice
working with you, John.

I'm sorry.


We're good.
Thanks, John.

Who are you?
Another lawyer?

Oh, no.

I'm Val.
I'm a publicist actually.

I'm also Lionel's girlfriend.

And you are the invading niece.

You hungry?
You see Lorenzo made foie gras.

- Do you eat foie gras?
- It depends.

What is foie gras?

Goose liver.

Yeah, me either.

Lionel only likes it because
it's illegal in California.

I brought this.

- Can... Can I?
- Yeah, of course.

You are hungry.

Do you have any ketchup?

No, I'm serious.

So there's this
twenty-five-year-old popstar

with 40 million followers,

traipsing through
the Meatpacking District

with nothing on but a sock,

and not on his foot either.

Yeah. There's cell phone video
of the whole thing.

- How did I not know about this?
- Because I'm good at my job.

My job is to make
fools look foolish.

Val's job is to make them look
tragically misunderstood.

Sometimes, the toughest battles
are fought at home.

Because I'm a kind
and generous guy,

I've decided to let you stay
the weekend

while we figure out
what to do with you.

But I lead a private life and
I'd like to keep it that way.

Personal boundaries
may be elastic to you,

but they're not to me.

No sob stories will be broadcast

on the internet
while you're here.

- Wait a second. How old are you?
- Sixteen.

She can't sign this.
She's a minor.

This is not binding.

Kent would know that
better than anyone.

Oh, but this isn't coming
from Kent, is it?

She didn't know that.

I will show you to your room.

- Thanks.
- Good night.


Good morning,
and welcome to New York City.

Another bright and sunny day

full of promised possibility
and bullshit.

But not from me.
I'm your host, Lionel Macomb.

Morning, sunshine.

Do you want
cornflake French toast?


She wants cornflake
French toast. I got you.

Do not use the house phone.

If there's an emergency,

and there better not be,
use this.

It's okay. I have a phone.

Yeah. The nice thing about this
one is it actually makes calls.

The media room is off limits,
and the study,

and the kitchen's closed
when Lorenzo's not in it.

Where can I go?

We lost Maniker.

Just Maniker?

Maniker and EFP.

Can you buy time somewhere else?

Your numbers are holding steady,
more or less.

- Well, more or less?
- Less. Not much less.

It's a temporary dip.
The thrill of the new.

he's playing the nice guy.

He kills them with kindness.

I just kill them.

He's working
the clean-cut angle.

Born-again family man

preaching to the flock
on Sunday.

The charm will wear off.
People get tired of that.

Not for 2,000 years,
they haven't.

He's making a play.

When the nationalists
go down in flames,

he'll be there
selling holy water

to put out the fire.

All right.
Whitley's got God on his side.

But you,
you have angry factory workers,

angry farmers,
angry coal miners.

What about the coastal elites?

You didn't lose them.
You never had them.

I know. I just like saying
coastal elites.

People still need you, Lionel,

to fire them up
and light the way.

They'll get bored with Whitley.
They'll come back.

I'm sure our friends at OneVoice

are full of the same
plucky optimism.

Must be why Claremont
summoned me for lunch tomorrow,

to give me a pep talk
and a pat on the back.

- Lunch with the big boss?
- Look,

no matter what he says,

you still have time
to... To right this ship.

come September, we're...

We're gonna need a new deal.

Jesus Christ, Kent!

You're like the ghost
of a Brooks Brother.

- Just heard from Boyd.
- And?

Well, kid's story holds up.

Your sister,

she checked herself
into Three Oaks on Friday

and as of 9:52 this morning,
she's still there.

Where has Tess have been
for the past four days?

On a bus, I imagine.

Look, by all accounts,
she's a good kid.

Four schools in five years.

At or near
the top of her class every year.

She's been offered a place
at Harper in the fall.


She wants money.

They're offering her
a full ride.

- She's working an angle.
- We'll keep tabs on Laurie.

I'll let you know
if anything changes.

just keep Tess close.

Close isn't really my thing,

Well, think of it this way,

you know where she is,
no surprises.


Yo, housekeeper's daughter.

Did everything work out
for you yesterday?

Yeah, it did actually.

- Hey, thank you.
- I'm Gennady, 15D.

- Tess.
- Where are you headed, Tess?

The park.
I've never been.

You don't want to go
to the park.

I don't wanna go.
This is cruel and unusual.

It's a benefit
for Doctors Without Borders.

I wrote the doctors a check,
isn't that the point?

I respect their borders.
Why don't they respect mine?

It's good for you
to be seen right now.

I don't wanna be seen.
That's why I work in radio.

You hate the spotlight.

Valerie, darling.
Given the choice,

wouldn't you much rather be

eating pizza in the courtyard
at Rocco's right now?

Well, yeah. But last I heard,

Rocco was working
as a sommelier in Alba,

so nice try.

But is he?

Rocco, I can't believe
you're back.

Only for tonight
and only for you.

Thanks, Rocco.

You really didn't wanna go
to that benefit, did you?

No, I really didn't.

Uh, no, thanks.
Uh... I'm on medication.

Ooh, which ones?

Actually, I just...
I don't drink.

It doesn't go well
with my genes.

I respect that. I do.

Looks like you need
some new jeans.

She means her DNA, dumbfuck.

Whatever you're apologizing for,
I forgive you.

So are we gonna talk about it?

Um... well,
we're in a good place, right?

I mean, we're here
at Rocco's and...

But also a place of...

- mutual understanding...
- I'm talking about Tess,

- Lionel.
- Oh, right.

Thank God. Um...

Boyd found my sister.

We're gonna call her
first thing tomorrow,

and then we're gonna
send Tess home.

You're joking, right?

Lionel, you can't do that.

She's a kid.
She needs your help.

Nobody helped me.


Can we talk about this tomorrow?

I don't wanna upset Rocco.

He's very sensitive.

Okay. Fine.

Would you rather talk about us?

Shit. Stanford.

Remember I fired you?

Y... Yeah. I remember,
uh, vividly,

but then I got this.

"Dear Tyler..."

Who's Tyler?

That... Uh... That's... me.

Oh, right.

Uh, "I wanna apologize
for what happened yesterday.

I realized
that wasn't your fault.

I hope you will give me
another chance, Lionel."

"Give me another chance."

That sound like
a phrase I'd use?

No. Uh, not at all.

But that came
from your personal email account

and there was a key
waiting for me downstairs

- at the front desk, so...
- Well, she probably thought

she was helping you.

You really shouldn't leave
your computer open like that.

I often make that mistake
in my own home.

But thank you,
and, uh, you can go.

A... Actually, no, uh,

bring Tess here to me
and then go.

But that's the problem, sir.

You can't go in there.
You'd be all over TMZ.

That's it.
Party's over.

Fire marshal shut us down.

- We got to end it.
- Hey, we should go.

- Come on. We should go.
- Okay. Okay.

- Let's go out the back.
- Let's keep it moving.

Come on, guys.
Come on. Let's go. Let's go.

Not gonna happen, buddy.

What's up, Lionel?

Gennady Vahkrov, 15D.

Gennady? That's not a name.
That's a life sentence.

Hey, I'm Russian.

I'm sorry.

Look, dude,
I'm a fan. Truly.

But you can't talk to me
that way.

No, dude,
then how about this way?

You're a speck of trash

floating on a toxic sea.
You're lost, adrift,

clinging to velvet ropes,
designer drugs,

club girls
with subterranean self-esteem.

Your parents gave you

your desiccated heart
could ever want,

except attention.

Other people are disposable
to you because

that's the thing you secretly
fear about yourself,

that you have nothing to offer
except surface.

Your cousin, Maxim,
he's the promoter here?

Then I suggest you clear out

before I call my friends
at City Hall

and shut this depraved
carnival down for good.

Dude, she doesn't even drink,
doesn't sit well with her genes.

I thought you'd wait,

I don't know, till day two,

before you
pulled a stunt like this.

I was...

trying to make friends.

The great gonad doesn't want
your friendship.

I... I know what he wants.

That doesn't mean
I was gonna give it to him.

I don't care
what kind of gutters

you crawled around in
in Tuscaloosa

or wherever the hell,

but while you're a guest in my
house, you will carry yourself

with dignity and restraint.

- Dignity and restraint?
- Yeah.

Or you'll be out
on your ungrateful,

trailer-hopping keister.

And I don't think Mom
is taking calls these days.

Hmm. Well, it was nice of you
to care.

Come in.

You know, you could have
just said you're sorry.

I'm not.

That's not a gift.
It's an advance.

Advance on what?

Cog, welcome to the machine.

If I'm gonna extend your stay,
you're gonna earn it.

Your first job is
to go through these

and highlight everything
you love.

Anything that makes you want to

build a yurt
out of reclaimed bamboo

or volunteer
on a Costa Rican wind farm,

- I wanna see it.
- Right.

So you can use it as fodder.


Hey, wait.

Don't I get to watch you
do your show?

News, sports,
and weather.

- Happy listening.
- It's OneVoice,

where we present
The Lionel Macomb Show.

Uncle Sam is not your doctor.
That's not his... His job.

He's... The guy's...
He's not even your uncle.

Well, actually,
I do have an Uncle Sam.

Well, that's... I'm super happy
for you. I really am.

Earl Higgins.
You must be Tess?

- Yeah.
- Hi.

I don't know what you did
but I got to thank you, Tess.

He's on fire today.

I can try and
explain it to him,

but I don't think he understand

- what to say here.
- Well, Nessy, your... Your son,

would he self-identify
as a member of the left?

I don't think so.

How about we, uh,
we get him on

- to talk to his Uncle Lionel...
- N... No, no, no.

...see if I can seek him out.

Lionel, we didn't screen
the kid.

Earl's warning me
not to take the bait,

but Lionel Macomb
takes on all comers.

This show is not a safe place
for me or anyone else.

I say bring him on.
Bring them all on.

Okay, Lionel.
Here's Cory.

Hey, Cory, welcome to the show.

- Cory?
- Hello?


Cory, how old are you, son?

Five and three quarters.

Uh... Well... And your grandma,
she's not... Not too good, right?

You mean my wowee?

Yeah, your wowee.
She's, uh...

She's... She's not...
Not good, yeah?

She's in the hospital.

There's a lot of people

trying to make your... Your...
wowee feel better, right?

- Yeah.
- Your mom, doctors, nurses.

And, um...

but there are o...
Other people who've never...

even met your wowee
who think they know...

They know better.
Uh... government people.

And... And, uh,

I'll tell you a little secret
about those government people.

A secret?

They wanna kill your wowee.

I think we lost him. It's okay.
You're gonna have to find out

sooner or later, you know,
grannies die all the time.

No matter how good
your Medicare is.

An iceberg
the size of Delaware

broke off of Antarctica.

Climate change isn't a theory,
it's a fact.

It doesn't matter
if you care or not.

I care.

That... That's why
I live in a penthouse.

I moved to higher ground.

I just...

I can't... There's no...
There's no words.

I gotta say this... All right.
You know,

whenever an environmentalist
gets in a hissy fit,

I get a warm, fuzzy
feeling inside.

Does he...
Does he always do that?

Sometimes he lets them sputter
for a few seconds.

He likes it when they're so mad

they can't form
a coherent thought.

Hmm. What about bring him on?

Your uncle's a heavyweight.

And thousands of people

who want
a turn in the ring with him,

a chance to land a cheap shot
and take him down.

Don't get me wrong.

He can take every one of them.

But that's not his job.

Real fighters stop
taking punches, they get soft.

- But they stay pretty.
- No, Whole Foods.

That's where you buy your
goddamn political viewpoints,

in a little carryout bag

with your fava beans
and your hummus...


- Uh. Yeah.
- Oh, wow.

- Yeah. You got a little...
- There's something on my...

- Something on my face?
- ...something... Can you feel it?

Mm. Thank you.

You should start with
your face.

- What, up here?
- Yeah.

Oh, God.

You know, these... These things
are... Are basically foolproof.

- Foolproof?
- Yeah.

- Like, a toddler can use them.
- Like a toddler?

- Mm-hmm. Yeah.
- Mm.

You should see them make
these itty-bitty baby lattes.

- Wow.
- Pretty cute.

- Do you wanna...
- Come on, move.

Feel free to demonstrate.

- It's an art, you see?
- Mm. Yeah, show me.


Well, that's a lot of trouble
for a cup of coffee.

Yeah, well, you've never
met my boss.


Oh, you have foam in your hair.

- Let me just... Yes.
- Thank you.

Tess, this is
Judith Montefiore-Salters.

Senior senator
of the state of New York.

- And my boss.
- Yeah.

Well, try saying that
ten times fast.

It... It...
It's an honor to meet you.

So, you're the reason it takes
ten minutes to get a macchiato.

Well, without her,
it probably would've taken 20.

Uh-huh. Well, I hope Grayson
wasn't bothering you.

No. No. Not too much.

I've never met a senator's
intern before, or a senator.

And the honor is mine.

You know, your Clean Slate bill,

it's... It's causing a lot
of drama around here.

My uncle talks about it
pretty much daily.

- Good things I hope.
- Tess.

At any moment was this woman
left alone with this beverage?

You have to get Stanford
to taste it first.

Don't worry, Lionel.
It's just a little truth serum.

It'll only be fatal
to your career.

Really, Judy,
has it come to this? Stalking?

I was down the hall
doing Ben's show.

When are you gonna let me
have a turn in the hot seat?

Your show, your rules,
no preconditions?

- I promise it won't hurt.
- Please, Judy. Not in public.

What's the matter? Larry not
getting it done for you?

You looking to add
another hyphen?

Oh, God.
That's such a short walk

from the playground
to the locker room.

Isn't it?
You're a great talker, Lionel.

Not much for listening, though.

Sorry, what was that?

It's nice to meet you both.


I'm sorry.

...not cheap,
it's toxic!

Talk's not cheap, it's toxic!

Talk's not cheap, it's toxic!

Talk's not cheap, it's toxic!

You know what, you should let
the senator on your show.

It'd be good for ratings.

My ratings are
perfectly healthy, thank you.

I just mean, you know, maybe

it would be good to break out
of your bubble a little bit.

I like my bubble.

It has a private jet,
cellars of Château Margaux,

and heaping piles
of instant gratification.

It's just a suggestion.

Don't worry about me, kid.

I got all the attention
I can stand.

Next Wednesday night.

Joining us tonight from
New York is Gareth Whitley.

Rising star of Talk Radio.

Welcome, Gareth,
good to have you.

Blessed to be here, Jane.
Thank you.


It's like going to the doctor's,
no fun,

but you still got to know
what's going on.

...from the flame thrower
himself, Lionel Macomb.

The master. None better.

You were his intern,

his sidekick...

...and his heir apparent.

So, Gareth, what changed?

Well, listen, Jane.

- I owe a lot to Lionel.
- Yes, you do.

I wouldn't be
where I am without him.

But, you know, after a while, I
knew I had to follow my calling

- Go my own way.
- Lots of people...

- Does he paint his teeth?
- Yes, he does.

- Huh.
- And he probably

bleaches his asshole.

- I feel very blessed.
- And you've talked

about how faith and parenthood
affected your work.

Tell us more.

Here comes
the frozen lake story.

Three, two, one.

I was walking in the woods
with my daughter, Evie.

We came upon this frozen lake.

And Evie stopped.

And she just stood at that lake

staring for what must've been
two to three minutes.

Not saying a word.

Holding my hand.

Watching the sun shine
on the ice.

It was heavenly.

I stood beside her...

...looking at her
look at the world.

And I remember thinking

about the show
that I was doing with Lionel.

And then I thought,

"Is that really how
I wanna spend my time?"

You know, use my voice?
Is that what I want

my little baby girl
to see of her father?

And in that moment,
it stopped adding up for me.


It was time.

Now, there's some speculation
that your meteoric rise

has led to a falling out
with Mr. Macomb.

No. Not at all.

There's room for both of us
under the tent.

No, there's not.

So, what does Lionel think
about this friendly fire?

Have you
spoken with him about it?

You know, Jane,
I've reached out.

He waved.
Waving is not reaching.

But I have faith
that he'll come around.

In fact, we're actually
putting on

a little event next month.

An old-fashioned
revival type thing

full of good talk
and honest debate.

It will be televised live

in front of
a studio audience, and...

I'm hoping
that Lionel will agree

to be my special guest.

So, what do you say, Lionel?

Would you that
for an old friend?

Pushing the buttons works, too.

What do say we get some air?

♪ I have something
to sing about now ♪

♪ And I want the world to know

♪ Just why the moon's aglow ♪

♪ Why stars are
Waking up above ♪

♪ I am in love ♪

♪ I have something
To sing about now ♪

- ♪ My heart is so full... ♪
- Hey! Macomb!

Your ego is blocking the screen!

Go home, prick!

Your views
are bullshit, man!

I know you can hear me,

- Oh, bad boy's getting up.
- Lionel.

- Hey! Sit down!
- Nice to meet a fan.

- Shh!
- Come on!

Hey, asshole, sit down!
This ain't even your show.

How do you sleep at night?

- Shh!
- On a mattress stuffed with cash

and the broken dreams
of Hillary Clinton.

You selfish prick!
Go home!

♪ I'm in love ♪

You suck, Macomb!

You should've seen these jackals
trying to tell me

where I can go in my city.

I'll tell them
where they can go.

Well, now,
maybe if you treated people

with a little respect,

- it'd come back at you.
- What? Do unto others?

Nope. Never heard it.
You should trademark that.

You're very rude, sir.

I'm trying to have
a genuine conversation.

No, Ernie.
You're coming on my show

trying to teach me
about respect.

Buddy, tell me, what do you know
about respect?

Only what
I learned during

three tours in Afghanistan.

And whose side were you on?

You shouldn't talk
to people that way, Lionel.

Or else what?

I'll be elected president?

Your buddy, Ernie,
should appreciate

what I do more than anyone.

That's what he fought for.

To come home
and get reamed at on the radio

by some smug, angry, rich guy?

His mission is
to defend our freedom.

I'm exercising that freedom.

Wow. Yeah.
They should give you a medal.

They have.

So, anyone can say whatever
they wanna say

whenever they wanna say it?

- Yes. It's called honesty.
- They were honest last night.

- How'd that feel?
- That's different.

In person, it's personal.
I don't go into people's homes

and spit bile while they eat.

- That's exactly what you do.
- They don't have to listen.

No. They can always
switch over to Whitley.

I seriously don't get
what Val sees in you.

She is smart, funny, loyal,
successful, kind.

I'm smart, funny,
and successful.

Yeah. You're missing a couple
of key ingredients there.

Strong women can take it.

Why do you cheat?

Because I'm all fucked up
deep down inside.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Lionel Macomb.

Lionel should get one of these.

It'd go great with that
huge painting of himself.

That was a birthday gift,

From Lionel to Lionel.

Your uncle has got
some rough edges but, you know,

there's parts of him
that might surprise you.

Give him time.

Don't get me wrong,

I appreciate
what he's doing for me.

It's nice of him to let me stick
around for a few more weeks

considering how much
he seems to hate me.

Lionel doesn't hate you.

I know,
it's my mom he can't stand.

No. He doesn't hate
your mom, either.

How can you tell?

Because he doesn't
talk about her.

Spent a lot of time
in libraries.

Hey, hey.

Got you something.

Oh, since when are you shy?
Come on. Come on.

I thought it'd be good
for your room at Harper.

- How...
- Lionel did his homework.

We know your blood type,
your first crush.

Harper is a wonderful school.
You'll be very happy there.

Yeah. I'm sure I would be.

What? You're not gonna go?


I don't know. I want to. But...

Your mom?

- She doesn't want you to go?
- No, she does.

You should've seen her
the day that I got in. She...

She started making
these guttural shrieking noises,

like an angry dolphin
or something, but...

in a totally thrilled
and proud way.

Mm. That's the problem
with dolphin noises.

We made a deal.

My mom gets help.

She actually sees it through
this time.

Then I'll go to Harper.

I mean, I wanna go...

more than anything.

- But first I need to know...
- She's okay.

Please don't tell Lionel.
He would never understand.


- your mom's getting help, right?
- Yeah.

So, there's nothing to tell.

Sounds like you made
a good deal.


Well, then we can move on
to more important things

like where are we
going to have lunch?

I'm starving.

I once had someone deported
for looking into that picture.

And he was from Maine.

You look happy.

I wasn't.

Uh, we were supposed to
go to Mount Rushmore.


It was stupid, but
I was... I was dying to see it.

So, one day your grandmother

piles me and your mother
into the car.

I ask her where we're going
and she just smiles.

Two days later,

you know where we end up?

Ossineke, Michigan.


Instead of Mount Rushmore,
I got Dinosaur Gardens.

There was a guy she wanted
to see in Rogers City.

So, it worked out great.

So, why the smile?

The smile was not for her.

My mom took this.

She used to take pictures
of everything.

Like our life was this big,
important exhibit

she was curating.

Kept them all in
a busted-up shoe box,

called her family album.

But, uh...

you have her camera now,

so I'm guessing
she gave that up.

Does she still
have the pictures?

Mm. Well, that's
a warm, fuzzy memory

to keep tucked away
in your desk.

Well, that's what
families are for.

They remind you of
all the things you...

secretly hate and fear
about yourself.

Wow. I can't wait to get
your Christmas card.

That was an important day
for me.

That was the day I learned
who I could really count on.

If you're lucky, you'll have
a day like that, too.

Yeah, I've had plenty.

Not enough.

Now, get out of my chair.

Judy the Hyphen is begging
to come on my show

to yammer about Clean Slate.

She is getting desperate,
I'm telling you.

Something must be missing
at home.

Stay tuned for
The Lionel Macomb Show

after these messages.

Why do you always do that?

You can't just
talk about her ideas?

You gotta hit the fact that

she's a woman
having those ideas?

She... She is a woman. Isn't she?

She's a ranking member of
the Senate Judiciary Committee.

It's insulting.

It's like, "Isn't this cute,

she's walking around
in Daddy's shoes."

What would you know
about Daddy's shoes?

See? You're getting nasty

'cause you can't handle
an actual debate.


Hi, folks. Please welcome
to the show my niece, Tess.

You'll have to excuse her.
She's 16 and female.

Say hi, Tess.


Come on, Tess.
This... This is your big shot.

You want an actual debate.
This is your chance.


Tess would like to offer
a tearful defense

for these Clean Slate kids.

Tell us, o young and wise one,

why they deserve to be rewarded
for breaking the law?

They didn't break the law,
their parents did.

Then they should take it up
with their parents,

- not the federal government.
- They are just kids.

They've got nowhere to go.
Put yourself in their shoes.

I didn't know they had shoes.

You know,

you're missing a great
opportunity here, Lionel.

You should just use this bill
as a Trojan horse.

You should offer them

get them to come forward

then just round them up
and deport them.

That would be
a real clean slate, right?

I like that idea.

You remind me of me.

You just ambushed me
in front of a million people.

I ambushed you in front
of three million people.

Whatever happened
to straight talk?

People don't want straight talk.

They want memes, soundbites.

Hyper-articulated divination
of the noise inside their heads.

Nobody wears a T-shirt
saying "I love nuance".

Right. And you just sit back
and fan the flames.

I shape the conversation,
think it's easy doing what I do?

What do you do Lionel,

For three hours a day,
I give people a sense of power

in a cruel
and indifferent world.

And how long have you've been
offering this magnificent power?

Twenty-one years.

And have things gotten
any better?

They have for me.

Have you ever changed
anyone's mind about anything?

Don't know. Don't care.

Have you ever changed your mind?

Never had to.

Have you ever thought
about the possibility

for just one second
that you might be wrong?

I was only wrong once,

and that's when
I thought I was wrong,

but it turned out I was right.

You are so damaged.

And you always have to
have the last word.

you just had the last word.

That... It's unfair.
It's a perfect shutdown.

There's nothing I can say.
If I answer you win.

If I shut up you also win.

You must still be mad at me.

You barely touched
your fifth plate.

Where's Lorenzo?

I told him you said he could
have the rest of the day off.

You live in my home,
eat my food,

go to work into my office
in clothes I bought you.

You may not respect
what I do but, uh,

you got to admit,
it has its perks.

She looks so small.

She is small.
It's her mouth that's huge.

She's getting to you.

I can't get over how
quiet it is here.

You're okay with that?

- I don't know.
- Not really, right?

I could start howling for you?

Yeah, I think I'd like that.

Everybody I wanna talk to
is right here.

Kent? You're supposed to be
on vacation.

Talking to me is not vacation.

Okay. Thank you.

What is it?
What happened?

Laurie checked out of rehab
last Thursday.

Two weeks early.

Boyd has no idea where she is.

Okay. You know what, don't,
um... Don't tell Tess yet.

Not until we figure this out.

And certainly not
when you're angry.

I'm always angry.

You're saying I should
lie to Tess

so I don't hurt her feelings?

No. I'm not saying...
Well, I just...

You know, do what you do,
just spin it.

Kent thinks we should try
for emancipation.

We'd have to stick it out
for the summer,

but, after that, she'd be
on her own and off to school.

- She won't go.
- What do you mean she won't go?

I mean, they made a deal.

Tess will only go to Harper
if her mom is in a good place.

I promised
I wouldn't say anything,

she didn't think
you'd understand.

No. Because I'm a sane person.

And who gives a shit
if they had a deal?

Laurie clearly doesn't.

She's broken every deal
she ever made.


I'm gonna tell
that girl to go to school.

I thought you said lost those?

No. These are mine.

And, by the way,
I didn't lose anything.

Late last year,
we were crashing in Marfa

with this asshole,
Doug Peppers.

One night, my mom woke me up

and said that
we had to leave fast.

And we were halfway to town
before she realized that...

she left the box
underneath his bed.

And I knew it was bad
because she would not go back.

Not even for that.

It was our whole history.

Trust me.
You're better off without it.

Hey, you...
You okay there, Lionel?

Come on.
What are we doing in here?

Let's go kick some people
off my private beach.

Hey. Uh,
you've got a call on two,

because apparently
I take calls for you now.



Oh. You have to go.
Harper's an amazing school.

- You went there?
- Uh, no. Andover.

- Oh.
- Uh-huh.

Is that where you became
the bright-eyed,

congressional coffee making
idealist you are today?

Uh, well, growing up, my uh,
house was sort of

negatively charged,
my parents are both lobbyists.

And, uh, they'd spend their days

working the Hill
for Big Tobacco,

then they'd come home
and tell me not to smoke.

It was a comfortable life,
but, uh,

eventually I realized
I want to work

for something
I really believed in.

You're not gonna use
that thing on me, are you?

- You like photography.
- I like history.

Whenever my, uh... My mom and I
moved somewhere new,

there'd always be
something like that.

You know,
an old movie theater or...

a memorial in town square.

Nothing is permanent,

but some things
last longer than you think.

Stuff like that always
made me feel at home.

Even if I wasn't.


- Ooh!
- No! That's not fair.

- What?
- You didn't warn me.

- Of course I did.
- No. I'm gonna look ridiculous.

No, you look great.
You may look a little blue,

- a little hint of magenta.
- Hmm.

How was lunch?

- Hey, does he... Does...
- Relax. He doesn't know.

For someone who seems
to cringe at my presence,

you pay an awful lot of
attention to me.

- Well, it's my job.
- To babysit?

To protect Lionel from the petty
annoyances of everyday life.

But if you think you need
a babysitter,

he'll probably ask me
to do that, too.

I don't see
what you have against me,

I got you your job back.

You got me fired.

Call it even?

Sure. Yeah.
Call it whatever you want.

Just, uh... be careful with
that Grayson kid. Okay?

That shy smile
and that helpful little squint.

I've seen that smile before.
And it works, too.

But... what's it working toward?

You're spending way too much
time around Lionel.

Oh, yeah. Definitely. Yeah.
It's a problem.

Whitley can work his side of
the street, I'll work mine.

Whitley's peeping over
your side of the street.

Overall, we're down
28 percent since June.

- More in major markets.
- You need to show him

you still got some fight in you.

We're running out of time,

If it's about my deal,
don't worry, I can take less.

- I'm not talking about money.
- I am.

- I'm talking about irrelevance.
- Go on his show.

Whitley's show, his revival
thing, you should do it.

All right, that... That...
That's a high noon scenario.

Only one person walks away.

And you're saying
it won't be me?

Whitley didn't invite you
because he wants you to show up,

he invited you
because he thinks you won't.

You get in the ring,
he's already wrong.

Prove him wrong.

Get out of here.

I'll never
get used to that.

It's good to be back.

Nice of you
to cross the street.

Hmm. Well, I do what I can
for old friends.

You know, it's been
a really tough summer.

And I hope we could both
rise above it.

We got the chance to do
something really exciting here.

Oh, sure. Uh, if I do this,
I'm billed as co-host,

not special guest.
I sign off on all publicity.

Talking points
to be set in advance.

- No straying, no surprises.
- Fine by me.

I have approval
of lighting and set design.

No God-rays,

no scripture, no stained-glass.
This isn't The Revival.

Yeah, but for your sake,
you better hope it is.

- There he is.
- Is there anything else

you wanna do on my show?

Oh, horns poking out
beneath his halo.

You know,
I know you don't realize this,

but I'm actually trying
to do you a favor here.

See you on the air.

Would you get me a coffee?

Excuse me.

Come here.

A young man left this for you.

Here's to things
that last.


How romantic.


Now I know what to get my wife
for our anniversary.

- Thank you.
- You're welcome.

Yes, that's Marfa, Texas.

I know. I'm sorry.

Thank you, Boyd... um, if...

If there's anything I can do
to make it up to you,

be sure to let me know.

You want...

Boyd, I... I really...
I really don't think I'm...

best man material.

I... Can't I...
Can't I just pay you?

Okay. Thanks, buddy.

That was weird.

What is this?

That is none of your business.

It's an emancipation
request with my name on it.

It seems like it is my business.

Well, technically, yes.

I appreciate what you're
trying to do, Lionel, but...

I don't need that,
I've got my mom.

Oh, yeah, yeah,
you got a deal, right?

She gets out next Friday,

she'll come up for me,
and then I'll go to school.

Does she know you're here?

What if I just sent you packing?

Well, maybe she
had more faith in you.

Well, then she's
as delusional as you are.

You don't even know her anymore.

I don't need to.
I had a mother just like her.

They are the undertow.

By the time you realize you're
drowning, it's already too late.

Get out now while you still can.

Maybe I don't wanna be somebody
who just looks out for myself.

Well, if you don't,
no one else will.

Laurie sure as hell won't.

You've got all of this.

She has nothing.

You won, and yet you still
walk around like this...

pissed off little kid

with your stupid
dinosaur mug screaming,

"Remember my pain."

Why are you still so angry,

Why can't you just let it go?

You like pictures, right?

Let me tear you a page
from the family album. Uh...

Pelahatchie, Mississippi, 1981.

I'm a sophomore.

Your mother is 17-years-old.

And our mother is shacked up
with Roy Meloy.

Roy's hobbies included flicking
lit Pall Malls in my face

while I'm doing my homework,
and ogling Laurie

like she's next up

once he decides
to trade in the old model.

Laurie decides to cut loose,

she asked me
if I wanna join her.

I'm scared but I say,
"I'm in. I'm all in."

So, we make a plan.

Laurie's boyfriend has a car.

She has a friend in Austin
who can put us up.

I flip burgers all summer

and put every last greasy buck
into our escape fund.

We're gonna get a lawyer.

I do the paperwork, find me
a place to finish high school.

Finally, the big day comes,

we're supposed to meet
at 6:00 a.m.

in the lot behind in the school.

I wait there for four hours.

I finally go home.

I'm still expecting
Laurie to be there.

I'm thinking maybe I...
Somehow, I... I... I got confused.

And I look in my bag
and the money's gone.

And so is Laurie.

She didn't even leave a note.

I had to stay in that hellhole
for two more years

before I could
work my way out for good.

That was a long time ago.

Your mom checked out of
the center six days ago, Tess.

What? She didn't tell you?

She left, again.

She always leaves.

You're cruel.

It runs in the family.

Will you leave?

I have to
wait for my mom.

I know
what you're thinking, but...

it's different with me, I'm
the only one she's never left.

What about Harper?

I mean, I know it's not like

the emotional focal point
at the moment,

but, I don't know,
maybe you can still go?

Yeah, maybe.

Look, there's still hope.

All you know
is what Lionel told you.

And he's
a professional fear-monger,

you know he only said that stuff
because he's scared.

- What? Of me?
- Of you.

Of Whitley. Of... Of everything.

Standing on an iceberg,
breathing fire,

wondering why he's sinking.

I mean, Lionel's way too angry.

You're not angry enough,
get angry!

Okay. If he can't handle me,
Whitley is gonna eat him alive.

Maybe that's not
such a bad thing.

Lionel can say the most
subhuman things and I...

I... I still can't decide
if I just...

I wanna save him
from himself or...

if I wanna wave a giant fan
while he goes down in flames.

How about both?

Talk... Talk's not cheap,
it's toxic.

Talk's not cheap, it's...
Remember that, it's toxic, guys.

Oh, there are a few last-minute
tweaks. I hope you don't mind.

Quiet, please.
We're live in five...

- Good luck.
- ...four...

- Go fuck yourself.
- ...three...




Hey. Hey, guys.
Thank you so much. Wonderful.

Wonderful, wonderful.

Thank you.
You guys, please!

I feel you all, right here.

Woo. Okay. Incredible.

Welcome, friends.

We're so glad you could join us.

Glad... and humbled.

Glad you could join me, too,
my friend.

- The pleasure's all yours.
- It truly is.

How about another
round of applause

for the legendary Lionel Macomb.

Come on.
Let's hear it a little bit more.

Now, Lionel and I have gone
our separate ways,

but we've come together today
because we believe

we're a part of something bigger
than ourselves.

We may not agree on everything,
but in division,

we become weak.

We lose focus.

- The flock strays.
- Sure,

if you think of yourselves
as sheep.

You know, in many ways,

we're farther apart
than we've ever been.

Left and right.

Rich and poor.

The faithful and the doubtful.

We can't survive
in an echo chamber, people.

So, in the spirit of

I'd like to welcome
a very special guest.

The senior senator
from New York,

Judith Montefiore-Salters.

Come on, people,
let's show her our spirit.

Keep it going.
Keep it going for Judith.

Come here, Judith.

Thank you.


It's unconscionable.
How can you relate to be...

These are human beings,
when you tell these kids

to go back home, that's...
That's... That's...

Cleveland, that's Dallas,
that's Queens.

This is their country, too,
and yet, you would deprive them

of their basic rights
and opportunities.

Rights they're not entitled to,

they don't deserve.

I'd like to believe we could
stick to our time-honored values

of hard work and accountability

and save a little room
for compassion.

Compassion? Isn't that the name
of the Sri Lankan housemaid

you got working up
at your chalet in Vale?


You benefited from opportunity,

From the hard work
and generosity of others.

We... We all did,
that's how we got here.

Oh, that's how
you got here, I... I...

owe nothing
because I came from nothing.

I... I fought, I clawed.

Oh, o... Of course.

Everything you got,
you earned yourself.

And everything I got
was given to me.

Probably by a man.

I don't... I don't know
how you got where you are,

Judith, it's not a place
I'd brag about being either.

I'm here because I said

the things
that needed to be said.

But people need
something different now.

Right. And you're the guy
to give it to them.

Well, if they let me,
I'm gonna try.

You're gonna have to do
better than that, Gareth.

Because anybody out here
who is really listening,

knows that you're singing
the same songs

your old friend, Lionel,
just in a different key.

Haven't you heard, Judy,
Gareth here has seen the light.

Yeah, I've known this man
a long time.

The only light he's ever seen

is the one that blinks
when the camera is on.

I'm worried about you, Lionel.

The people who love you,
they're worried, too.

This anger, this vitriol.

It's bad for the soul.

Oh, that old thing,

I sold that
a half-a-lifetime ago,

but, uh, now
I can play me a mean guitar.

Well, then,
I'll give you this, my friend.

These are fearful times.

And you understand fear
better than just about anyone

and that understanding
doesn't come easy.

You learned it as a kid.

A kid who hid in the backseat,

every time his mom
went to the bank

to cash her welfare check.

A kid who was so ashamed he
couldn't pay for school lunch,

he would wait until
the cafeteria was empty

and grabbed his tray.

A kid who felt left down
and left behind

by the very people
who were supposed to love him.

His poor, troubled mother.

God rest her soul.

And his own sister...

who abandoned him
in a parking lot.

You know, I think underneath
all your bravado,

you've always been
that scared little kid

and right now,
you're downright terrified.

You thought you had a movement,
but all you had was a moment.

You've got a unique opportunity
here, Lionel.

To remember where you came from,

to go a different way.

That was really...
That was really beautiful.

- Gareth, really.
- Thank you.

So, so heartfelt,
I actually almost believed it.

That must be why you guys
love Whitley so much

because you can sit here
and listen to him

remake God in his own image.

- That's not true.
- Well, I got news for you.

Whitley doesn't care about you.

No one on the stage gives a damn
about you or your problems.

If we actually fix them,

we'd have
nothing to argue about.

We're all playing you.

We get rich and powerful
by yanking your strings

and you're dumb enough
to bow down and lap it up.

That is
awfully cynical, Lionel.

This country has its problems,
serious ones.

In some ways,
I've never been more concerned.

But deep down, we all want
the same basic things.

Freedom, justice...

- respect.
- Yes, exactly.

And that's why we're here,
to talk things out,

to rediscover our common ground,

because after all,
the things that we share...

are the things that make us
truly exceptional.

You really believe
we're exceptional?

Now? Today?

Of course I do, Lionel.

Don't you?

I believe I'm exceptional.

I believe you are
a hypocritical charlatan,

and you, Senator,
are a sanctimonious twot.

You're angry.

You should be.

Our best days are behind us.

And they're not coming back.

No promised land awaits you.

This was your paradise,
and what did you do with it?

You turned it into a horrific
parade of war, poverty...

violence, greed, and despair.

A thousand rough beasts
slouching toward Bethlehem.

Yes, the end is nigh,
my friends.

Yet you live out your days

wallowing in
a disposable selfie culture.

Addicted to opioids
and bad news.

You elect a deranged conman
just to see what happens.

You worship at the Apple Store,

lining up around the block
by the latest shiny new window

into someone else's
curated life.

Post pictures of
dead Syrian kids on Facebook

and 15 seconds later,

you're shopping for yoga pants
made by an eight-year-old

in a Bangladeshi sweat shop.

Now, you be sure to tell
the veteran pumping your gas,

"Thanks for your service."
He put a tiger in your tank.

Put your hand on your heart,

you wear
your heart on your sleeve,

but who cares about real
feelings when you got emojis?

You know, you put all your faith
in a... In a non-existing god

and politicians and corporations

who treat you like
indentured servants.

False prophets telling you what
to feel, think, what to buy,

who to worship, hate, fuck.

we profit off your suffering

from the retched futility

of your most ardent
hopes and dreams.

And do you hold us to account?

You're too bored.

Too lazy.

Too fickle.

Too petty, too mean.

You are complacent and corrupt.

You lie, you cheat,
and you steal.

We're just better at it
than you are.

So, you worship us.

You throw gold

at... At the jack-booted feet
of the Wall Street raiders.

The gunrunners,
the pill-peddlers,

the Bible bangers,
the reality TV stars.

You got your heads
buried in your phones,

holding fast to the myth
of your own greatness.

Well, power down, people!

Take a look around,

the American dream
is dead and buried.

And you're dancing on its grave.

He finished?

Yeah, I think he's finished.

Tess? That was amazing.

I mean,
your uncle just committed

- career suicide on national TV.
- Leave.

Oh, come on.
What's he gonna do?

Lionel is not the one you should
be afraid of right now.

I told you that stuff
in confidence.

That's my family.

- I trusted you.
- Well, maybe

you shouldn't have
told me those things.

I mean,
I'm not on his side, Tess.

What'd you think
was gonna happen?

You know what?
It doesn't matter.

I'm the one
who stabbed him in the back.

You just gave me the scissors.

- Uh...
- Let's grab dinner,

and take a breath
and figure the rest out later.

- Are you okay?
- Never better.

- What, you think you won?
- I know I did.

There's no such thing
as being too outrageous.

Not anymore.

You have no problem
with what just happened?

Just one.

I never told Whitley
any of that personal stuff.

What else did you tell him?

- She didn't mean to do it.
- Stay out of this, Stanford.

The Grayson kid.

He tricked her, and...
And she didn't know

that he'd use
any of this against you.

And you won, right?

It's late.

I'll go check on her.


Nothing's come in
over the radio.

She won't have much money.

We've got eyes at Penn Station,
and the Port Authority.

Someone will pick her up.

Is she here?


Send her up.

You have a visitor.

I'm pretty sure that's closed.

I'm not going back.

There's nothing you could say
that's gonna change my mind.

What about me?


Yeah, the whole place
is kinda like this.

I wouldn't know.

He stopped me at the elevator.


Oh, hey.

Uh, Lionel got you a suite
at the Essex house.

Two bedrooms,
view of the park, really nice.

That was all Tyler.

Don't give me any credit,

Well, we're very grateful.

- God, you're so grey.
- Uh,

Take them... Take them down to
the hotel and get them set up.

Oh, we can handle it.

And make sure
they take out the minibar.

That... I know I've got
no right to ask you, but, um...

I'm still working on
our next step

and I was thinking
if it wasn't too much trouble...

- How long do you need?
- A week. Two, tops.

- So, I could make a plan.
- Why start now?

Well, that went well.

So, New York City, huh?

Don't you just love it? Come on.

- Tell me everything.
- Okay.

And then you wanted
to get your ears pierced.

So, uh, what's the plan?

Cathy Mercer
has a sister in Fayetteville

and she can hook me up
with some temp work down there.

I feel really hopeful this time.

I learned a lot about myself
these past few weeks.

Then why'd you leave?

Because I miss my girl.

But we had a deal, Mama.

I know, and I... I went.

I went, and I did it, and I
got what I could out of it.

Just to stay there any longer

seemed like a waste of time
and money, so...

Do they give you a refund
if you check out early?


I see Uncle Lionel
has rubbed off on you.

No, he hasn't.

I get it.

He came through for you
in the clutch.

Gave you a fancy place to crash.

Bought you some nice things.
Things I could never give you.

You really think I care
about all that stuff?

- Well...
- I only...

ever just wanted you to be okay.

Mom, look at me, can you promise
me you're gonna be okay?

I want to,

but I'm not supposed to make
any big promises right now.

Okay? That's one of the things
that I learned.

It's what they teach you.

I've just got to take it
day by day, right now.

Day by day.

You know I want to...

be one of those
Harper moms, right?

That you see
on the website and...

where they play squash,

And wear those big
stupid straw-hats, right?

It just might take me
a little longer to get there.

Do a sit down with Anderson,

open up about your past
and your anger issues,

the steps you're taking
in becoming a better man,

admit that you said things
that you shouldn't have.

What were those?

This story is gonna be in

the first paragraph
of your obituary,

I really wish
you would take it seriously.

I am!

This is a gift, Val.

How are my numbers?

Come on, I know you're polling.
What do they say?

They love you.

And why would I
apologize for that?


Great. You, uh, ha!
You got a bump.

Do you really think

that they give a shit
about you, Lionel?

They just wanna see you
burn the house down.

They don't even care
if you're still inside.

In fact,
they don't care what you do

just as long as it's big.

Then I better make it big.

- What about Tess?
- What about her?

I'm tired of trying
to fix this, Lionel.

I... I... I can't.

I just, I... I...

I can't.

Maybe it seems like
a small thing,

this choice you're making.

Small choices can have
major consequences.

You really think
they'd give it to me?

I do.

In the language,
it's a bit cold.

Makes it sound like
you're cutting all ties.

But you're simply
freeing yourself

to chart your own course.

I appreciate this...

but I'm good.

My mom and I, we figured
things out on our own.

She signed your letter?

She didn't sign it because
I didn't want her to sign it.

She's leaving tomorrow
and I'm going with her.

Opportunities like this...

they're very rare.

So are mothers.

Yeah, she needs me,
but I need her, too.

I won't ask you to understand.

Thank you, Kent.


Hey. Uh,
Claremont on two.

Hello, Arthur.

Lionel, my boy,
I wanted to wish you luck today

This is a big moment for you.

Your first show back

since you told Uncle Sam
to go fuck himself.

You're the last
of a great breed.

Joe's doing a goddamn podcast,

Glen just walks around
hugging people.

I'm proud of you, son.

You tapped a new vein here.

Don't back down,
just keep being an angry prick

and then we'll be laughing all
the way to the bank.

Thank you, sir.

With friends like that,
who needs family, right?

I think a guy from Stanford

would know when to keep
his trap shut.

I guess that's a good thing
I didn't go to Stanford, then.

I know.

You went to Penn.

Tell them
I'll be back in a minute.

But you're on in 10.

Give me a minute.
And you just gave it to him?

Do you realize
what we've got riding on this?

Jerry, get a tape out,
just in case.



Lionel, no.

Lionel, no.

No, no, no, no.

It's a bad idea.

Get ready for

The Lionel Macomb Show.

Lionel Macomb is fired up.

Oh, you're so hot,

N... Now?
Am I speaking? Oh.

Don't do that. Don't do that.
Don't do that.

I'm sorry.

Hello, America.

Um, it's Wendell.

I'm sitting in for Lionel.

Lionel Macomb.

He's usually here.

Um... It's his show,
most of the time.

But he... He's out,
so, I'm... It's Wendell,

and, um, I just wanted
to say to begin,

I'd like to say one...
Just one thing.

I can't imagine
what's that gonna be.

Talk's not cheap, it's...
Oh, they can't see it.

Talk's not cheap, it's...
It's toxic.

Oh, well, I'm honored.

I got myself a private audience
with the king.

You can save the speech, Lionel,
I know why you're here.

Where's Tess?

Tess made up
her own mind, just...

accept that and wish us well.

She's 16-years-old.

By definition,
she's mentally unsound.

She'd follow you anywhere
and you know it.

She's still a kid.

She's not supposed to
leave me yet.

Someday, she's gonna leave.

You keep going like this,
she may not come back.

You should know.

I'm sorry that I couldn't
be your mother, Lionel.

I was 17-years-old.

I was barely older
than Tess is now.

I didn't know anything.

I'm sorry.

You don't need to be my mother.

Just be hers.

Tess is the one good thing
in my life, you know.

She's the one good thing I have.

I know I don't deserve her,
you think I don't know that?

I'm trying, really trying.

I can't... I can't lose her.

She is the only thing that has
always been there for me.

But that's not her job.

She thinks she can save you.

We both know
it doesn't work like that.

How many fifths of Beam
did we water down?

How many wolves did we try
and chase out the door?

Pete Stubbs.

Ralph Sorensen.

Oh, God.
Do you remember Buddy Reynolds?

Buddy Wrecker.

Yeah. Buddy the Home Wrecker.

Oh, God. Do you...
Do you remember the time

that you put his Barracuda
in neutral?

To see if it would
roll down the hill.

The goddamn thing

was halfway down the driveway

before we realized
that son of a bitch

was passed out in the backseat.

I... I... I didn't...
Didn't know that.

Why do you care, Lionel?

I've been asking myself
the same question for weeks.

I know you've done real well
for yourself,

telling other people
how to think, but...

you don't get to do that here.

Can I tell you what I think?

You keep running
too fast, too far, too long,

you end up right back
where you started.

You become the thing
you're running from.

She won't stop running
unless you do.

Stop running.

I... I know it's
a cliché,

but you really don't understand
a person's life

until you've walked
a mile in their shoes.

And so, I actually find
that it's a helpful exercise,

um, literally and figuratively.

So why... Why don't you try it?

You go outside
to the grocery store

and stop a fellow pedestrian

and say, "Hey, would you mind
if we trade shoes

and I walk in yours for a mile
or maybe two,

if the weather permits?"

Um, you know,
sometimes they ignore you,

sometimes you lose your shoes,

um, and sometimes
you get athlete's foot.

- But I think it...
- How... How much time we have?

Two hours.

...we can learn something really
valuable about other people's...

uh... lives and feet.

Okay. Thank you for your call.

All right.
That's enough. That's enough.

- Out of the studio.
- No, I'm...

- Out of the studio right now.
- But I still have

so many more callers to take.


I love a good road trip.


He's not gonna come, is he?

I'm sure he would have,
but, you know, he's got the show

and that crippling inability
to express his vulnerability.

There you go again,
making him look good.


Actually, I've decided not
to do that... anymore.

I have been doing it
way too long.

I've got this crazy idea

that I should stop
trying to fix people

and do what's best for me
for a while.

- Wish me luck.
- You don't need it.

If you need me,
you know where to find me.

You're gonna let me know
where to find you, too?

Yeah, of course.

You know that I'm gonna be fine.

This is yours, by the way.

It'll look great
wherever you choose to hang it.

Thank you.

You helped me a lot.

Mom, we need to talk.

I know.

Get ready for

The Lionel Macomb Show.

Lionel Macomb is fired up.

Oh, you're so hot,

Well, friends, it seems that
I made a few headlines lately.

Uh, last week,
the guys in charge

decided to give me
another chance.

You gave me another chance,
and I gave you Wendell.

You know, most of the time,
I, uh, I think I make you feel

pretty good about yourselves,
make you feel righteous,

powerful, angry.

I... I say the things that
you wish you could say.

But sometimes,
I'm gonna rub you the wrong way

And I make no excuses.

Did I call you
lazy, fat, and stupid?

Not directly, but, uh,

let's face it, some of you
could stand to lose a few.

You know,
if you spend too much time

in front of a microphone
in a padded room,

you forget there are things
that you need

that you can't give yourself.

A song by Johnny Cash.

An honest ear, a...
A kick in the ass.

That stuff has to come
from somewhere else.

Maybe it comes from you.

You know, we're not one
big, happy American family.

It doesn't exist.

I mean, we sit down
to Thanksgiving dinner,

try and forget
what happened the year before.

We... We argue, we... We screw up,
we make a mess of things,

but... we keep
coming back to the table.

Especially if
we want a fifth helping.

You know, we don't have to
see eye to eye all the time.

We can disagree
without being disagreeable.

And don't call in to say that
Barack Obama said that, I know.

You know, a friend of mine
once asked me,

"Lionel, have you ever
considered for just one second

the possibility
that you might be wrong?"

And I had a quick comeback,
like I always do.

But a comeback's not an answer.

I thought I had all the answers

that I didn't think there was
anything I... I needed to know,

especially from a teenager.

You know, most of the time,
I'm... I'm right on the money.

I mean, I'm laser-sharp.

But, sometimes,
I've said things that I regret.

I've, uh... I've been wrong.

You probably think you know me
pretty well by now, but, um...

well, we all of us have stuff
that we like to keep hidden.

Stuff that we don't
want to remember

but we can't
bring ourselves to forget.

So we... We... We put it in a box

and put that box
in the bottom drawer.

And most days,
I keep that drawer shut tight.

But if you want, you can, uh...

take a look inside.

It's a free country, kind of.

Go on. I'll wait.

I still think
you're better off without it.

After everything
that's happened,

I'm sure you've got some things
you'd like to say to me.

So, how about
you give me a call?

You can take a turn
doing the talking for a while.

But don't forget,
it's still my show.

I ain't going anywhere.

So, Earl,
let's open up the lines.

Let's get down to it.

You and me. Go on.

Pick up the phone.


I wanna hear
what you've got to say.