The former “Celebrity Apprentice” talent handler on what he saw behind the scenes.
by Greg Olear
WHILE IT WAS THE RUSSIANS, wreaking havoc on the election, who won the White House for Donald John Trump, the man who made Trump palatable to voters—who burnished the popular image of the longtime mob money launderer, serial rapist, and piece of shit human—was the TV producer Mark Burnett.
On his “reality” show The Apprentice, Burnett sold America a successful, hard-working, comfortably wealthy version of Trump that was completely divorced from reality. On the show, Trump had his shit together. On the show, Trump was an alpha male. On the show, Trump was not afraid to say “You’re fired” to someone’s face. The Trump on the show was a fictional character.
The comic Noel Casler worked on Celebrity Apprentice for six seasons. For the last three, he worked closely with Ivanka Trump. Unlike his colleagues, Casler has bravely thwarted his nondisclosure agreement, taking to the stand-up stage, and to Twitter, to tell us the unvarnished truth. And like Trump’s hair-do, it ain’t pretty:
Greg Olear: Let’s start with your bona fides. You were a staffer at The Apprentice, which with its Celebrity Apprentice incarnation was on TV for much longer than I’d remembered. Donald John Trump hosted the show from 2004-2015, so he really did jump from that job to the presidency, which seems even more preposterous when I type it out. How long were you working there, and what did your job duties involve?
Noel Casler: I was on Celebrity Apprentice for six seasons of the Finale Tapings. I initially took the gig on a lark. A friend of mine had been given the job of Talent Executive for the first season of CA, which has shot in SNL’s Studio 8H. She needed some experienced talent handlers, which is what I had done for most of my career in live TV, starting in 1993 on the Kennedy Center Honors. So I was assigned to the Celebrity Talent, basically making sure they get delivered to the DGA Stage Managers on time for their live “hit,” and dealing with all their needs backstage. That first year I was assigned to Piers Morgan. In subsequent years I handled the musical performers, such as Cyndi Lauper. Then for the final three seasons, I was Ivanka Trump’s exclusive handler. That’s when the fun really began, LOL.
GO: We’ll get to Ivanka in a second. First: like most Twitterers, I read your feed with astonishment. “How can he get away with saying this stuff?” I say to myself. So let me ask point-blank: How can you get away with saying this stuff? Didn’t you sign an NDA?
NC: I say what I say because it’s true. Trump knows it is true. During the 2016 campaign, Mark Burnett threatened to sue anyone who had worked on the Apprentice crew. This caused many of my colleagues to fall silent. (They had been speaking out on Facebook—including former directors of the show— and I think word got back to him.) I told the HRC campaign what I knew, and at their behest, I told People Magazine. I address the NDA stuff in my stand up.
GO: Yes, to great comic effect:
GO: I’ll add that NDAs are typically used to protect trade secrets, not to cover for a a corrupt criminal running for president. But then, Burnett wanted to make a show extolling Putin, so he’s not the most patriotic guy. What can you tell us about him? Burnett, not Putin.
NC: He is the man behind the curtain in many respects. And becoming enormously wealthy. I will say Mark Burnett helped create the Trump we now see. He’s one of his staunchest supporters and allies, and was in the room for many a racist tirade from Trump’s mouth that was recorded by the audio crew on that show.
GO: I remember there were rumors of tapes of Trump dropping the n-word that never seemed to materialize. Not that any of his supporters would care.
NC: Trump gets off on using racist terms, especially if there are people around who happen to be of that particular minority. He seems to hate Puerto Ricans the most. I will leave it at that, but his policies after Hurricane Maria came of no surprise to me. He is basically trying to kill them, in my opinion.
GO: Nothing we’ve learned about him these last three years suggests that your opinion is wrong.
Four of the biggest bombshells you often talk about on Twitter are Trump’s incontinence and use of adult diapers; his drug addiction; his STD; and his creepy relationship with his daughter, Ivanka—your former boss.
Let’s take them one at a time. First, incontinence. To play devil’s advocate, why does it matter that he wears adult diapers?
NC: It matters because his incontinence stems from his decades of stimulant abuse and fast food diet. He pretends he’s the model of physical health, when instead his bodily functions are being dictated by his drug addiction—and he tries to cover it up. So it’s evidence of his incompetence, and one of the main reasons for the NDAs. The crew nicknamed CA “The Shitshow,” because he would soil himself during tapings, often after flying into a rage and cursing out the Script Dept. Because he couldn’t read a three-syllable word.
GO: Is Trump illiterate?
NC: He is severely dyslexic, and has been his entire life. Ivanka would joke about it off camera.
GO: The drugs are obviously a much bigger deal. Anyone who’s watched him during the last three years—and especially during the pandemic pressers—can see that there are times when his affect is radically different. The press will describe him sometimes as “subdued.” Can you detail what you’ve seen?
NC: He snorts Adderall as his maintenance high. When he gets too wired, this is tempered with benzodiazepines. There’s also a robust use of cocaine and methamphetamine in the Trump orbit, and I’ll leave it at that….NYC is also full of folks with anecdotes of Trump’s drug use. They come up to me and share stories all the time. Look into the Dr. Bornstein stuff if you want to know more, and ask yourself why Trump sent [his bodyguard] Keith Schiller to strong-arm the doctor and steal his medical records, shortly after being elected POTUS.
GO: Next: Sexually transmitted disease. I don’t think this is important, except that it tells us something about his character, or lack thereof, if he has herpes and goes around having unprotected sex—and, even worse, sexually assaulting and raping women.
NC: Yes. “Captain Valtrex” was another nickname for him. He sent his secretaries to the CVS on 57th Street to pick up his scripts for that herpes treatment. He used the name “John Barron” on some of these prescriptions.
GO: My sense of Trump, from afar, is that he is first a narcissist, in the clinical sense of the word; second, that he is a coward, terrified of being beclowned, or of losing; and third, that he is a bully. Bullies are usually cowards, of course. I’ll add that while he has good instincts, he is not smart, in the conventional sense. What is your impression of him, having seen him up close for so long?
NC: He is very unintelligent, but he is also a master conman. He knows what he’s doing, in the sense of advancing his own interests. He is like a “Godfather,” as Michael Cohen described in his House testimony. Also, I don’t buy the dementia talk at all. His debilitation is from drug use and the slowing down of a brain that was never high functioning. But listen to the Lev Parnas audio about taking out Ambassador Yovanovitch: That’s a mob boss mentality, and a guy in charge of his faculties and interests who knows exactly where he is and what he’s doing. If anything, the dementia talk offers him an alibi to use later on.
GO: You call Don Jr. the “second-dumbest son.” He seems to be like a dumbed-down Kendall Roy. He’s also a very good troll. I blocked them all long ago, but there were times he’d tweet something and I’d laugh, in spite of myself. How closely did you work with him, and what was your sense of him?
NC: “Scrump” was his nickname on The Apprentice. He makes his father look like a nice guy. He is also just as racist and addicted. He is a deeply troubled human being with his own eyes on power, and also in perpetual conflict with Ivanka. There is no love lost between them.
GO: Is Eric as much of a moron as his portrayal on Saturday Night Live indicates? He’s now so all-in that he deserves no mercy, but it seemed like, with his original charity, he was at one point making a concerted effort to do something good. On the other hand, his wife is particularly awful, even for MAGA.
NC: We nicknamed Eric “Twizzlers” on CA because he would steal all the red Twizzlers from craft services.
GO: I really hope the Secret Service uses the same nicknames for those two.
NC: Eric is the only one on Twitter from his family to have blocked me.
GO: He blocked me too, ages ago. I can’t remember why. How come he blocked you?
NC: I posted a pic of him smiling and wrote the caption: “Sun’s out, Gum’s out!”
GO: Eric’s teeth are a sensitive topic, from what I gather.
Did you encounter any of the Trump/Russia figures on the set there? Roger Stone, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort?
NC: Felix Sater was a frequent guest at the CA afterparties, especially the ones held at Trump Soho in 2010. He would make introductions between Ivanka and the wealthy Russians that made up most of the guest list. This whole thing is a much bigger operation than most people realize. I hope they do realize before it’s too late.
GO: That brings us to Ivanka, whom you obviously know pretty well. I’ve read that her public persona is complete bullshit. That thing she does where she sex-whispers, like a drag queen doing Marylin Monroe, and tries to present as a serious grown-up, is all an act. I’ve heard she can be funny and she curses a lot. What’s her deal?
NC: Yes, it’s all an act. Her speaking voice is much lower. That’s the voice she uses to pull daddy’s strings. Everything about her is a contrivance.
GO: So she uses the sex whisper to talk to her dad. That’s horrifying, but not surprising. If Ivanka had to pick between her father and her husband, which would she choose? I’m guessing Jared, because he has more money.
NC: Yes. I would go with Jared—they have a comfortable arrangement.
GO: What else did you witness in that father-daughter relationship that struck you as strange?
NC: Everything. Ivanka runs the show and plays her father like a fiddle. She and Jared are using him to gain power. I don’t fear Trump; I’m terrified of them getting control of this country—and I believe that is their plan. As I often say: “Trump wants music to play when he walks in a room, he wants to get high and he wants to grab women; Ivanka & Jared want to rule the world.”
GO: They would be the most boring, ineffectual king and queen of all time—and that’s saying something.