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King Charles

Colorado Supreme Court Removes Trump From State Ballot; Trump Echoes Hitler, Says Immigrants Destroying Blood Of U.S.; Nikki Haley Gains Ground In New Hampshire; Hosts Discuss UFOs With Guest Neil deGrasse Tyson; Emmy Award-Winning Writer Cord Jefferson Promotes "American Fiction" Movie; Comedian Ziwe Interviews Former House Representative George Santos. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired December 20, 2023 - 22:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: And thank you so much for joining us this evening. King Charles starts now.

GAYLE KING, CNN HOST: Welcome, welcome. We thank you for joining us tonight.

First, I have to say this off the back. Charles, what's the name of your NBA show? I know last night --


KING: Okay, Inside the NBA. It's on TNT. So, I was watching that last night, and you, he, you sounded terrible. And I thought, there's no way you're going to make it here tonight.

BARKLEY: Gayle, I'm never going to let you down.

KING: I was so worried about that.

BARKLEY: I'm going to put on full hazmat suit. I'm going to be here for you.

KING: But I wasn't the only one who was worried. This is what your co- workers had to say about you last night.

BARKLEY: This can't be good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got Shaquille O'Neal here. We got Kenny the Jet Smith. And we have --


BARKLEY: What's your new name, Shaq?


BARKLEY: Sickil O'Neal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yo, man, why you got that mask on?

BARKLEY: I'm not trying to be sick on Christmas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're just disinfecting the area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chuck, that's not how we're used to seeing you. But is that all?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chuck, feel better and I feel --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, feel better at the pub.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not at the pub.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he's at the pub, Ernie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he's back at the crib.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the pub. The crib -- the pub is the crib to him.


KING: So, the way I hear it, they asked you to leave. They said, Charles, you don't look so good. You don't sound so good. Then you were asked to leave.


KING: Okay.

BARKLEY: And I didn't go to the pub.

KING: Okay. I was wondering, so where did you go?

BARKLEY: I went to bed. And let me tell you something, if I'm in the bed at 10:30 at night, I'm sick.

KING: But how do you feel? Because I was thinking that you had the C word, COVID.


KING: I'm happy to say that he was tested and everything is fine.

BARKLEY: Yes, I do not have COVID. I don't have COVID. Ryan made sure that today.

KING: I was worried about that. But I really --

BARKLEY: He didn't really care, though. He didn't say, Chuck, stay home. He says, we're going to test you when you get here, such a nice guy.

KING: I'm so glad. But, see, this is the thing. This is our last show before Christmas You want to tell people how you feel about Christmas?

BARKLEY: I hate Christmas. You know that.

KING: we're going to talk about that a little bit later on.

BARKLEY: Because you have to give gifts to people you don't like.

KING: Well --

BARKLEY: And all these people know, all the people you give gifts to you don't like.

KING: I don't give gifts to people I don't like.

BARKLEY: And it's expensive.

KING: How much do you spend on Christmas gifts?

BARKLEY: A lot, Gayle.

KING: Okay. But this is the thing. It's our last show before Christmas. And so I had the idea, wouldn't it be fun if we dress up in onesie pajamas? And you said --

BARKLEY: Hell no.

KING: Okay. And he said it just like that.

BARKLEY: Wait. You got a real onesie?

KING: I do. And I got one for you, too. It's a size 6x. But he didn't want to do it. So, we're going to move along. We're going to move along. Because, you know, why? We have a lot to get to tonight. I'm just glad you're healthy and you're all right.

BARKLEY: Thank you.

KING: All kidding aside, I'm very glad about that.

Donald Trump, as you may have heard, was just kicked off the 2024 ballot in Colorado by the state Supreme Court over what they deem was his involvement in the January 6th insurrection.

The Republican front runners' campaign has promised to appeal that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. But that's not the only reason that the former president is in the news today. He has been facing criticism for saying that immigrants are, quote, poisoning the blood of the country. Think about that for a second, poisoning the blood of the country.

Last night, he addressed those criticisms. And then he doubled down.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: And it's true, they're destroying the blood of our country. That's what they're doing. They're destroying our country. They don't like it when I said that. And I never read Mein Kampf. They said, oh, Hitler said that in a much different way.


KING: Well, there's something about those words that it did make a lot of -- is triggering for a lot of people, poisoning the blood of the country because, that is in the book, Mein Kampf, from Adolf Hitler. And while he may not have read it, I think people close to him may have read it. What did you think when you heard those words?

BARKLEY: He -- trying to make people fearful of immigrants, black people, Hispanics, Muslims.


Obviously, we got a lot of anti-Semitic stuff going on, I would even say, against Jewish people. And I think it's a travesty and a disgrace that he's able to do that.

Now, I do agree with one thing. We got to fix our immigration policy. You can't have people just rolling across the border 24/7 like they are now. But for a man who's running for the most power position in the world to use pseudo racist rhetoric, that's one of the reasons I can't vote for that guy, because, man, he just rubs me the wrong way. And people can vote for whoever they want to, but I just do not like it at all.

KING: Yes, but he still has a lot of support. But what's interesting to me is that even the opponents who are challenging him are saying that the courts --

BARKLEY: That's because they're scared.

KING: Well, they're saying the court should not decide what happens if Donald Trump is on the ballot or not.

BARKLEY: No, but --

KING: Because Trump supporters are very hard core.

BARKLEY: Well, Trump supporters are going to be Trump supporters but those other candidates need those votes in case something happened. And they definitely got to do it going into Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. They don't want to alienate any of the Republican people.

I'm not sure if they believe that or not. Who wouldn't want to take out the frontrunner? They're just afraid other Republicans are not going to vote for them when they go through these caucuses.

KING: Well, we are right in the middle of the political season. We're going to do a deep dive into the 2024 election in just a couple of minutes.

But we also need to talk about this. The Senate aide, who was out of a job after he allegedly filmed a sex tape in a Capitol Hill hearing room. We aren't going to show you any of the steals, but feel free to Google if you're curious, because it is there. I actually saw it. It's there.

The aide -- my nephew showed it to me. I didn't look it up. He showed it to me. The aide who worked for -- did you see it?


KING: Okay. Do you have any desires to see it?


KING: Okay. The aide who worked for Democratic Senator Ben Cardin said in a statement, I've been attacked for who I love to pursue a political agenda. And while some of my actions in the past have shown poor judgment, I'll say, I love my job and would never disrespect my workplace.

I thought, Charles, that was a very interesting choice of words, because I think the epitome of having sex on your job in a hearing room that is normally public is the ultimate in disrespect for the job. What did you think when you heard this?

BARKLEY: I think having sex anywhere at any workplace is a fireable offense, especially in that scenario. And he didn't get fired because he used poor judgment. He got fired he's just a freaking idiot. And I said freaking, I almost said what I really wanted to say.

I'm never -- well, that's not true. I'm always amazed when somebody does something really stupid. And he deserves to get -- you can't have sex at the workplace. I mean -- and he has nobody to blame but himself.

And one of the things that bothered me is one of the party is so divided right now. One of the idiot Republicans put a picture -- a poster. He took the time to make a poster. He put the January 6th insurrection, and this guy having sex on the other side says which one is worse? Man, if you don't know which one of those are worse, you should not be a politician.

But, again, I'm just surprised and amazed how stupid some people are. We all hear them and we all make mistakes. But to do what he did is just a --

KING: In a workplace, yes.

BARKLEY: -- in a workplace is just an ultimate sign of stupidity.

KING: Because not only just doing it, Charles, this is the thing, I don't understand why anyone films himself in a public place. I think it's dicey to film yourself at home because you never know when the tape is going to end up or somebody gets mad and they take the tape, but I never understand filming yourself in a public place. But, anyway, he's out of a job and I think that's okay.

BARKLEY: But we've never talked about this before.

KING: What?

BARKLEY: I never understand why people take themselves sexually, because --

KING: That's not something you've done?

BARKLEY: No, because me, and we are bad people, if you break up with us, that's going on the internet.

KING: The other reason I was really glad that you were here today, in addition to your health, was Ja Morant came back yesterday on the court. That was your game last night.

BARKLEY: That was the game last night. I watched the first game before I checked out. He had a buzzer beater. It's great to have him back. It's great.

KING: So, he did the game-winning basket test.

BARKLEY: Yes. He hit the game-winning shot. It was great to have him back. I just hope he's tightened his circle up and have people. The toughest thing about -- this is it right here.

Yes, look at that. Look at the hang time. The kid is a special, special choir (ph).

KING: Yes, but he's had two infractions. Do you think that he's learned a lesson?


I hope so. And he's young.

BARKLEY: Well, he's young. But the thing that bothered me the most about Ja --

KING: But you want to explain the infraction?

BARKLEY: Well, he filmed himself -- First of all, I never understand why anybody does social media. Because social media has -- I mean, it might work for certain people.

KING: There're some redeeming values of social media but I don't understand why you film yourself. Well, he didn't think people would see that.

BARKLEY: Well, he filmed himself with guns, Gayle.

KING: Yes, twice. BARKLEY: And the thing that I don't understand is, first of all, if you got friends filming you with a gun, when you think one of them will say, hey, man, maybe we shouldn't have been filming you with a gun. He got suspended eight times the first time. Then less than a couple of months later, he does it again. If your friends are that stupid -- he lost like $8 million. That's a lot of money.

KING: He lost that much?


KING: Wow.

BARKLEY: But if you got friends around you who think it's appropriate to film you with a gun, again, one of the biggest problems we got in the black community is violence.

KING: Yes.

BARKLEY: And for a guy who's that great a player to be -- you're focusing, like, who's made it in life, he's not a 9:00 to 5:00 guy.

KING: Do you dismiss it as in addition to friends hanging around, friends that don't have your best interest? Do you think it's his age and that maybe he's learned, because he's 22, 23, right?

BARKLEY: Yes. But let me tell you something. You do not need to film yourself with guns and things like that.

KING: I agree.

BARKLEY: And I don't mind him having guns. If he have a gun, that's his own business. But there's no --

KING: Do you have a gun?


KING: You do?

BARKLEY: A lot of them.

KING: Do you?


KING: See, I'm scared of guns.

BARKLEY: You're scared of them?

KING: Yes.

BARKLEY: They come in handy when the crooks are around. They don't come in.

I mean, look, I feel safer with a gun, me, personally. I don't touch my gun unless I go practice. I don't try to show it to anybody, but I feel safer with it. But I'm definitely not going to put it on Instagram like a damn idiot, especially after you had already did it one time, and less than two months later, you did it again.

And I never want to get on T.V. and act like a hypocrite. I am a gun guy. I feel safer with a gun. But I understand -- my bodyguard, James Haywood (ph), is a cop. We talk about it all the time. He said, hey, do not touch that gun, except for two reasons, you're going to practice or you're going to shoot somebody. Anything else -- and I've never shot anybody.

KING: You haven't?


KING: I mean, have you ever shot the gun.

BARKLEY: Oh, yes, I practiced.

KING: Okay.

BARKLEY: But I wouldn't want to shoot anybody, but if I felt threatened. And like I say, I've been arrested a few times for fighting, but I would never touch the gun unless my life depended on it.

KING: You've been arrested a few times for fighting, have you?

BARKLEY: Yes, I have.

KING: Okay.

BARKLEY: I was young, Gayle.

KING: Okay. I can't wait to hear that story.

And a new candidate surging in early voting state, in an early voting state. Here's a question, could Nikki Haley grab the role of top Republican challenger? A lot of people think she can do this.

Hopefully, New York Times Reporter Astead Herndon has an answer for us. He's joining us right after the break.

You're watching King Charles.



KING: So, we talked a little bit about the former president a few minutes ago, but something has been brewing on the campaign trail for a different Republican candidate. Have you been watching this? The latest polling shows that Nikki Haley is gaining ground on the former president in the state of New Hampshire with 29 percent of likely GOP voters saying they would vote for her as president. Well, our next guest, we're lucky to say, was just in New Hampshire talking to real live voters in the first in the nation primary state. We welcome you, Astead Herndon, to King Charles.

ASTEAD HERNDON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.


KING: So -- go ahead.

BARKLEY: No, go ahead.

KING: My question is this. What are you hearing? We've been reading a lot about momentum for Nikki Haley. Is it really true? What did you hear in New Hampshire?

HERNDON: Well, the first thing is it is true. I mean, when you look at the candidates in the race, most of them are going the wrong direction, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, the kind of other candidates who aren't Donald Trump have mostly been receding. Nikki Haley is going the opposite direction. There's been donors, there's been members of the party, kind of the elite versions of Republicans have really rallied around her.

KING: And she's gotten some big endorsements too.

HERNDON: She's gotten some big endorsements, Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers political group, they've endorsed her, and that's partially because of her debate performances. She's been looking strong in those, and that's really helped her in New Hampshire, which is a moderate state, has more independent voters and has more voters who are more aligned with Nikki Haley. That's the good news.

BARKLEY: Why do I hear but coming?

HERNDON: The bad news is that when you look to the other states, it looks a lot harder for her. Let's take her home state of South Carolina, where Nikki Haley was the governor. That's a place where Donald Trump still has a big polling lead. And more importantly, he has a lot of those state party activists, the people who run the primary, the people who get people to come to the polls, they're still very much with Donald Trump.

And so while there's good news for Nikki Haley in terms of being able to consolidate support from a slice of the party, it's much harder to see her path to the Republican nomination. And that's partly because Donald Trump has changed the party to such a degree when we look from 2016 to now. This is a different version of the Republican Party, and that version is really hard to see be compatible with Nikki Haley.

BARKLEY: We've had a few politicians -- not politicians, news people on the show, and one of their first points was, why is President Biden losing so much of the black community?

HERNDON: Yes. I mean, that is really a central question of why Biden's poll numbers look really bad right now. He's actually doing pretty good with people who are considered independents or swing voters. It's the kind of core of the Democratic Party, black voters, young people of color, young people specifically, where he's had some problems.

And I think this goes back some years. We've seen kind of numbers from Democrats and black voters drop off all the way back since 2012. There was kind of a high watermark in the second term of Obama, and it's been going down a little ever since.

But when we talk to people specifically about Joe Biden, there is just a sense among some folks, when we tried to report on this, that they thought he would be a one-term president. They thought they were choosing a kind of emergency option in 2020.


KING: Well, he did say in the beginning that he was going to be a transitional president. He did say that.

HERNDON: He did say that. And I think that's a really underrated point. I mean, I actually talked to Biden's chief campaign officer, Anita Dunn about this, and she made the point that he only said that once. But I think for a lot of people, that's something they really held on to. They thought that there was an emergency in the Donald Trump first term, and they thought that he was the person who could most do that.

For a lot of people --

KING: At the time -- Astead, at the time, didn't he say, democracy is at stake, the soul of the nation is at stake, and he did lead many voters to think this is one time, a transition to get us on the other side.

HERNDON: Exactly. He actually --

KING: He only said it once, is that what they're saying?

HERNDON: I mean, those specific words once. But it was definitely the ethos of his campaign, to your point, that you should choose this kind of emergency lever button and that that was going to be something that he could provide.

You remember, he called himself maybe a bridge to the next generation of Democrats. I think for a lot of people, there was an implicit one term in this. And so when we talk to a lot of voters, specifically younger voters, they feel like there's a kind of broken promise there that just makes them a little more uncomfortable with voting for him a second time. Now, that doesn't mean they won't do it, especially when the reality of the choice comes clear next year. That does mean in polling right now, they're a little less happy about Biden than I think they previously were.

KING: But the beauty of him being on here today, Charles, is you have your own focus group and his family.

HERNDON: It is, yes.

KING: Set this up for us, because Thanksgiving dinner, he had a lot of people, friends and family.

HERNDON: Yes. I mean, for our podcast, The Run Up, I wanted to kind of follow up on these polling numbers because part of the thing is polling can tell you, though, what people are thinking, but doesn't give you the why, it doesn't give you the back-story, it doesn't give you how they arrived to that point. So, I thought about who are the black voters I know the best. It's my friends, it's my family. It's over Thanksgiving.

KING: We got some tape.

HERNDON: Oh, let me slow down.

KING: And then you can explain it to us on the other side.

HERNDON: Sounds good.

KING: Let's see.


HERNDON: Why are black men more open to Republicans, you think, than black women?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I honestly feel that the Democratic Party has forgot about the black male. What I mean by that is that one of the major demographics that we have is our African-American women. They're amazing. They're very strong. They come out to the polls. But as African-American men, sometimes we get left, like our needs, our desires, our wants are not always in account. We kind of get pushed to the side.


BARKLEY: I want to say I agree that black people and poor white people who are really in the same economic group, I think that's one of the reasons they're running from the Democratic Party. Everybody want to make everything about race in this country. Racism does exist, always has and always will. But economic racism, to me, is the worst thing going on in this country.

That's the reason -- I actually agree with what he's saying, because even when I'm watching the debates, they're like, well, let's worry about -- we really got to help the middle class. And I always sit there saying, man, they never mention poor people.

HERNDON: They never say poverty.

BARKLEY: They never say never.

HERNDON: Yes, I think that's a really important point. In that same conversation, I remember asking people, why do you think black people vote for Democrats in such numbers? And the response wasn't about race to your point. It was about they think that Republicans are for rich people. It was much more a class thing than a race thing.

And I do think that some of the changes in the Democratic Party that you've seen in the last ten years might be more of an alignment with a more elite slice, more college-educated language. And some of what we're seeing is attrition from black voters that may not be about race but maybe about a kind of class difference that changed. That totally came up in that conversation.

KING: I think it's interesting. It is all about the middle class. It isn't what can we do.

BARKLEY: They never mention poor people.

HERNDON: It's a really important point. When you listen in those debates, you will often hear middle class. You'll talk about small business owners. That takes some money. And for more of Americans, particularly black Americans, that's money that's not there. And so I think for a lot of people, they're looking for who are going to be the candidate that can most speak to those interests.

And I think that's going to be -- the onus is going to be on Democrats and for Joe Biden to try to find a message that really motivates them.

KING: All right, you've had the last word on that. Thank you, Mr. Herndon.

HERNDON: Thank you all for having me.

KING: We really appreciate your time tonight.

BARKLEY: Thank you. Keep doing your thing, man.

HERNDON: Thank you. I appreciate it.

KING: Coming up next, Congress passed a new law that just might help us find out if we're alone in the universe.

So, Charles and I went outside. We do this every time before the show. We go outside and actually talk to you, the people.


KING: Do you believe in aliens?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, almost certainly. The question is, really, are they here, right? That's the real question, right?

KING: You see stuff in the sky all the time.

BARKLEY: They're called airplanes.

Wait, you believe in aliens?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you know I'm not one?

BARKLEY: Because you look like a person.


KING: Well, we've got an expert who can help us. She actually said that? How do you know I'm not one, and said it with a straight face, straight face. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is joining us right after the break.

You're watching King Charles.



KING: Can I just say, Mr. Barkley got jokes. He just said to me, Gayle, sound it out, welcome back. Wast that okay?

BARKLEY: As I said, that was good.

KING: Okay. Welcome back.

Right before the break, you heard us asking people about aliens. That's because Congress just passed legislation directing the government to release the records that it gathers on UFOs within 25 years of collection. And we can think of nobody better to talk about this with world famous astrophysicist -- what's your name?


KING: Neil deGrasse Tyson. He's the author of the new book, bestselling author, we should say, the book is called To Infinity and Beyond, and director of the Hayden Planetarium, that's right here in New York City. We are so glad you're here.

So, we asked viewers to call in Neil. And one of the most popular questions we got --

TYSON: It's dangerous, you know?

KING: Really?

BARKLEY: It is. That's why we tape the calls. We're not going to let them come on T.V. live.


KING: But we would -- we would.


KING: But this was one of the most popular questions.

BARKLEY: Right. Go for it.

HOLLY, FROM WISCONSIN: Hi, my question is, do you believe aliens exist in our universe?

DEGRASSE TYSON: Oh, is that for me?

KING: Yes.

DEGRASSE TYSON: Oh, that question is for me. So, I reserve the word, believe, for topics like religion and other things where people --

KING: Why can't you just say yes or no?

DEGRASSE TYSON: No, because not all questions have yes or no answers.

KING: Answers.

BARKLEY: You ever say one?

DEGRASSE TYSON: None that I couldn't otherwise explain by natural causes as being earthbound. Yeah. There's things that look very odd to me, but I know a lot about the sky, about weather, about climate, about lightning, about -- so, where Venus is in the sky, what blimps look like in twilight. There's a lot of things that if I didn't know all of that, I might confuse them for something exotic or extraterrestrial. So --

KING: That seems like a very long answer to me that is such a simple question.

DEGRASSE TYSON: No, no. Okay, I'll give you -- here it is. You ready?

KING: Wait, Charles, wait. Do you believe in aliens?


KING: You don't.

BARKLEY: Because I haven't seen one. I haven't seen one.

DEGRASSE TYSON: Okay, but I presume you can know something is true even if you haven't seen it.

KING: Haven't seen it. Exactly.

BARKLEY: Well, there's somebody else.

KING: That's a good point, Neil.

BARKLEY: Wait, first of all, that's not a good point. DEGRASSE TYSON: It is.

BARKLEY: You are not the measure of what is true in the world.

KING: Yes, yes. That is a good point.

BARKLEY: Well, somebody else would have told me.

DEGRASSE TYSON: Hey, hey, hey. No, but Charles, you don't know. I'm knocking on your door. When they say, take me to your leader, they're going to come to you?

BARKLEY: No, I just want to say this. I told you, it was an honor and a privilege to meet you.


BARKLEY: But if we had a person coming who met an alien, we wouldn't have you on the show.

DEGRASSE TYSON: Okay. So, let me just say.

KING: But I agree with you. I don't think you have to have seen something to know that it exists.

DEGRASSE TYSON: Right, so it's not about a belief. It's about evidence. All right? Is there evidence? How compelling is the evidence?

KING: Okay.

DEGRASSE TYSON: Do we need more for it to reach a tipping point where a skeptical scientist would say, there's good evidence for you? We're all in on this.

KING: Well, science is always evidence-based. So, is there evidence?

DEGRASSE TYSON: Always. Okay, so what we know is that the ingredients of life on Earth, if you break it down atom by atom, we're hydrogen, oxygen, that's the water, H2O. We have got carbon, nitrogen. Those are the most common chemically active ingredients in the universe. Earth was opportunistic in its early moments, going from the primordial goo to life. Opportunistic.

KING: Neil, I'm still trying to figure out, is there evidence that there are aliens?

DEGRASSE TYSON: No, not evidence that would convince a skeptical scientist. No.

KING: Okay.

DEGRASSE TYSON: No. There are people holding their hand up, swearing to tell the truth in Congress.

KING: Yes.

DEGRASSE TYSON: That's not how we establish objective truths in science. We don't walk into a scientific conference and say, I swear this is true, but give me a book I can swear on. That's not how we do this. You bring out the evidence. But they did this in Mexico. They brought it, put the aliens on display in Congress. If we have aliens, that's what they should do if they're trying to say, we've got them in a locked box.

Now in Mexico, the next step is you take tissue samples and send it to other labs.

KING: Yeah.

DEGRASSE TYSON: It's not just because one person and one lab says something is true. That's not what establishes the moving frontier of the objective truths of science. So, any scientist who looks at the universe, they say, there's probably life out there in the universe. I can't wait to find it.

KING: Yes. Listen, I've never seen an alien either, but I just find it hard to believe that we are the only ones on this planet. I do believe you hear all the talk about UFOs. I do think they exist, too. But I just can't believe that we're the only one.

DEGRASSE TYSON: Just to be clear, if there's something in the sky, you don't know what it is.

BARKLEY: It's called an airplane.

DEGRASSE TYSON: That's -- of course, it's a UFO.

BARKLEY: A blimp.

DEGRASSE TYSON: To you, that's what the U stands for.

KING: Yeah.

DEGRASSE TYSON: You don't know what it is. That doesn't -- and you just said you don't know what it is because you just called it a UFO.

KING: Yeah.

DEGRASSE TYSON: That does not then allow you to say, I don't know what it is, therefore it's visiting curious aliens from another planet.

KING: Yeah, in the sky, I'm talking about in the sky.

DEGRASSE TYSON: Yeah, yeah, visiting our skies. Plus, there's 6 billion smartphones in the world, each capable of high resolution photos and videos. If we were being invaded by aliens, that would have been crowd-sourced long ago, and it would have been on the internet.

We have cat videos go viral on the internet. You know, if people had aliens flying near their airplane, well, that would go viral, too.

BARKLEY: Thank you, Gail. Thank you, Gail.

DEGRASSE TYSON: There's a million people in any moment who are airborne.

KING: You're welcome, Charles.

DEGRASSE TYSON: With a nice window right out the side of their airplane.

BARKLEY: I got to ask you.

DEGRASSE TYSON: Why is it that all the aliens are visiting Navy pilots in restricted airspace?

BARKLEY: I got this question for you.

DEGRASSE TYSON: Yeah, what's that?

BARKLEY: And it's just going to confirm how stupid men are.

KING: Yeah.


BARKLEY: And I'm very proud to be a man.


BARKLEY: They had a list of who could land a plane.



KING: There is a poll, yeah.

BARKLEY: Forty-six percent of men said it. Now, the women who are always smarter than the men -- only 20 percent of them said they could land a plane in an emergency.

DEGRASSE TYSON: Okay, so let me, I think -- I think what's going on in the guy's head is --

KING: Is --

DEGRASSE TYSON: I can be talked down to land this plane if I have someone tell me, okay? Not to just come out there with no advice. So, I bet the men are thinking. I could do this if I have help from the airport.

KING: I would like to think that.

DEGRASSE TYSON: The women are thinking that the question means, can you just land a damn plane? I bet that's what's going on there. KING: Because that was the question though. But the question was, if

there was an emergency, could you land the plane? The question wasn't if somebody talks you through it.


KING: Yeah.

DEGRASSE TYSON: But I think the men are thinking.

KING: Oh, that's how they process it.

DEGRASSE TYSON: Because that's how we see it in all the movies.

KING: That's how they process it.

DEGRASSE TYSON: That's how they do it in the movies.

BARKLEY: Well, let me tell you something. The men will be crashing and burning so damn fast. Listen, I --

KING: Charles, even if somebody is talking you through it, if somebody was talking you through it --

BARKLEY: I think I could land a plane if I'm talked through it.

DEGRASSE TYSON: You want to swallow people in the world? They are out there -- people dummies out here.

BARKLEY: No, seriously, I do think --

KING: Charles, if somebody was talking you through it, do you think you could do it?

BARKLEY: You know, Gayle, I think, if --

DEGRASSE TYSON: It is a pull the lever. Push --

BARKLEY: I just want to say some of my --

DEGRASSE TYSON: Look at the knob. You can't do that, Charles?

BARKLEY: Everybody will put you back on the basketball court. Trust me. I'm out of their pen. I want to be back out there. See, I think in real time, what they don't understand, even somebody talking you through it in real time, your brain can't focus and function like that. Now, if you've got this brain, I believe that. But a regular person, you're like, well, push this lever. Like, oh, there's a lot of levers up here.

DEGRASSE TYSON: All right, so, Charles, Charles, the real answer in this being 2023 -- 2024 --

KING: You just make a point though.

DEGRASSE TYSON: -- the real answer is --

KING: Yes.

DEGRASSE TYSON: You push autopilot and that'll land a plane all by itself.

KING: All right, Neil deGrasse Tyson.

DEGRASSE TYSON: Pilots are like for show at this point, given what planes do all by themselves.

BARKLEY: That's why you're a genius.

KING: That's why you get paid to think like that.

BARKLEY: I just want you to know, as much as I like you and respect you, if we had a person on here who got aliens, they're going to -- we're going to get your seat up.

KING: Thank you, Neil. Thank you very much.

DEGRASSE TYSON: No, just get another seat and I'll be in with you.

KING: Okay. Thank you. Thank you. And if you want to be like Holly from Wisconsin who asks a question about aliens, we have our own special number here at King Charles. What is it, Charles? I love our number, Neil.

BARKLEY: 1-855-3434-King.

KING: And what does the 3-4-3-4 say?

BARKLEY: Phoenix and Philadelphia.

KING: See, those are his Jersey numbers. Isn't that good? So, 3-4-3-4 is him, King is me.

BARKLEY: That was Gail. That was Gail, in fairness.

DEGRASSE TYSON: That was good. Can we give them a quick one? The Cape Canaveral in Florida, where they launched -- you know what the area code there is?



KING: Thank you.

BARKLEY: Blast off.

KING: Charles and I -- that's very good. Yeah, Charles and I very excited about this new movie. I can't wait for you to gut run. Don't walk to the theaters to see American fiction. It's got not one but two Golden Globe nominations and is already getting huge Oscar buzz. The director is Corey Jefferson, and I'm happy to say he is here. We'll introduce you right after the break.




UNKNOWN: There's already so much buzz because of the movie deal.

UNKNOWN: Michael B. Jordan is circling.

UNKNOWN: We want to put him on the cover in one of those scarves. I guess you would call them, tied around his head.

UNKNOWN: A do-rag?

UNKNOWN: Do-rag, that's it. Do-rag in a tank top with the muscles showing. Something called the fire department. We're thinking we can get it out in 100 Juneteenth.


KING: Yeah, one of those scarves, you mean a do-rag? Exactly. Welcome back. That's the new movie. It's called "American Fiction". It's from Emmy award-winning writer, Cord Jefferson is his name.

Listen to this, he also directed it, and it's getting a lot of Oscar buzz with a capital B. And you got to hear the cast, Jeffrey Wright, Issa Rae, Tracy Ellis Ross, among others. We are very excited that Cord Jefferson is in the studio with us tonight, Charles.

BARKLEY: I got to ask you, how in the world that you get this amazing cast together?

CORD JEFFERSON, WRITER AND DIRECTOR, "AMERICAN FICTION": People keep asking me that. I'd never directed anything before this. I'd never written a movie before this. But the thing that I say is, the way that I got the ensemble is, this is what happens when you write real parts for black actors.

I think that there's a lot of, but we talk about it every year, come awards season, we talk about how black actors are underrepresented, undervalued, underutilized. And this was a movie that I really wanted to make sure that we had real parts for the whole cast.

So I just -- I tried to make sure that we stayed committed to character, and we actually felt like we had real lived in human beings. And fortunately, a lot of people showed up to be in the film.

KING: Well, right now we can see the movie in New York, we can see it in L.A., it's coming nationwide very soon. But what's the message that you want people to understand what this movie is about? Because first, let me just say this, Charles, he was on CBS Mornings, he had a flight back to L.A. at six, 7 o'clock tonight.


KING: I love this movie so much. I watched it last night. I said, will you please, please stay? Please, please, please. He stayed because of you. He didn't stay because of me. But what is the movie -- what is the message that you want from this movie?

JEFFERSON: This movie in a nutshell is about what happens to people when they don't feel free to be themselves, and the strange things that human beings do when they feel like they don't have the freedom to be who they want to be. And -- and you know, it is, you know, there's a bunch of different themes in there, but I think that one encapsulates it the most.

KING: But it's a black writer who writes a story, and the more outrageous and stereotypical it is, the bigger it comes.


JEFFERSON: Yeah, it's about a black author who is told that his work is never black enough, and that's sort of like they want a black novel. And he says, well, what's a black novel? And they say, you know, inner city crime, slavery, drug dealers, single mothers. And he says, well, I don't want to do any of that. I think that my stories are universal. They're black because I'm black.

And so, why isn't that enough? And so, one day in this sort of like fit of frustration, he writes this very stereotypical book that he intends to kind of be a prank and sort of embarrass the publishing world, but it instead turns into a huge success.

KING: Yes.

BARKLEY: So, when we were going over on a note, you said you had to direct it.


BARKLEY: This is your first directorial debut.

KING: Yes.

BARKLEY: Why was that really important to you?

KING: And why did you think you could do that? Because some people can say, Charles -- arrogance or confidence. Never done it before.

JEFFERSON: Neither, really. I think that it was just maybe blind hubris.

BARKLEY: You knew what you wanted.

JEFFERSON: No, I think that what I really wanted was to have control of the narrative, right? I think that there's this sort of -- there's this general understanding in Hollywood that films are a director's medium and that you can be a writer and write a great script. But then if you give it to somebody and they put it -- they attach a director to it and the director can just totally change it in the way that they think it should fit. And so --

KING: And often does.

JEFFERSON: And often does. And I think I've talked to a lot of writers who end up pretty disappointed because they -- director sort of ended up creating a movie that they themselves weren't proud of. And so, I just felt this story in my bones when I read this novel that I adapted, I had no piece of art had ever resonated with me as deep as it had, and still nothing has resonated me deeply as that novel has.

And so, I just felt like I knew the characters in the story so well that that's what gave me the confidence to direct, despite the fact that I didn't know anything about lighting or cameras or anything.

KING: So, go ahead, go ahead.

BARKLEY: Okay, so I'm just talking because I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.

KING: That's comforting, isn't it?

BARKLEY: I love it, I love it. No, because like, Gail. You just can't say I'm going to be a director and go direct something.

KING: But he did.

BARKLEY: I know, but that was my question. Who did you talk to about directing?

JEFFERSON: A lot of different people. The first person who put the idea into my head was Aziz Ansari. I worked on the show called "Master of None". I wrote on Master of None season two. And when we were talking about who was going to direct the episodes of that show, Aziz was going to direct a few himself.

And he said, to me, have you ever thought about directing? I said, well, you know, I've never been to film school. I don't know anything about the technical aspects of it. And Aziz said, he was like, well, I've never gone to film school and I was nominated for a Golden Globe last year for directing.

So, he was like, it doesn't -- you don't really need to know those technical things. What you need is a vision and you need to be able to articulate that vision to people who do know those technical things. And so, he really sort of planted the seed in my head. And then --

KING: Maybe I could do this.

JEFFERSON: Yeah, and then when I --

KING: But look at your background though, Cord. You've worked on "Watchmen", "Succession", "Good Place", "Master of None", as you just mentioned. But that said, you still had a lot of rejection.


KING: So what happened when you got the green light? What did that feel like to you? How were you affected by it?

JEFFERSON: It was incredible. In the movie when they greenlit, I'm sorry, in the meeting when they greenlit this film, I started crying because I was really, yeah, yeah, because I was confident it wasn't going to happen for me. You know, I had been pushing the rock uphill for so long in the world of TV and I'd been rejected over and over and over again and so I felt like, okay, maybe this isn't going to happen for me.

And so, when they finally greenlit the film, I was overjoyed. I honestly had felt surreal, like a dream.

BARKLEY: How much did this movie is your experience?

JEFFERSON: So much. I mean, so much. It's, you know, this idea that black writers are not really sort of like allowed to express themselves has come up over and over in my career first as a journalist and then in film and television. Three months before I found the novel that I ended up adapting, I got a note from a T.V. executive that I needed to make a character in one of my scripts blacker.

And then I said, you know, what does blacker mean? Like you need to explain to me what it means to be blacker. And then the executive of course never followed up with that conversation because to have that conversation --

KING: It's kind of ridiculous.

JEFFERSON: Yeah, well, it's also, I mean, it's a civil rights violation, I would imagine. It's insane.

KING: Oh, there's that, yeah.

JEFFERSON: And so, and it just, and so, you know, there's a lot of the frustration that I felt about, again, not feeling like I had the freedom to be who I am and , make the work that I wanted to make. In the film itself, there's a lot of me in there.

KING: Well, first I want to say thank you so much for staying, really, because I know that he's got a connection.

BARKLEY: This is an Arizona thing, Gail. Yeah, I mean, this is my homeboy.

KING: I didn't know that you all had that connection. You've already been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Film. May the buzz continue cheering you on, because this is such a good movie -- [22:50:00]

JEFFERSON: Thank you.

KING: -- and I can't wait for people to see it.

JEFFERSON: Thank you so much.

KING: What's the name of it again?

JEFFERSON: "American Fiction".

KING: "American Fiction" is in select theaters right now. Cord Jefferson, congratulations and good luck.

JEFFERSON: Thank you so much.

KING: Coming up next, did you see this interview that comedian Ziwe did with ex-Congressman, what's his name?

BARKLEY: Can't wait, George Santos. Please go away. Please don't go away, stay away.

KING: We've got to discuss this. We've got to discuss this. We're going to take a break, we'll be right back.

BARKLEY: We got to discuss it.



ZIWE, COMEDIAN: In the words of Lady Gaga, you live for the applause.


Are you like Tinkerbell? If we stopped clapping, would you disappear?


ZIWE: You wouldn't.


ZIWE: What could we do to get you to go away?

SANTOS: Stop inviting me to your gigs.


KING: So, that happened. George Santos broke the internet again. The ex-congressman sat down with satirical talk shows at Ziwe for an exit interview of sorts. I mean, I think he raises a point. You want him to go away, stop asking him to do things. Look, we're still talking about him. You have the last word, what do you say?

BARKLEY: I want him definitely to go away. Because he's not, quote unquote, "famous for anything good". So -- but what he don't understand, the joke's on him. People not having him on the show, because he's good, they're like, if I get this fool on, I'm going to get some ratings. You have to know when a joke is on you. Hey guys, this is our last show of the year.

KING: Of the year. Yes.

BARKLEY: Next year, I don't know, but I wish you out there a Merry Christmas.

KING: Happy holidays.

BARKLEY: Happy New Year's and all that good stuff. I'll see you all next year.

KING: Yeah.

BARKLEY: But you can see her tomorrow on "CBS Mornings".

KING: I will be there. I will be there.


KING: Looking forward to seeing you. I echo what Charles says. Have a great holiday. We'll see you in 2024. Bye bye.