Let’s Make America Funny Again!
By Michael MacLaughlin
As a comedy writer I was overjoyed in a very greedy, creative way when Donald Trump was elected President. Actually the American election was a win- win situation. We could have had a woman president. But comedy writers have to work with what the US electorates giveth, and this time the Despicables elected a political satirist’s wet dream.
Donald J. Trump has a chance to be the funniest president in the history of the Republic. And as an extra comedy bonus you get the Trump zealots, a wacko suicide squad of wackos. (Wait, I said wacko twice.)
But The Donald has a way to go to become the best POTUS for political satire and comedy. The recognized funniest of all time was Richard M. Nixon. With Tricky Dick, comedy, especially political satire, reached its zenith in modern political times − culminating in the theater of the absurd Watergate scandal of the early 1970’s. What made Nixon so good for humor was he had speech and body mannerism that were easy to parody, great one liners like, “When the President does it, that means that it’s not illegal” and both dark Machiavellian AND Macbeth-ian human foibles to write the best dark humor.
Only Ronald Reagan, another conservative Republican, came closest to Nixon in comedy fodder. We all laughed during the Reagan administration of the 1980’s. At least I did. Clinton was a one-note samba blow job joke. Crater wasn’t President long enough. George W. Bush deserves honorable mention for humor. “I know that the human being and the fish can coexist peacefully.” But there will never be another Richard Nixon – Sic transit gloria mundi.
And now along comes Donald J. Trump, President of the United States. Rejoice writers of comedy, a brave new world unfolds!
Like Nixon, Donald Trump rarely smiles and I have never seen our president laugh out loud. He lacks a sense of playfulness and humor. He scowls a lot. This is great for parody. It also seems President Trump comes from the bravado center of the universe called New York, where the people still believe they are the toughest in the land. If you get hit, hit back harder. The Donald’s weapon of choice is Twitter: 140 characters of death.
The irony, and there has to be irony with Trump, is he was elected by people with not one dang thing in common with a billionaire whose family has a Rolls Royce. While President Trump lives in a golden tower, his supporters live in small insolated bergs. Trump’s people change their own oil in their trucks. Trump’s people do three loads of laundry, iron for an hour, fix dinner, clean up, and do homework with the kids every night. I bet you Donald has never mowed a lawn in 105 degrees. I have. You have. He hasn’t.
The WALL on the Mexican border could be the defining moment for Trump. The jokes generated by the wall could be, just could be, the funniest thing of his administration. Then again how much side-splitting humor would be generated with the cancelation of NAFTA and getting into a trade war with China, Mexico and the EU simultaneously? A punch line would be, “Socks cost $6!”
Trump’s supporters are also fair game for satire and mocking. These are red meat, take-no-prisoners conservatives. My favorite, and an easy one to mock, are the climate deniers. They know just enough science to be laughably, deniably wrong all the time.
Monty Python used this denial type of comedy in their very famous “Dead Parrot” routine. The premise is a guy returns a dead parrot to the pet store. And no matter how much the person says the bird is dead, the owner of the pet shop denies it and claims the bird is alive. “The parrot is not dead. It is resting” When the bird is bashed against the counter to prove it is dead, the owner of the shop says the reason the parrot isn’t moving is because it is “pining.”
There are about 24% (last numbers I saw) of conservatives who are blatant racists and should be mocked. These are the people who still want to believe that Obama is a Commie Socialist Muslim, which I might add, is hard to be. These conservatives have cancer of the soul. Maybe their hate will kill them before comedy kills them one laugh at a time.
The biggest joke is on those liberals who believe that the truth shall win out over Trump’s supporters. Universal truth, observed and codified truth, truth as in scientific fact, yea, that truth, are all lies to Trump supporters. For wacko conservatives, the government lies, the news lies, college education lies, Jews lie, science lies, intelligence lies and all liberals lie. Conservative people who believe this are the easiest target for humor. They are almost too easy to make fun of. They are children with fake news who will believe anything if it is damning liberals.
The truth will not save liberals from conservatism. But humor will. In the next four years humor may be your only weapon against the dark forces of Trumpism. Sure, the United States of America might fall off into the abyss, but we’ll be laughing all the way. Let’s make America laugh again.