FOR many, the election of Donald J. Trump was a disaster for the United States, perhaps even the world. His rhetoric during the election antagonized groups on both sides of the US political spectrum: i.e. the right-leaning Centre, and the right-leaning far-Right. While immigrants, Muslims, Mexicans, LGBT, liberals, women, the educated, scientists, the press, and the poor all look to the future with trepidation, one group sees Donald Trump’s election as an out-and-out boon: namely, comedians!
What could be better?! A foul-mouthed, sexist, shoot-from-the-hip, speaknow- think-later, rail-against-everyone, funny-hairdo-sporting, hot-younger-wifekeeping, creepy-relationship-with-hisdaughter- having, multi-bankruptcy-taxavoiding, small-handed, loud-mouthed New York billionaire as President is a comedian’s wet-dream! The next four years in political comedy will be hugely wonderful and fantastic! Or will it? Sometimes when the topic is already funny, it actually makes it harder for a comedian to get laughs, as there isnowhere else to go, no further extreme to take the idea to. How could a comedian say anything more extreme and shocking than some of the things than World-President-Elect Donald Trump has already said?! Where’s the most extreme and inappropriate place you can grab a woman? Donald Trump has already listed it!
It is for this very reason that improv performers try to avoid audience suggestions such as “dildo” or “vibrator” when asking for “Something you can borrow from your neighbour.” When an audience member yells out ‘dildo’, the audience usually laughs… but that’s the problem. That’s the joke already. If someone had shouted out ‘vacuum’ (that’s a ‘Hoover’ for you Brits), then the comedians could go to the extreme by turning the vacuum into something sexual and dirty and get a laugh. The fact that Dildo-elect Donald Trump is so extreme already makes it harder to find the absurdity in what he says and does. And pointing out absurdity is a comedian’s job.
Donald Trump’s election as POTUS is beyond absurd, albeit not fully unexpected. Many people voted for him as a reaction to the status quo, and as a vote against Hilary Lewinsky Sr. As he settles into office his rhetoric is likely to cool down, as he begins to realize he can’t just do whatever he wants (especially with a Republican majority that is not 100% behind him, and a Democratic minority that is 100% against him). If he starts acting a little less out-there, then comedians will be able to point out just how far out there he actually still is. It’s a fine line. You want people to act a bit crazy so you can make fun of them, but if someone is actually crazy you can’t make fun of them because now they are ‘disabled’ and it is in bad taste. So enjoy the comedy now before we find out he’s really nuts, or he presses the big red button on the President’s desk.
Sukhumvit 33/1 above The Royal Oak Pub (Phrom Phong BTS)