August 6, 2017

The day the comedy writers got tired.

It was July 29th, I'd say, doing a Google search — with no time restriction — for comedy writers trump:
Oh, I see what happened. A panel of comedy writers got together and admitted they had a problem. Here's Entertainment Weekly: "Late-night grapples with 'exhausting' Trump: 'I don't want this job'/Writers from ‘Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,’ ‘The President Show,’ ‘The Daily Show,’ and ‘The Jim Jefferies Show’ on the political climate in 2017."
One of the key challenges, the writers said, is finding the actual joke when so much of the news about the current administration that comes out these days seems almost unbelievable. “How do I heighten this?” Haglund said. “How do I not just show it, step back and be like, ‘Well, there’s nothing left to do with this that it’s so ridiculous?’ That’s always the challenge.”

Another challenge “is to try to avoid the low hanging fruit like this person talks funny or has funny hair,” Nangle added. “We try to look at what goes deeper than all that insanity? What made this man? We made him, we allowed this to happen, so as much as you can go deeper without being heavy handed, that’s what we aim for.”...
So the problem is Trump made it too easy for you, and you don't know what to do about that. He inoculated himself by being inherently ridiculous on the surface and you can't get past the surface.

That's called rope-a-dope:
In competitive situations other than boxing, rope-a-dope is used to describe strategies in which one contender lets opponent fatigue themself by drawing non-injuring offensive actions. This then gives the contender an advantage towards the end of the competition or before, as the opponent becomes tired, allowing the contender to execute devastating offensive maneuvers and thereby winning.

61 comments:

Danno said...

I love seeing these clowns in pain. Where is a pied-piper like Jim Jones to lead these idiots and drink the kool-aid?

Crimso said...

"One of the key challenges, the writers said, is finding the actual joke when so much of the news about the current administration that comes out these days seems almost unbelievable."

If they had been paying attention to the Nobel Prize-winning lightworker and the lack of scandals (that's sarcasm, btw) in his administration, they'd understand why so very many people found it unbelievable. In fact, their complicity in the crimes of his administration is just one more reason Why You Got Trump. Keep up the good work, you professionals. It's not going unnoticed.

dustbunny said...

They can't give it up because their audiences want more. If Trump quits giving them new material the emptiness of the jokes might become evident to the less rabid trump haters. There will be fewer dopes to rope in.

Chris Lopes said...

They couldn't write jokes about Obama because it was too hard. They can't write jokes about Trump because it's too easy. Maybe they're just lazy untalented hacks, and the person in the White House has nothing to do with it.

Laslo Spatula said...

“The only positive,” Nangle added, “is it’s unearthing part of our culture and part of our country that I think a lot of people didn’t know existed.”

It's like how a lot of people felt when they first saw "Deliverance."

All of the comic writers are afraid of being alone in an elevator with a redneck guy who thinks they look like Ned Beatty.

I am Laslo.

Fernandinande said...

Ali's original "rope-a-dope" also involved loosening the ropes so they'd absorb more force. IOW, cheating.

traditionalguy said...

CNN this morning had the usual political experts trying to work up an hour of fresh Trump is terrible insights, but they were despondent and could merely come up with the Trump White House is under constant and intense pressure from Mueller's prosecution and that prevents any other work. They had their eyes down and mumbled their lines for the 100th time.

Laslo Spatula said...

Of course, there's always the Ivanka incest jokes, but that field's been plowed, too. I mean, we're being left here in a Comedy Dust Bowl, people: there are no more carrots in the ground. Us comedians are becoming like those North Koreans who are left to eat rocks: there's only so many recipes for rock soup, you know...?

I am Laslo.

rhhardin said...

Recycle the Obama jokes, just substituting Trump.

Danno said...

As to the writers not persuading America to hate Trump, in many cases they are doing just the opposite. They have no idea that their perspective is not universal, and that many of their jokes mock not only Trump, but people unlike themselves.

Sebastian said...

"We made him" But not in the way they think. They have no clue.

"we allowed this to happen" The "allow" is a telling touch. If only we had been wittier, clearer, more in-your-face, we could have stopped the deplorables. Cuz we run the Thought-Industrial Complex.

Anyway, humor depends on being willing to question and suspend faith in the order of things. Which is the last thing prog true believers want. Like their ethics and linguistics, "humor" is strictly a tool in the culture war.

Tommy Duncan said...

"...it’s unearthing part of our culture and part of our country that I think a lot of people didn’t know existed.”

Pauline Kael revisited?

"I can't believe Nixon won. I don't know anyone who voted for him."

Tommy Duncan said...

Could the real issue here be that good humor always starts with a kernel of truth?

Chuck said...

Didn't somebody write that the Trump Administration would be The Onion's worst nightmare? Didn't I write that? I should probably search, but it would be so painful. Like reviewing a photo essay of Katrina survivors in the Superdome. Or watching Joe Theisman's leg get broken again.

MayBee said...

"Comedy"

Owen said...

People don't know what they don't know. The comedy writers have a real problem. They know their (usual) audience and its tastes, which are for hip, ironic Coastal Urban jokes at the expense of the naive, corny and bumpkin Flyovers. Learning to write differently requires learning a new audience, one which for decades they have done their best to use as the butt, not the consumer, of their cleverness. I don't think they know how to do it.

Plus, the situation we're in, through which Trump is trying to navigate the country, is not all that funny. How many laugh lines can you get out of Nork warheads on LA?

MayBee said...

When did a law get passed that comedy has to be political? That seems so lazy to me.

Chuck said...

Lol!

That was so much easier than I feared. During the campaign, and again in February, I wrote that Trump would put The Onion out of business:

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2017/02/journalist-wondering-where-to-mention.html?showComment=1486676217580&m=1

Kassaar said...

And all the while the goldmine of Trump derangement syndrome lies unexplored.

William said...

Who could possibly find anything absurd about Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters? Their banker husbands are also figures to be venerated. Trump is the only public figure in America worthy of mockery,

Diogenes of Sinope said...

For years, I used to listen to NPR Saturday shows. Now it's one lame Trump "joke" after another. Damn boring.

Nothing like this happened during Reagan, Bush or Bush presidencies.

Quayle said...

The left still believes that the Teump voters didn't know what they were doing.

That somehow Trump's election was a result of lack of education and information. That Trump supporters are so unbelievably stupid that would fall for this Trump character. That if the jokes had just been a bit more biting or derisive,] the voting public wouldn't have been duped.

And the truth is that the Trump voters knew exactly what they were doing and why they were doing it. They knew very well who they were hoping to elect.

buwaya said...

Owen has it.
Their problem is their audience, their market.
They have defined it so narrowly because of the intense segmentation of media, where viewers can select what pleases them, which leads to extreme specialization.
This plus the monoculture in their field (or nearly all of the traditional entertainment industry) leads to too many people chasing an ever narrowing segment.
They have locked themselves out of larger markets, and because their form does not travel, they can't make up the deficit through exports.

Laslo Spatula said...

Comedy Writers at the bar...

"This sucks. Every day I gotta write a new riff about Trump. I'm fucking out of gas..."

"I know! It's like we're in Nazi Germany, and we have to keep coming up with more Hitler jokes."

"It's JUST like that, man. And all the people who liked Hitler HATED you for making Hitler jokes."

"There were only so many jokes you could make about Hitler. Everyone knows that."

"Like just how many jokes could you do about that fucked-up mustache...?"

"Exactly. I feel like I'll kill myself if I have to do another joke about Trump's hair."

"Yeah. Don't take this the wrong way, but I sometimes wish Trump would start sending the transsexuals to concentration camps just so there would be something new to make jokes about..."

"Uh... I don't think we could make jokes about transsexuals in concentration camps..."

"No -- I mean we would make jokes about how mean Trump was to send transsexuals to concentration camps."

"I get it, but there'd still be the 'transsexuals in concentration camps' thing. A lot of people would be touchy about that."

"Well, sometimes a comic needs to make people uncomfortable to show the Truth."

"Are we talking about full transgenders, or are we including the guys who just like to dress up in women's clothes?"

"That's a tough one. It's easier to work with the guys who just like to dress up in women's clothes, than the ones who actually cut their own cocks off. Joke-wise, I mean."

"Yeah. A guy who willingly cuts off his own cock: that just makes transgender people seem weird."

"Oh yeah. Fucking Trump..."

I am Laslo.

buwaya said...

They can't easily switch to making fun of TDS, because that is their audience. You can't mock your patrons.

The only way they could do that is by switching audiences, and thats difficult to do because the easily monetizable venues are locked down by industry ownership, and that will not tolerate ideological variety. It seems to be worse now than ever. Only a few are permitted to stray.

Mike Judge could, once, "King of the Hill" for instance wandered way over the line in its day, and would certainly have made hay of TDS if Judge was still doing it. But that would not be permitted now. "Silicon Valley" is studiously non-political, for excellent reasons.

Even Parker&Stone can't go there, and have said as much.
Interesting and telling, that "South Park" could so viciously mock so many sacred cows, but are defeated by this hysteria.

CWJ said...

Despondent comedy writers. That's funny right there.

bgates said...

How many laugh lines can you get out of Nork warheads on LA?

North Korea has announced it has missiles that can reach Los Angeles, prompting the President of Mexico to release this statement: "What did we ever do to you?"

In an unexpected display of bipartisanship, President Trump has asked Chelsea Clinton to serve as America's envoy to North Korea, speculating that she might somehow be able to bond with Kim Jong-Un, a clueless fat kid who's probably tired of hearing about how great his dad was.

In case Chelsea doesn't get anywhere, the USS Gerald R. Ford has been dispatched to the waters near Pyongyang. The Daily News is said to be looking forward to being able to reuse their most famous headline.

Back in Washington, a group of high-ranking admirals have been summoned to Capitol Hill to reassure panicky Democratic lawmakers that even if the worst were to happen and LA were to be vaporized, the loss of that counterweight would not be enough to tip DC into the ocean.

tcrosse said...

Trump gets the last laugh. That's got to hurt.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The real problem that the "comedy" writers and "comedians" have ...(yes I used scare quotes) is that they have lost the ability to be funny.

Instead they are shrill, mean, cruel, dogmatic, preaching to their choir. This isn't humor. It isn't funny.

Comedy often contains an element of self awareness or self deprecation....You might be a redneck IF. Even self admitted Rednecks can find it funny and laugh because there is a mild element of truth. Instead the spoofs and skits about Trump are nothing more than crude attacks on Trump, his family and more importantly on everyone who voted for him.

Trying to be funny about something that is definitely NOT funny is a failure. I doubt that there are any people who find jokes about the people burning to death or jumping to their deaths from the Twin Towers a suitable topic for joking. Not funny and in bad taste.

The people who voted for Trump were and ARE serious about the reasons they voted for Trump. They don't find anything funny about illegal aliens invading the country. They don't find it funny that the economy in their small towns has cratered. They don't find it funny that their wages are depressed, that their houses are declining in value, that their children are turning to drugs in desperation. They take these concerns seriously and when "comedians" dismiss their concerns, make fun of them, not in a Jeff Foxworthy way, but in a condescending insulting way....they don't find it funny....at all.

So. Yeah. It is hard to be a "comedian" in Trump's world because they have forgotten HOW to be funny and are consumed by their own biases, hatred and their own fanaticism.

Bruce Hayden said...

" How many laugh lines can you get out of Nork warheads on LA?"

Kinda like the joke about what you call a thousand attorneys at the bottom of the ocean.

Phil 3:14 said...

" this is the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Now there's some untapped comedy gold.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

There was a period after the election where merely saying "Trump" would get them laughs from their target demographic. That got old fast and that window closed over the summer hiatus. SNL will not be able to get away with an Alec Baldwin Trump impersonation as the cold opening in September.

Past Republican administrations have been DC insiders that had a habit of playing to the DC press corps and usually did so badly because they also had to keep Republican voters happy. This provided a lot of fodder for comedy writers since it sometimes involved a lot of self-contradiction. The press is focusing solely on the Trump admin, which is not an insider admin and is openly hostile to the press. It's very hard to make comedy out of that without having to reference things like Jim Acosta's meltdown, which no one wants to do because their target demographic believes the press are the good guys.

Fernandinande said...

rhhardin said...
Recycle the Obama jokes, just substituting Trump.


Heh. According to google, Obama jokes are jokes that Obama told, not jokes about Obama. So they suck.

But try replacing "Obama" with "Trump" and they still suck.

JAORE said...

"Recycle the Obama jokes, just substituting Trump."

Ah yes, the unspoken jokes.

And, bgates, I want you to know I am stealing the crap out of your jokes. Thanks.
**************
ABC had a comedy show called "Last Man Standing" with Tim Allen. I never watched it until I read it was cancelled. Oddly it was the #1 comedy and #3 show overall in the ABC lineup. Yet cancelled. Turns out the comedy leaned right. Yep, just had to go.

I've seen several in re-run now. The humor was relatively gentle and, often, the source - Tim Allen - was proven wrong or mocked. But check out who owns ABC and figure out if just a little slightly right humor is allowed.

Bruce Hayden said...

I would only differ with DBQ in that you can be serious and funny at the same time. One aspect of this is what we call "black humor". Military, esp when at war, is famous for that. Which is why I suspect that Trump supporters could come up with some good Trump jokes (like maybe the ones that Laslo has above). The problem, in my mind, is that these writers are required to be mean, and that gets old, real fast. Their self-awareness is, really, that they are mean people having to be mean for a living. Maybe akin to the Humane Society and ASPCA people whose job it is is to kill puppies and kittens. Or maybe Planned Parenthood late term abortion providers, whose job it is is to cut up living babies. (Though I do believe that Project Veritas did catch some jokes about that in their videos). They have to pretend that their job isn't to be mean, when everyone knows that it is.

I just finished another Joseph Wambach book, chronicling LAPD cops. Part of the enjoyment of his books is the gritty humor. Parts are quite humorous - but a lot of the humor is keeping the cops' very black day-to-day humor away from the public, and even their more politically correct supervisors. It's what keeps them sane in an insane world, but wouldn't be possible if the general public, who don't have to deal the dirtiest parts of society, knew what they were doing, saying, and meaning. We are onto these comedy writers' job, which is to make Trump and his supporters (meaning us) look bad, just to tear him and them down, and don't think that they are that funny. Coming up with another variation on hitting these people gets boring very quickly, esp since half the country is seeing right through to the required meanness.

Feste said...

~
On fatigue

During the fight:

Ali: "They told me Joe Frazier was washed up."

Frazier: "They lied."

I think (cannot find a link) that this last fight in Manilla provided the occasion for Ali to speak feelingly to Frazier after the bell, something like, “We can’t do this again. It hurts too much.”

And that ain’t funny.

Rope-a-dope works only when - one dope - backs up.

Bruce Hayden said...

"ABC had a comedy show called "Last Man Standing" with Tim Allen. I never watched it until I read it was cancelled. Oddly it was the #1 comedy and #3 show overall in the ABC lineup. Yet cancelled. Turns out the comedy leaned right. Yep, just had to go."

I always thought that he was somewhat a leftist, which maybe why he did such a good job there. My partner, possibly to the right of me politically, is an avid follower of the show. But ABC may have been right to cancel it, since it was really aimed at the stupefying political correctness of the Obama era. We still see a lot of it, but the trend now, is in the opposite direction with the Trump Administration. The push towards affirmative action is quickly moving towards the realization that it was primarily about openly discriminating against Asian-Americans. Transgendered are being shown to be demographicly irrelevant. Feminists have sold out their feminist principles to anti-feminist Muslims for the sake of left wing solidarity. All the stuff that Allen attacked on that show is blowing up, all on its own, with no help from the program.

Bay Area Guy said...

Samantha Bee is a comedy show? I didn't know .......

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Bruce: I would only differ with DBQ in that you can be serious and funny at the same time. One aspect of this is what we call "black humor". Military, esp when at war, is famous for that. Which is why I suspect that Trump supporters could come up with some good Trump jokes (like maybe the ones that Laslo has above)

Thanks Bruce. I agree and disagree.

Black humor also has that element of self awareness and self depreciation in it. It isn't funny in a ha ha ha sense but funny in a sarcastic, ironic, dark and WTF can you do sense. Black humor is that time when you are in a serious and bad situation, you must find some humor in it so you won't go ballistic.

Those on this blog and elsewhere accuse Trump supporters of being blind to his faults and being sycophants. Nothing is further from the truth. This is WHY we can make some pretty good jokes about Trump and the situation. We see the good and the bad. We see the faults and the seriousness and can still find the "funny" .... ala Laslo type jokes.

The "comedians" who hate Trump, hate his supporters, can find no good whatsoever in him and their skits are not even black humor types. They are nothing but shrill attacks pretending to be humorous.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

So the problem is Trump made it too easy for you -

People less narcissistic than you and Trump care about other things, too. Their country, the people they love, the people they don't even know. For us normal people it is indeed exhausting to have to devote all psychic energy just to ourselves, the way he and you do.

Laslo Spatula said...

" We see the faults and the seriousness and can still find the "funny" .... ala Laslo type jokes."

Thank you, Dust Bunny Queen.

I am Laslo.

Feste said...

Robert Cook said

“If Trump's ethical and intellectual character could be physically realized on film, it would very much like the corrupt police captain Hank Quinlan in TOUCH OF EVIL ..."

Soft! Welles reprised and redeemed even - Falstaff - in “Chimes at Midnight.” Just took awhile for midnight to arrive. And for Welles to gain admission to heaven.

Until midnight, sack!

" or Kenneth McMillan's Baron Harkonnen in DUNE. "

Sleepers must awaken ...

The 2018 Mexican General Sleeper Elections are the next hemispheric religious Great Awakening for Mexicans to prove, once and for all, they will build the wall!

Bill Peschel said...

"Even Parker&Stone can't go there, and have said as much."

Trey Parker was on the Nerdist podcast recently, and he said the show's going back to its roots because he's burned out on the politics. He emphasized that the show's about these kids seeing the fucked-up world through their eyes. That's what he's always enjoyed about the show.



EDH said...

"I'm dying up heah!"

Seeing Red said...



People less narcissistic than you and Obama care about other things, too. Their country, the people they love, the people they don't even know. For us normal people it is indeed exhausting to have to devote all psychic energy just to ourselves, the way he and you do.



FIFY



We survived 8 years,MYou can survive, too.
8/6/17, 10:45 AM

Brian McKim and Traci Skene said...

Thought the headline read "fired" not "tired." "Fired" makes more sense than "tired."

JAORE said...

"But ABC may have been right to cancel it, since it was really aimed at the stupefying political correctness of the Obama era"

Perhaps, Bruce. But in the few episodes I've seen, politics are an infrequent injection into a show about a family, not the "aim" of the show. Unlike the unrelenting Trump hate all the time on late night shows. I just viewed one this morning and don't recall a single reference to politics.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Nice vandalism, Seeing Red.

Michael K said...

One aspect of this is what we call "black humor". Military, esp when at war, is famous for that. Which is why I suspect that Trump supporters could come up with some good Trump jokes (like maybe the ones that Laslo has above)

Lots of black humor in medicine. Some of it is incomprehensible to outsiders, just as the case with military black humor.

Dilbert cartoons made engineer black humor open to non-engineers.

One example of surgeon black humor.
Three doctors go duck hunting. They agree they will take turns shooting. The internist goes first.

A duck comes flying over,. The internist keeps asking "Is that a duck? Are you sure it's a duck?"

By the time he is satisfied, the duck is long gone.

Next is the surgeon. A duck comes over.

BLAM ! BLAM! The surgeon turns to the pathologist and says, "Make sure that's a duck. "

Zach said...

In competitive situations other than boxing, rope-a-dope is used to describe strategies in which one contender lets opponent fatigue themself by drawing non-injuring offensive actions.

This relates to a question that's been rolling around my mind lately about the "Resistance:"

Q: What do you call a boxer who throws nothing but haymakers that aren't really landing?

A: Dead.

Darrell said...

Ritmo and Unknown/Inga are ordering the new anvils from the Acme Novelty catalog right now. They surely will get Trump this time.

Ralph L said...

The noisy late-night studio audiences are even more obnoxious and unbearable than the lame jokes.
Just as on Seinfeld, it doesn't make the material funny.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Unwritten, unsaid, reality - these people are all good loyal democrats. They wanted corrupt Hillary, and they lost. Yes yes - Trump is soooooo strange! + Russia!
Hillary lost and the never-ending butthurt is the real invisible hand.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

All the hardworking deplorables tune out and no longer watch these late night for progressive socialists shows. The jokes are often launched on pure lies and wish-facts. It's nothing more than propaganda for the progressive echo chamber.

southcentralpa said...

Am I the only one who noticed the gradual change over the year-ish of his candidacy that DJT eeeeeever so slowly migrated from orange hair and skin to the more "life-like" shades of today?

It's almost as though for some time previous he had deliberately been going for odd tones to get people to underestimate him. There seems to be a lot of those sorts of things going on with him, he definitely seems a man you underestimate at your own peril.

Paco Wové said...

Michael K @ 12:07pm–

Good one.

walter said...

Blogger Crimso said...
If they had been paying attention to the Nobel Prize-winning lightworker and the lack of scandals (that's sarcasm, btw) in his administration, they'd understand why so very many people found it unbelievable. In fact, their complicity in the crimes of his administration is just one more reason Why You Got Trump.
--
After seemingly incapable or disallowed from critiquing the rObamas, they should feel so happy and liberated to have the Trumps.
But no..sad face.

Steven said...

So, comedy writers . . . since your job is to produce comedy, not political commentary, how about just ignoring Trump? Hmm?

Bad Lieutenant said...


It's almost as though for some time previous he had deliberately been going for odd tones to get people to underestimate him. There seems to be a lot of those sorts of things going on with him, he definitely seems a man you underestimate at your own peril.



I like the way you think, but I believe the increased scrutiny of the campaign trail, combined perhaps with greater resources, led him to hone his look and perhaps get better people. Or get people whereas formerly he may have done some things himself IE hair coloring.

darrenoia said...

It is common for muscles to fatigue easily when they are purposely not used for eight years.

Bad Lieutenant said...

The word you're looking for is atrophy.