President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump On late-night shows.
In stand-up routines and scripted sitcoms, the opposition to President Donald Trump is more intense than a rally full of pink pussy hats.
He’s an endless source of material for joke writers, but also a five-alarm crisis, with barely a voice in mainstream or alternative comedy that isn’t against him. Punchlines morph into earnest manifestos about diversity or health care. The jokes and jeremiads give Trump opponents the release they need—never mind how they might alienate Trump supporters on the receiving end. And they drive Twitter rages from a president who once felt all publicity was good publicity—until he became pop culture’s No. 1 whipping boy.
Maz Jobrani, the stand-up comedian and actor, has been trying to channel his own experience hating and protesting Trump into his work. Marching at LAX against the travel ban becomes one bit. Arguing with his mother about her saying she likes that Trump speaks his mind becomes another. But it’s hard to be funny when you feel like your country is going to hell, and everything starts to sound more shrill than amusing.
“He has emboldened racists. I say that. There’s no joke. There’s no punch line,” Jobrani told me, in an interview for POLITICO’s Off Message podcast. “But I think if you do that, you better have a punch line coming soon.”