January 19, 2021

"I don’t remember the last time I laughed at a Trump joke on any show, including my own. That’s not an indictment of my show or the host or the writers..."

"... it’s just that I can’t find the humor in this anymore. I can write jokes and hope that someone else finds the humor, but none of it’s funny to me. And it was useless. It doesn’t hurt him, it doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t change anyone’s mind. But live audiences only responded to Trump jokes. We tried to do silly non-Trump jokes. We rehearsed in front of a live audience, but when we were done with the Trump jokes, the energy just died. It was just clear that, for whatever reason, other stuff was just not going to fly. So most of the monologue ended up being 90 percent Trump jokes. It’s like an addiction: That’s all people wanted. That infected other jokes too... let’s say that there’s some story about a panda rescuing someone or something. It’s so easy to make a Trump joke about that because, from the audience’s point of view, it’s so unexpected. So it’s very easy for even non-Trump stories to have a Trump punchline, because it’s this kind of shorthand. Then it becomes like, Oh my God, this is just, like, The Trump Show.... It’s the narcissist’s dream to have everyone thinking and talking about him constantly, and he manipulated us into doing that. We rewarded his abuse by giving him exactly what he wanted.... [T]here is some question of whether our audience will stick around if we’re not just dunking on Trump every night.... It’s easy to hate Trump because he’s hateable, but I’d be pretty surprised if Biden got all the kids out of cages or took down the border wall. Is that gonna be a tough pill to swallow for some of our audience?... [I]f the good jokes aren’t pulling in the same kind of numbers as lukewarm jokes with a more palatable political take for our demo, strictly from a business perspective, that’s going to be something that someone, somewhere at the network has to think about."

74 comments:

Patrick said...

Maybe the other stuff "didn't fly" because it wasn't funny either

Ken B said...

I laugh at Trump jokes frequently: Achilles, Drago, Pants.

What's the betting on last minute pardons for Assange and Snowden? I think he should, even if just for the fun of seeing those who have demanded it disavow it. But I bet against.

Tina Trent said...

I’m over Trump. Let him free Lil’ Whomever and all praise to Ann Coulter for seeing through him first. Like her or hate her, that woman humors no illusions. My all time favorite historical clip is a 20 year old, nervous but confident, acne-struck Coulter giving greasy drunken William F. Buckley a run for his money. The *alls on that woman are monumental.

However, if it was 2016 again, I’d still vote for Trump. And I voted for him in 2020. He put an unique screw to the borg. Too bad that’s all he did, domestically at least. Brilliant foreign policy.

hombre said...

Looking in the wrong place. The Babylon Bee has no trouble finding political humor, mostly from progressive lunacy.

Skeptical Voter said...

Among my anti Trump friends a line that usually drew smiles was one of them referring to Trump as "The Big Cheeto".

I'm going to try out a Biden line as "The Senile Cheater". I think they won't smile--and the line is really unfair. He may be senile, or simply senescent. But he didn't personally cheat. He stayed in his basement bunker and outsourced the job to others. Delegation--that's the ticket!

chickelit said...

Dude, why not try making Biden jokes? There's an audience for them as well.

Mikey NTH said...

Maybe they should cast a different audience, one that isn't Trump-oriented? Just a thought.

Drago said...

Ken B: "I laugh at Trump jokes frequently: Achilles, Drago, Pants."

I am guessing you intended for that to mean something.

Why the anger?

With Biden you are very likely to realize a return to your definition of "free trade", which = The US Must Be At A Significant Tariff Imbalance With Trading Partners.

You should be celebrating.

mccullough said...

Trump didn’t get them. He let them get themselves.

Narayanan said...

if only the /jokesters/ found out which side of the fourth wall they are on.

Todd said...

That’s all people wanted.

All the people that attend or watch late night shows wanted. And that is fine, that is "the audience" but please don't confuse THAT audience with "everyone" or even with just the NOT late night audiences.

Not-Trump folks will laugh at Trump jokes all night long but that is still maybe half the country.

I used to laugh so hard I could not walk for days when all these late night shows did all the Obama jokes. Wait. They didn't do that at all. They almost NEVER did any Obama jokes. Why is that? Oh, I remember, that because "THAT'S NOT FUNNY".

Chuck said...

Colbert had a good one:

"It’ll be a shame if history allows one horrific event on this president’s watch to overshadow all the other horrific events on this president’s watch."

Bob Boyd said...

Trump voters will take Trump's place as the object of scorn, ridicule and hatred from the left.

gspencer said...

"Dude, why not try making Biden jokes?"

To find out who rules you, make fun of your Democrat masters.

Drago said...

I suspect a blog moderator will be along shortly to clean up the Pierre Omidyar/Reid Hoffman funded mess.

Rory said...

Whoever wrote that doesn't get that it's just a stage in the process: after telling you what you're against, next they'll tell you what you're for, and that can just glide on forever. Most formal entertainment for centuries consisted of morality lessons that conveyed the approved opinions of the ruling classes. Well, the artists of the western world have returned to that model, so comedians will have to get used to receiving applause signifying assent, instead of laughter.

Rusty said...

Still waiting for the Obama jokes.

Sebastian said...

"Is that gonna be a tough pill to swallow for some of our audience?"

Our audience = fellow progs.

Not that they care.

For Biden jokes, they could just cut to YouTube. Apart from a few very scripted appearances, has Joe made it through any event in the past two years without laughable blunders?

Joe Smith said...

JFC...Hillary, Obama, and Biden are huge fucking targets.

But they're not funny...nah.

This guy and his cohorts are political hacks.

99% of people in showbiz are hacks.

They used to poke fun at the Rapist when he was prez, but it was still good-natured. They had at least one ball intact back then.

Lurker21 said...

No it is an indictment of the shows, the hosts, and the writers. And Trump didn't "make" them focus on him either. So many topics were made off-limits by the focus on Trump as the target: Pelosi, Biden, CNN, MSNBC, the Obamas, Weinstein, Epstein, Zuckerberg, Bezos, etc. etc.

I got no love for Ann Coulter, but I do understand. She thought it was going to be easy to turn the country around. So did Trump. He found out differently. She still hasn't.

RMc said...

Dude, why not try making Biden jokes?

Because it's a pain to have to re-build your garage every time Antifa firebombs it.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

I’ve never heard a funny Trump joke. Is there such a thing?

Joe Smith said...

Re: Coulter. She dated Bill Maher for fuck's sake. So much for her good judgment.

YoungHegelian said...

I stopped watching late-night comedy at the beginning of the Trump admin. when it became not comedy but a live sex act. Each outdid the the other in seeing how far they could put the DNC's bleep up their blank-hole.

Colbert especially comes to mind.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

It’s the narcissist’s dream to have everyone thinking and talking about him constantly, and he manipulated us into doing that.

Is there anything Trump can't do?!?!

Known Unknown said...

"I’ve never heard a funny Trump joke. Is there such a thing?"

Yeah- the ones he tells at his rallies. It's less a speech and more a stand-up routine and very few of our progressive betters realize it.

J Melcher said...

The real mother-lode of Biden humor is son Hunter.

Hunter makes Bristol Palin look self-restrained.

Hunter makes Chelsea Clinton's fund-raising activities seem charitable.

Hunter makes Billy Carter appear temperate.

It's a good thing for Hunter the press is as restrained with him as they were the Bush twins.

Hunter's laptop makes Anthony Weiner's look chaste.

Hey, you know the story that Hunter hired hookers to pee on Obama's bed is fake news, probably?

Prince Harry is just SO glad Hunter upstaged him...

Bill Clinton wagged his finger at me and swore he has never EVER shared the Lolita Express with that man, Hunter Biden.











Mark said...

But live audiences only responded to Trump jokes. . . when we were done with the Trump jokes, the energy just died. . . So most of the monologue ended up being 90 percent Trump jokes. It’s like an addiction: That’s all people wanted.

That's right. The ALL wanted nothing but the Two-Minute Hate. That's what they wanted. After all, it's not like they were EXPECTED to laugh - and if they didn't, they were immediately thought suspect by those around them.

Big Mike said...

Too bad that’s all he did, domestically at least.

@Tina Trent, so I guess you didn’t know anyone who was able to get a job in 2018 or 2019 after giving up even looking for a job after Obama’s “L-shaped recovery”? You didn’t know anyone who got a real raise because the boss couldn’t threaten to replace them with an illegal immigrant who is illiterate in his own language, much less English? You need more diversity among your circle of acquaintances.

That, or you’re just another woman who has hers and doesn’t care about people less fortunate.

boatbuilder said...

Here's a funny Trump joke: "Those CFC light bulbs they made us use, they were awful, they cost 5 time as much, everybody hated them. And they made me look...orange!"

Howard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandinande said...

none of it’s funny to me.

#metoo

Owen said...

Not sure how this guy (and his peers) expect to survive in the Post Trump era. Biden jokes will not be encouraged; Trump fans will not find them funny; and many (moderate) former viewers became former viewers because the unhinged obsessive Trump hatred was juvenile, crude, and boring. These fools abandoned taste, balance, professional skill: but now they hope to keep getting paid even though their ratings are going down the sewer? Good luck with that.

wendybar said...

Ann Coulter also dated Bob Guccione, Jr. for a short time in the 90's. Another lapse in judgement.

Howard said...

The only funny take on Trump is the Sarah Cooper miming of his own spoken word.

YoungHegelian said...

Trump-hate served another useful function on the Left -- it gave the "moderate" and "hard" Left common ground, a shared object of hatred.

Soon, that common ground will be gone, and the two camps will discover they really don't care for each other very much. It was there even during the campaign , e.g. one of Bernie's campaign managers saying that the difference between Biden & Trump was like being given half a bowl instead of a full bowl of shit to eat. Needless to say, the press deep-sixed that sort of expression!

wendybar said...

Time to for all the non funny's to go, and maybe hire somebody with talent.

Nonapod said...

With any luck, late night talk show "comedy" on networks will go off the air over the next few years. None of them are particularly funny anymore. They take no risks, usually only resorting to easy premises that appeal to their narrow minded audience who respond with Pavlovian clapter. And their interviews are bland and uninteresting compared to the interviews you hear on most of the more notable podcasts. A series of banal, preplaned questions interupted by commercial breaks? Why are these shows, these anachronisms still around at all in 2021?

Gunner said...

Big Whiny Brother Colbert gets mad when his audience cheers about stuff that he doesn't want them to cheer about.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Owen said...

Not sure how this guy (and his peers) expect to survive in the Post Trump era.

Ah, but don't you see? Can't do Trump jokes, do Trump supporter jokes! It'll be brilliant! And what will really be funny is watching the leftie elite begin to look more and more like the Russian nobility in 1917!.

Howard said...

When was Colbert ever funny. Kimmel was funny one or twice on the Fox NFL pregame with Howie and Terry. I don't get the Conan type of humor. The rest of the other guys who can't replace Johnny Carson or John Stewart are worst.

Jupiter said...

"I’ve never heard a funny Trump joke. Is there such a thing?"

I'm guessing that the punch line would involve grabbing someone by the pussy. Maybe a mobbed-up cement-trucking union boss? How many mobbed-up cement-trucking union bosses had pussies in 1979? I bet you could count them on the huge dicks in Chuck's mouth.

BidenFamilyTaxPayerFundedCrackPipe said...

"and he manipulated us into doing that. "

more... Look what you made me do!

Nonapod said...

Conan's show was actually very good years ago (late 90s, early 2000s) when Rob Smigel, Brian McCann, and Brian Stack were writers/sketch performers. I remember laughing out loud during many sketches during that era, something which I hardly ever do since I'm such a jaded bastard.

BidenFamilyTaxPayerFundedCrackPipe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Readering said...

People like to laugh and TV will pay top dollar to folks who can write and deliver a punchline. This will sort itself out. Cream rises to the top. But those also reading today's Rhode post should ask themselves why 50 years after she started Yale College women are so under-represented on late night comedy. That guy who drank a bottle of Johnny Walker Black every day did not have the answer.

Rabel said...

Maybe those live audiences in NY and LA don't want to be seen not laughing.

tim maguire said...

I can't remember the last time I laughed at a Trump joke and it is an indictment of the writers. Trump jokes are not humor, they are lazy half-assed pandering. Hack humor.

rcocean said...

That's not what the Audiences wanted after CV-19, because there was no audience. Yet, the comics kept telling Trump jokes.

SO, the explanation is bullshit.

rcocean said...

The trump jokes - and the anti-Republican "Jokes" - have been a staple of Late nite TV for 10 years. Remember Palin?

The TV "comics" drove away any Republicans/Trump supporters years ago. Now only the D's watch.

Temujin said...

It's not Trump. The Left has had their humor bone removed. Nothing is allowed. Nothing is funny. The only humor allowed is humor about white people (this is still allowed), or body parts. That's it, folks.

Enjoy your new Golden Age.

rhhardin said...

There was the Polish woman who didn't use a vibrator because it chipped her teeth.

There are lots of good jokes around.

alanc709 said...

The next time Colbert is funny will be the first.

rhhardin said...

Colbert was very funny as the plow-ahead right-wing guy, bringing out the incredulity of the left-wing other guy. I don't know that he meant it that way but it was so good that I suspect it was intended.

Clyde said...

Will Biden get all of the kids out of the cages? Only if they smell good.

Clyde said...

And just like that, I'm funnier than any of the late-night "comedy" writers!

Lurker21 said...

I think there’s just going to be some light ribbing of the Biden administration. We’re going to set our sights on the people who say obnoxious, sexist, racist things about Kamala Harris. We’re going to set our sights on Fox News and the machine against Biden and Harris. That’s what the late-night show I work on was pre-Trump: just criticism of Hannity and all the disgusting things people say.

So more unfunny years to come.

I don’t think we’re going to necessarily give Biden a total pass, but I still think I’d use kid gloves. There’s a couple of reasons Biden is funny, but the primary thing is that he’s very, very old, and that’s ridiculous. He’s out of touch. There was also the whole thing when he was facing those sexual-assault allegations; we didn’t do a single thing about that. This was a major story, and it’s just like, We’re not going after that. I sound like I’m a conservative, but I’m not. Sometimes, I’m like, Are we a propa­ganda machine? I don’t know. There’s a weird double standard.

Whoever said that does know. They are.

Xmas said...

Should we care what words come out of Democrat cock holsters? (If you don't get the reference, then you don't get the reference).

Interested Bystander said...

He's exactly right. It's like an addiction. It has nothing to do with the actual man, Donald Trump. It's about feeding something in your brain with good feelings about yourself. How you're better than those others, the ones who follow Trump. Those sorry, unspeakably wretched losers who are so much different from me.

Interested Bystander said...

Blogger chickelit said...
Dude, why not try making Biden jokes? There's an audience for them as well.

1/19/21, 11:51 AM

Johnny Carson and Jay Leno could make jokes about whoever was president and they were funny. Never mean. Just funny. Another man who was genius at that was Bob Hope. He was friendly with every president, R or D, and you could never tell how he voted. He was just funny.

PM said...

Biden jokes? Nope, ageism.
Kamala-toe jokes? None, including that one. Too high on the intersectional totem.

Steven said...

But live audiences only responded to Trump jokes. . .
It’s the narcissist’s dream to have everyone thinking and talking about him constantly, and he manipulated us into doing that.

Dear Morons,

It's not pasta's fault that you're an Italian restaurant. It's not your customers' fault, either. If you serve a mostly-Italian menu, and your advertising exclusively highlights Italian dishes, your customers will be people who want Italian food.

If you had adopted a policy from the beginning of "one joke at the expense of a Democratic politician for every joke at the expense of a Republican, and no more than one joke about a politician for every non-political joke", you'd have avoided the audience decay that got you into this dead-end zone.

But, to adopt that policy, you would have had to possess a tiny modicum of intelligence. Which you never had, and never will.

Owen said...

I am reading "Cynical Theories" by Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay which does a great job of dissecting the PoMo mindset in all its weird profusions and excrescences. The humorlessness that lies at the base of PoMo "thought" is IMHO an important factor here. These people are angry; bitter; married to their grievances (and jealous of their grievance's status in the pecking order of Intersectionality); real humor is therefore alien to them. Real humor has a certain generosity and humility about it --a sense that "that was MY predicament" or "it COULDA been my predicament"-- and even wit, except the most cruel, has about it a sense of wanting to rescue somebody or something from utter idiocy.

So, my theory: these people are too damaged to support much in the way of comedy. Get woke, go broke.

Todd said...

PM said...

Biden jokes? Nope, ageism.
Kamala-toe jokes? None, including that one. Too high on the intersectional totem.

1/19/21, 1:57 PM


Need to think "wider".

Lots of Biden material and it can stay clear of ageism. There is plenty of material in his inappropriate touching of little girls as well as his hair sniffing. Also, don't forget about his swimming naked in front of his female assigned SS. I am sure that are a ton of howlers in that!

Granted Kamala is harder. Probably need to stay clear of her earning her position on her knees. For some, that hits too close to home. Maybe some laughs in how she got all those innocent men locked up? Maybe something in getting all those black men put in prison? That one is tougher...

JaimeRoberto said...

I don't necessarily mind Trump jokes. His bombastic personality gives lots of opportunities for humor. What I mind is the viciousness of the jokes and how one-sided the shows are. Biden's buffoonery should provide ample material for jokes too, but at best they will be along the lines of "gee, isn't he loveable? Let's talk more about those awful Republicans."

Charlie Currie said...

I found Trump's jokes far funnier than Trump jokes.

Mary Beth said...

Because it's a pain to have to re-build your garage every time Antifa firebombs it.

I doubt that Antifa likes Biden any better, it's just that the funding to carryout the protests dries up when it could make a Democrat president look bad.

Earnest Prole said...

Trump may be the most parody-proof person in human history — it takes world-class comedic chops to even attempt to contend with him. For example, “Donald Trump, I want to see your long-form birth certificate — I don’t think you were really born in New York.”

Rory said...

"It’s like an addiction: That’s all people wanted."

What comedians are supposed to do is MAKE people laugh. They're not supposed to be looking for consent.

"Granted Kamala is harder."

That the Dems have coughed up Obama and Harris as emblematic of black Americans is a gold mine.

"Real humor has a certain generosity and humility about it --a sense that "that was MY predicament" or "it COULDA been my predicament"

Three types of standup:

1 "I'm so stupid" (the comic)
2. "We're so stupid" (with the audience)
3. "They're so stupid" (people who aren't welcome in this audience)

damikesc said...

"Colbert had a good one:"

He did not. And Chuck, shockingly, seems to have no issues with Biden, who we all know is ALSO a LLR.

Hint to writers: If the only thing you OFFER is shit, it is not safe to assume that all anybody WANTS is shit.

iowan2 said...

I gave up on the late night schtick sometime after Carson. I was never hip enough for Letterman, Leno was just OK but I drifted away from him too. This new crop is all ego, and lecturing.
Carson left me laughing and relaxed. That was the late sixties and seventies. Nope, no political material to mine back then.
Laugh In, took their shots at Nixon, but they never filled the whole show with political humor.
Benny Hill?

The excuse that people demand non stop take downs of President Trump is just that, an excuse. Reminds me of standup comedians saying the crude f-laced humor is just giving the audience what they want. Red Skelton got me going a lot quicker than Andrew Dice Clay. I never got through a single Eddie Murphy stand up routine. It might be funny, but I don't have the energy to sift through that pile of F bombs.

Richard Dolan said...

The writers for the late-night shows are clearly not writing for the demo that hangs out here.
Yet it's not just the jokesters writing for Colbert or Fallon or the rest of them. It's Chuck Todd and Hake Tapper and Stephanopoulos and Fredo and on and on -- now that Trump is gone and Sleepy Joe is nominally in charge, how are they going to pull off the 'speaking truth to power' shtick? Wokidoke ranting 24/7 won't work quite as well as non-stop TDS. And telling your mostly white, mostly prosperous audience that they're racist scum who desperately need to be deprogramed from their toxic whiteness seems like an even harder sell.

Lots of people are going to miss Trump. Perhaps that's how they will end up getting more Trump.

Lurker21 said...

Trump is funnier than Sarah Cooper. Lip synching isn't much of an accomplishment and her mugging for the camera is too exaggerated and ruins the joke. She hates him and that comes out too much in her routines.

One time I felt sorry for Bush was when he went to the White House Correspondents' Dinner and Colbert was the host. Bush was probably expecting an even-handed Johnny Carson or Bob Hope monologue, or maybe Colbert's right-wing character pretending to love him and the audience realizing it was satirical, and he got reamed by the supposed comedian.

Conan O'Brien doesn't get that he's barely in showbiz at all now and not in a position to laugh at anyone else.

The Crack Emcee said...

"I don’t remember the last time I laughed at a Trump joke...."


They never took that as a hint.