Screenshot of Stephen King on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" on Aug. 9. Credit: Courtesy of CBS

Stephen King appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” this week ostensibly to promote his new book, the revenge thriller “Billy Summers,” which came out last week. But, as is often the case with King and Colbert, the first thing the pair talked about was politics.

King, who spends half his year living near Sarasota, Florida — he spends the other half in western Maine — expressed his disapproval with the way Gov. Ron DeSantis has handled the coronavirus pandemic, something he’d already done on his highly active Twitter page.

It wasn’t just the governor’s COVID response, however, that upset him. During the Monday night appearance, King also pointed out the toxic red tide currently plaguing Tampa Bay, which King says was caused by DeSantis’ administration allowing wastewater to be pumped into the bay from the reservoir of a local fertilizer plant, which was about to collapse.

“Ron DeSantis is probably not the brightest bulb in the chandelier at the best of times,” King said. “He’s got that deer in the headlights look, somehow.”

DeSantis, often talked about as a potential presidential candidate in 2024, is far from the first Republican politician to earn King’s ire on Twitter and on Colbert’s show. Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage, former President Donald Trump and Maine Sen. Susan Collins have been among the bestselling writer’s past targets. King and Collins are neighbors on West Broadway in Bangor, where King’s former home-turned- archive and foundation headquarters is located, and where Collins maintains a year-round residence.

Aside from politics, King and Colbert briefly talked about the soaring property values of homes in Maine, as people seek to leave cities for more rural areas. Colbert suggested King put his Maine home on Airbnb, to make some extra cash.

“Yeah, but there are a lot of skeletons in the closet, man,” King said.

Finally, Colbert asked King to name his top five personal favorites of his own books. King quickly named his short story, “Survivor Type,” published in his 1985 collection “Skeleton Crew,” a gruesome tale about a man stranded on a deserted island, who has to resort to eating his own body in order to survive. He rounded out the list with 1987’s “Misery,” 2006’s “Lisey’s Story” and the 1982 short story “The Body”, and naturally, his newest book, “Billy Summers.”

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.