Rose McGowan—director, musician, activist, and Hollywood outsider—has been doing a surprising amount of traditional press in promoting her memoir Brave and her E! series Citizen Rose (not to mention her album, Planet 9). McGowan, who has distanced herself from acting and Hollywood in recent years, took part in little of the high-profile exposés that proliferated as a result of the #MeToo movement, preferring to call people out (be they Meryl Streep or Ben Affleck) via Twitter. But with a book and series to promote, McGowan has now re-entered the mainstream publicity circuit.
On Wednesday night, she followed up appearances on Good Morning America and The View with a visit to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. But though it seems you can lead a Hollywood outsider to a traditional talk show, you can’t actually make them play by the traditional rules.
In a refreshingly candid 10-minute interview, McGowan, dressed in an orange hoodie and sitting cross-legged in her chair, refused to take part in the usual talk show chitchat. She changed topics rapidly, cursed, engaged in a Trump-esque extended hand clutch with Colbert, criticized the idea of suits, called George W. Bush an “Artist Interrupted,” and shared her understanding of the Bible with fellow cult survivor (of the Catholic variety) Colbert. “Everyone had a yeast infection and a burning bush,” she summarized.
While McGowan and Colbert may share a fondness for awkwardness, the host still seemed to struggle to keep up with McGowan’s disregard for interview decorum . When Colbert complimented her hoodie, McGowan launched into her tirade against suits, including a story about the time she sat at the Fox News table during a White House Press Association dinner. “I think psychologically suits make people insane …Your arm is T-Rex right, you can’t go like that,” she said, raising her arms above her head. “Why do you have to wear a suit, who made you wear a suit, what’s the rule?” she demanded.
When Colbert brought up a time, six months or a lifetime ago, before women began speaking out about Harvey Weinstein, McGowan corrected him. “Mine was a year ago. I was the architect.”
Colbert wanted to know if McGowan had ever felt crazy for thinking that Weinstein had ex-Mossad agents following her, something that has since been confirmed. “No, I see things,” she said. “That’s not my issue, don’t make your khaki pants mind my problem.” (“I don’t wear khaki pants,” quipped Colbert.) She continued,
I just came back from India where everyone’s so colorful, and I came here and saw all these khaki pants and T-Rex things and I was like, what is going on? I think we can do better, societally. I think we can be looser, 10 percent, have more fun, be better, see more colors, run, like what are we doing? It’s not working out here so well, am I wrong? We’re like, there’s a bus on fire with a madman and a blindfold and everyone’s like still talking about it as if it’s nice. It’s not nice, its fucking weird. Woah. What. Shake it up, because otherwise we’re probably going to die sooner than we think.
“Here’s the strangest thing,” said Colbert. “There’s nothing about what you just said that’s wrong.”
McGowan hit back at criticism of her unconventional interview on Thursday morning, on (where else?) Twitter. The AV Club has suggested her “rambling train of thought [left] the initially supportive-sounding crowd audibly unnerved.”