Comedians Are Going Hard on Trump, But It's Hard to Laugh When You're Scared

I feel terror. Terror that Trump will win, and get inside, and do all of his Trump things.
Publish date:
March 7, 2016
saturday night live, Louis C.K., Donald Trump, John Oliver, Drumpf

I didn't watch the Trump-hosted episode of Saturday Night Live that aired back in November, but I heard it was terrible, and I felt bad for the cast members who had to do their job and perform alongside him, regardless of how they felt about him and his politics.

This is why I hope they experienced some sort of catharsis when they ran this fairly brutal sketch depicting trump supporters as Nazis and Klan members.

In the first portion of the sketch, Taran Killam, Bobby Moynihan, Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, and Vanessa Bayer all play wholesome-looking Americans, spouting the same "he's authentic" and "says what I'm thinking" drivel we're used to hearing from Trump supporters. The tone changes abruptly when Taran Killam raises his arm to reveal a Nazi armband, which is quickly followed by Klan robes, a cross burning, and other racist imagery.

You hear some laughs from the audience, but you also hear some groans and gasps. It was pretty bold, especially for SNL, but it also felt a little like they were attacking a monster they helped create. I don't know that anyone expected Trump to get this far, and maybe letting Trump host seemed like a relatively harmless way to boost ratings, but it's this underestimation of Trump, and the promotion of him as an entertaining commodity, that's helped get us into this very terrifying mess. Though it was great to see SNL take such a direct hit at him — and it was a funny hit — it feels a bit "too little, too late."

Saturday Night Live isn't the only one making Nazi comparisons. In a letter announcing the sixth episode of his web series, "Horace and Pete," comedian Louis C.K. added a lengthy postscript (the whole of which you can read here) begging people not to vote for Trump and comparing him to Hitler. Usually, I'm not a big fan of throwing around "Nazi" and "Hitler" in any kind of criticism of anyone, simply because no one is Hitler besides Hitler, and it usually comes off as lazy and hyperbolic, thereby discrediting the rest of your argument. That being said, C.K. makes a good point about how the entertainment value of the situation may be blinding us to the true horror at hand:

P.S. Please stop it with voting for Trump. It was funny for a little while. But the guy is Hitler. And by that I mean that we are being Germany in the 30s. Do you think they saw the shit coming? Hitler was just some hilarious and refreshing dude with a weird comb over who would say anything at all.

He goes on to say:

A vote for Trump is so clearly a gut-vote, and again I get it. But add a little brain to it and look the guy up. Because if you vote for him because of how you feel right now, the minute he’s president, you’re going to regret it. You’re going to regret it even more when he gives the job to his son. Because American democracy is broken enough that a guy like that could really fuck things up. That’s how Hitler got there. He was voted into power by a fatigued nation and when he got inside, he did all his Hitler things and no one could stop him.

I can't speak for the whole nation, but I feel pretty fatigued. More than fatigue though, I feel terror. Terror that Trump will win, and get inside, and do all of his Trump things.

The SNL skit, the tweet above, and (to a lesser extent) the Louis C.K. rant are all funny, but I'm having a hard time seeing the humor of the situation. Trump won Super Tuesday, and that is not at all funny.

Of course, no discussion about Trump -- or should I say "Drumpf"? -- is complete without mention of John Oliver's fantastic and hilarious take down, and also it's nice to end on a high note. If you haven't seen it by now, watch it in it's entirety below.

It's good. It's real good. It's funny and smart and John Oliver is one witty, intelligent man. And, while I'm glad he's here to apply his wit and intelligence to this Drumpf disaster, I kind of wish he didn't have to. Drumpf is great comedic fodder, but I'm having a hard time laughing.