EXCERPT: Anthony Bourdain’s Last Interview



ANTHONY BOURDAIN: If you wanna burn down Washington to the fucking ground, you know, I’m with ya. I’m just waiting for a mob to assemble. I don’t quite see that happening. And who will be leading this charge? Because if Susan Sarandon is anywhere among the joyful revelers, I’ve clearly chosen the wrong pony!

POPULA: No, it’s not happening. But look what happened when Keith Ellison was supposed to lead the DNC. That was like, the most important thing to me that’s happened this entire time. He had the backing of Schumer. He had the real leftists and the backing of Schumer, and was prepared to bring the populist message that the people are demanding.


POPULA: Yeah! Schumer supported Ellison. But Obama got on the phone and said, we want Perez.


POPULA: That was the moment I knew that my suspicions about Obama had been correct. And I loved him, I had loved him, but like… he fucked us. And he got on the fucking jet ski with Richard Branson right after he got out of the White House and I’m like, dude.


POPULA: Is that really the first look that you want? You are a guy with a brand. You know that you would not do that if it were you.


POPULA: You would not. Why not.

ANTHONY BOURDAIN: Um. Cause I’m vain…and I think Richard Branson is kind of a douche. That’s not who I wanna hang out with. You know… time is short. […]

POPULA: We’re gonna do better than this.

ANTHONY BOURDAIN: I don’t know that we will. At this point I would sacrifice, I would compromise many of my principles just for basic fucking competency, in somebody who reads a daily security brief you know? Who’s willing to do their fucking homework, who has some, some, some understanding of how government works!

POPULA: We’re listening to this, the tame media saying, “He needs a simplified version of it!” and not questioning, why would we want a person in this gig who can’t read?

ANTHONY BOURDAIN: Right. Or, it’s like, that’s okay, cause Jared will brief me later. Does Jared tweeze his eyebrows? They look manscaped. Those are not natural eyebrows. It’s like Howdy Doody time.

POPULA: That dude’s going to jail.

ANTHONY BOURDAIN: Can you see eight guys standing around, and Jared’s out of the room? And they’re all co-conspirators, they’re all saying, “’ey don’t worry bout Jared, he’s fuckin’ solid, the guy will stand up, he ain’t gonna say nothin’.” No one has ever said that! That fuckin’ little punk is gonna squeal, just show him a tray of jail food, the guy will fuckin’ shit himself. That kid was a born snitch.

POPULA: Let us hope the moment comes.

ANTHONY BOURDAIN: Well… Manafort goes next, because Gates rolled today. And we all know Manafort’s such a principled guy. I’m sure he’ll stay loyal!

POPULA: A man of honor. And his daughters are accepted into polite society. Which… John Locke said in 1678 or something, that what we need to do if we want to change how people behave, it’s not to change laws, it’s to change fashion. To change what is cool.

ANTHONY BOURDAIN: I believe that. That’s why I believe that for instance, all of the guys responsible… like the Big Pharma execs. It’s not so much, how long they spend in jail. It’s about, do they get pulled out of their home in Westchester, frog-walked out in front of their fuckin’ neighbors? Humiliate them! Humiliate them! Because they will change their behavior. Corner boy is not… he can’t. He doesn’t have any other options. Shithead will find somebody else to screw over for money. But if you walk them out in front of their crying children and the neighbors… humiliated as a drug dealer, charged with conspiracy.

POPULA: They can no longer go to the cool kids’ table! They can’t go to the restaurant, they can’t go to the party. They can’t go to, their friends don’t wanna be near them anymore.

ANTHONY BOURDAIN: For me, I have this discussion with a number of people, as you might imagine. However much people might want to see Harvey Weinstein dead or in jail, he’s in fucking Arizona. He is in Arizona, eating in restaurants in Arizona. And at off the grid restaurants in Arizona, so he can’t even eat at the best sushi restaurant in Scottsdale. He’s gotta go to some shit fucking place. So Arizona, I mean, as much as I’d like to see him, you know beaten to death in his cell—

POPULA: It’s much better to watch horrible people live and suffer the consequences.

ANTHONY BOURDAIN: My theory of how he goes is uh, he’s brushing his teeth in a bathroom, he’s naked in his famous bathrobe, which is flapping open, he’s holding his cell phone in one hand because you never know who on the Weinstein board has betrayed him recently, and he’s brushing his teeth—he suddenly gets a massive fucking stroke—he stumbles backwards into the bathtub, where he finds himself um, with his robe open feet sticking out of the tub, and in his last moments of consciousness as he scrolls through his contacts list trying to figure out who he can call, who will actually answer the phone. And he dies that way, knowing that no one will help him and that he is not looking his finest at time of death. MORE