Two years into the Donald Trump presidency, it’s become
clear that late night hosts have made making fun of the president their bread
and butter. At this point, it has become a reflex to throw some cheap shot at Trump.
I imagine that even the most thin-skinned of Trump
apologists could admit that there’s plenty that the president does that screams
out to be made fun of. Much of Trump’s mannerisms and behavior constitute the
low-hanging fruit that most everybody can find hilarious.
But late night hosts have gotten nastier and uglier in their
supposedly humorous attacks on Donald Trump. Take this recent tweet from The Late
Show with Stephen Colbert:
I’ve always thought of Colbert as one of the most smug of the
Trump haters (and haters of the GOP in general), which is a shame because he is
also supposedly a man of deep Christian faith.
But is this really funny? Come on! Crayon writing,
misspellings, bad grammar – it’s not only a disgrace to comedy and satire, but
it’s also downright disrespectful. (Just imagine if a right-leaning comic had made
a similar joke at Obama’s expense.)
And the Putin reference? Talk about a joke that’s played
We know that comedians and pundits have had it out for
Republican presidents for years. Reagan was senile, George H. W. Bush was a wimpy
Northeastern preppie, and “Dubya” was a dumb hick. And now Trump is the target
of cheap shot after cheap shot. (At least comics could poke some fun at Bill
Now I’ve made no secret that I’m not the biggest Trump fan,
but I at least think he’s doing some good things. There’s no benefit of the
doubt in any of the jokes about the current president. They’re more mean
spirited than just about anything else, and they seem to get worse and worse.
But for these late night show hosts, the message is far more important than the
comedy. And that message that they need to get across is that Trump is stupid
and evil. The nastiness takes priority over the humor.
These guys desperately need some new material.