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Today in eyebrow-raising news, former NBA star Dennis Rodman — the sole American to spend significant time with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — came on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos to explain his relationship with the human rights violator.
“He’s a good guy to me. He’s my friend,” Rodman said on the Sunday morning talk show. “I don’t condone what he does, but as a person to person, he’s my friend.”
At times George Stephanopoulos lectured Rodman on his choice of buddies. “Don’t you think you have a responsibility to ask him about [his human rights violations], so you don’t be perceived as propping up his regime, his cult of personality?”
“I saw people respect him and his family,” Rodman said. “Aren’t they forced to?” Stephanopoulos quipped back.
Rodman then gave one critical piece of political information from his short visit: “He wants Obama to do one thing. Call him.” He then explained, in his own — albeit somewhat incoherent — way, why he thought the 28-year-old dictator and Obama would get along. “He loves basketball. Obama loves basketball. Let’s start there,” Rodman says. “He don’t want war… He loves power. He loves control. He’s a great guy.”
Rodman continued to defend his new friend and his politics. “Presidents over here do the same thing, right? Bill Clinton could do one thing, have sex with his secretary, do one thing, and really get away with it and still be powerful.” George responded what every viewer was probably thinking, “How do you compare that to prison camps?”
As Stephanopoulos wrapped up the interview, he hadn’t yet given up on convincing Rodman of his new friend’s ills, handing him a study from the Human Rights Watch about North Korea’s human rights abuses, to which Rodman sums up his point for coming on the show: “Well either way, either way — guess what, though — guess what — thank you for the report. Guess what, guess what, don’t hate me. Don’t hate me. Guess what. Don’t hate me. Guess what. Don’t hate me.”
Meanwhile, Saturday Night Live poked fun at the unusual and unlikely friendship on last week’s show. Dennis Rodman (Jay Pharaoh) and Kim Jong Un (Bobby Moynihan) joined Seth Meyers on “Weekend Update” to dish all the fun things they like to do together as best friends. These include a secret North Korean handshake (which ends with miming a missile explosion), Jedi training, listening to rap music and watching basketball. The segment ended when Kim hopped on the basketball player’s back for a piggyback ride, shouting “I hate America!” Ah, SNL, if only this friendship were a joke after all.
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