Louis Anquetin Girl Reading a Newspaper 1890
What I am wondering about: Why hasn’t US late night TV “comedy” circuit dug into Joe Biden when he provides them with so much material? Am I the only one who’s been puzzled about that?
It’s not specifically about Biden, he’s just a tool in a game, for late night comedy, it’s all about Donald Trump, and they ignore that beyond him, there’s a naked bloody battle between two US political parties. But why would comedians want to take sides in that battle? And is doing that a good idea for their careers? I could have opened with:” Late Night Biden? There’s no such thing, Joe’s fast asleep by then”! But the only people who would say such a thing today are in the Trump camp, not in late night “comedy”.
When I was living in Montreal and Ottawa I was a big admirer of US late night TV. Carson was way before my time, but Letterman was still there. Never was a big Leno fan. And then came the next generation, Jon Stewart was great, so was Stephen Colbert in his right wing parody on Jon’s show. Only, what happened then? You now have your Stephen Colbert 2.0 (no parody, no fun), Trevor Noah, Seth Meyers et al, Jimmy Kimmel perhaps.
All of whom have been doing the Orange Man Bad theme for four years running, all the while thinking that is funny. But repetition is predictable, and doing the same “jokes” about the same topic day after day is not funny. Sure, for your echo chamber perhaps, but come on! Things are either funny or they are not. Once they’re only funny in your head, or kitchen, or whatever, they no longer are. It’s not a big stretch.
Late night talk show became late night comedy with Jon Stewart, but nobody continued the format after he left. His successors did the same thing the NYT, WaPo, MSNBC and CNN did: play only to half their potential audience. Simply because they knew it was great for ratings and clickbait. Half the audience doesn’t sound good, but wait till you see that who’s left pays a hundred times more attention, because they hate the subject of your “jokes” even more than you do.
Saturday Night Live announced recently that Jim Carrey will play Joe Biden on SNL, and all I could think of is the great Twitter comment that said: “Nobody can be funnier playing Joe Biden than Joe Biden.” Dead on. So why would Carrey try? To make Biden less funny? You’d almost think so.
Of course I see that following US late night TV is almost impossible if you no longer live in North America. But from what I have managed to see of Jon Stewart’s successors it’s all the same. It’s party politics disguised as fun. It’s echo chamber induced deafness. But yeah, that’s just me, I’m sure people who for whatever reason don’t like Trump, or never did, may have been laughing their hearts out every single night for 4 years. But that doesn’t define “humor”. Real humor is something everyone can share.
In very much the same vein, I used to really dig Bruce Springsteen. But when he started campaigning for Obama, and the whole The Rising thing happened in DC, I no longer did. Not because of Obama, but because a songwriter, much like a late night comedian, should always steer clear of partisanship. That is, in my never very humble opinion.
Bob Dylan never did. He gave his opinion, but never about individuals. Well, maybe in Jokerman, but that was never about campaigning. Obama went on to bomb 8 different countries, kill 100s of 1000s of people in those countries, and establish open air slave markets in Libya while he was at it. Anyone ever ask Springsteen how he feels about that?
And I was still thinking: let it go. Because the whole thing has become so polarized, you’re never going to reach out from one end of the spectrum to the other anyway. The trenches have been dug. But then I see things like this, from a site named Deadline (Hollywood history since 1996):
President Donald Trump hasn’t promised that there will be a peaceful transfer of power if he loses to Joe Biden for the 2020 presidential Election. While the president remains mum, late-night hosts Trevor Noah and Seth Meyers warn viewers about what Trump’s refusal to leave in peace may bring. “Trump refusing to say that he would leave office if he loses is a scary thought because who knows what could happen with that kind of threat,” Noah grieved during Thursday’s episode of The Daily Show.
The Comedy Central host said during his segment that the President’s potential move would be unlike any other. Saying that “the world’s oldest democracy is about to become the world’s newest dictatorship,” Noah said that such political refusal seems un-American. “I never thought I’d see the day where an American president would threaten not to accept an election defeat,” he said. “Let’s be honest, this is something you hear about in some random country where America steps in to enforce democracy. I feel like now it’s only fair that those countries should send peacekeepers to the U.S.,” he added.
If Trump truly refuses to vacate the presidency for Biden, “one of the world’s most famous landlords” will turn “into the world’s most famous squatter,” Noah kidded during the segment. He also quipped that Trump, in order to remain in the White House for as long as possible, might live in the basement as Biden sits atop – à la Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite. Similarly, Meyers criticized Trump for his failure to confirm a peaceful transfer of power. “He’s threatening a coup d’etat even though I’m sure he has no idea what the phrase ‘coup d’etat’ means,” the Late Night host said. “He probably thinks it’s a lyric from Moulin Rouge!“
Like Noah, Meyers said Americans are seeing democracy transform into an “autocratic regime” in real time. He even quipped that if Trump stays in office, it won’t be long until he parks a military tank on Pennsylvania Avenue and dons green fatigues and a long beard.
But of course, and you read my mind on this, Trump is not the funniest topic anymore. Certainly not after 4 years depleting that topic night after night. That doesn’t mean there was never anything funny about him, it means 4 years is a long time to spend on one topic. Biden, however, is a whole different story. But I’ve never seen any of these late night comic geniuses, who all have dozens of people writing “jokes” for them, go for -or after- Biden.
Are they scared of doing that? Do they fear their viewers won’t like that angle? Are they fully in cahoots with the DNC and MSM? Or, more to the point, should they ever let things like that play into their decisions of what will be funny or not? Well, apparently they do. Because Biden has come up with more whoppers than we can even try to keep track of, and not a word- that I’ve seen- from late night US comedy. I truly wonder what Jon Stewart thinks about that, just like I wonder what Springsteen has to say about open air slave markets in Libya.
Here are a few Biden bloopers for your perusal that those very well-paid masters of comedy didn’t think were funny. Be your own judge. No, I did not go looking for them, on purpose. I really just happenstanced upon them. I have no doubt there are tons more of these videos. They’re just not late night comedy material, apparently. Please tell me why that is. Please tell me why all these people who live off of those shows find nothing about this funny, while I, time and again, think it’s hilarious.
It’s not a party political issue, It’s just really funny. Or, alternatively, please tell me why it’s not. Or even just imagine if Trump had said the things Biden did in these tapes, and none of the late night hosts would have presented that as funny. I’m waiting.
At this point, I don’t think there’s any possible way you could convince me that Joe Biden is not a whole huge lot funnier than all the Late Night shows put together. But you can try!
And after you watched all that, but only after you did, please tell me how you will feel if on January 20, 2021, that booming voice will announce: “Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States of America”!
Biden bloopers 5 min
Biden bloopers 20 min
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“As we get herded into our echo chambers of self-reinforcing information, we lose more and more sense of the real world and of each other. With it, our ability to empathise and compromise is eroded.”
– Jonathan Cook, commenting on the Julian Assange hearings.
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