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Are We About to O.D. on Late Night Trump Jokes?

Remember “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

The game show is still on the air, but its 1999 prime time debut proved a sensation. Host Regis Philbin turned a British series into a domestic smash.

“Is that your final ans-ah?” Philbin asked in his New York accent. It became an instant catch phrase.

Regis Philbin discusses "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" -

What happened next?

The powers behind the show essentially ran it into the ground. Executives drooled over those Nielsen ratings and couldn’t help themselves. The program’s production schedule intensified, shredding the show’s unique appeal. “Millionaire” endures, but its moment as a pop culture sensation proved short-lived.

Are we about to witness the same spectacle tied to President Donald Trump?

The Floodgates Open

It’s not enough that nearly every late night talk show pummels Trump on a nightly basis. We’re about to get a slew of new TV shows promising to do … exactly that.


    • Jim Jefferies, an unabashedly liberal comic, will soon host his own late night talk show on Comedy Central.
    • Sarah Silverman is set to host a Hulu-based show promising a less partisan approach (almost impossible to buy given her track record).
    • “The President Show” promises more Trump-bashing based on the press release alone. Here’s host/star Anthony Atamanuik describing the approach to the upcoming weekly program. “Laughing at the President is a proud American tradition and we hope not to disappoint anyone in that department,” Atamanuik said. “But our political system is too broken for us to be content joking about one man, even though he is a disastrous silly little toddler boy.”
    • “The Daily Show” correspondent Jordan Klepper just landed the post “Daily Show” slot on Comedy Central. The Fall 2017 show announcement came via a CC press release, trumpeting how Klepper would “charge into Trump’s America.”

That’s on top of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” and “The Daily Show.”

Did we mention “Saturday Night Live?”

Alien Attack Cold Open - SNL

That sketch series usually takes a knee during the summer. Not this time. Expect a summer “SNL” edition focusing on its “Weekend Update” news bureau.

What does it all mean?

For now, bashing Trump is good for ratings. Colbert’s “The Late Show” is actually beating Jimmy Fallon’s “The Tonight Show” consistently for the first time … ever. Both “The Daily Show” and “Full Frontal” are enjoying a nice ratings bump, too.

You can thank a certain ex-reality show star for that.

Hollywood might have cranked out more Trump-bashing shows regardless of the ratings boost. Ideology often trumps show business in the industry today, and the industry loathes Trump more than any other politician in modern times. Remember the crush of anti-Iraq War films in the 2000s? Each cast President George W. Bush’s war in an unflattering light.

And each bombed. And Hollywood kept on making them.

Still, the “suits” can point to those late night ratings and say, “see, being anti-Trump is good for business.”

For how long, though?

The Queen of Nasty Is …

It’s hard to believe the market can support this glut of anti-Trump material. There may be a rush to see who can get the nastiest, a race which Bee is currently winning. Silverman could be Bee’s biggest threat, though.

And then there’s the echo factor. Major news outlets adore replaying Trump-bashing sketches. Even the Associated Press, once a hallmark of fair reportage, can’t help penning stories about every other Alec Baldwin sketch on “SNL.”

What about the brands in play? Comedy Central simply doesn’t offer a right-leaning voice as is. Adding two new left-leaning shows will only enforce that perspective. At some point red state viewers will simply look elsewhere for their comedy content.

Once a brand gets tarnished, it’s hard to restore its luster.

Others likely won’t be affected. Colbert is Colbert, and anyone expecting a fair and balanced approach from him is living in FantasyLand.

The Trump Effect

The X factor, though, is the President himself. What if he bullies past the comedy headlines and gets the nation’s economy thriving again? What if citizens look past Bee, Colbert and co. and see a crude, unapologetic leader who gets things done?

That’s no laughing matter to the folks hoping to make a killing off of Trump-bashing comics.


  1. Flipping channels tonight and got about 1 min of Sam B. She had Trumps face on a chimp. An’t that raccccist?

  2. I stopped watching all of this drivel 10 years ago. Dumped Netflix last month. I will never return, they will never get a dime from me.

  3. Everyone knows these shows coddled Obama and pummel away at Trump or Bush. That’s obvious. What’s unclear is who actually watches any of these dumb shows at one in the morning? Particularly as they are all competing against each other? My guess is not many.

    1. Excellent question. Approximately 3M to 3.5M watch Colbert and about 750K to 1.5M watch the two minutes of hate of samantha bee. Given that Hillary had about 65M voters, that is about 1% to 5% of Hillary voters watch these shows.

      That means that even 95% to 99% of Hillary voters can’t stand them. Also some surveys show that about 90% of these late night leftist shows viewers live in NYC, LA, SF, and Boston.

      1. I’m not sure you can judge reach by Neilson ratings alone given that the shows post clips on youtube, which are then linked to by a wide range of Left blogs and tweeters and viewed by many more people For example, every day on the Entertainment Weekly site they’ll invariably include links to the previous nights best Trump jokes or skits. However, this “Look at the latest Seth Meyers sick burn on Trump’s Obamacare policy!!” is so blatant, so constant that it is exhausting. For me, I now avoid visiting sites that hype these show clips as well as skipping the shows themselves.

  4. These are the people who couldn’t bring themselves to make fun of President Obama, right?

    Somewhere there is a warehouse, filled with DVDs of anti-Iraq-War movies, Hillary Clinton books, and other political trash that simply won’t sell. No doubt, in time, they’ll make room for this stuff as well.

  5. Grade schools and high schools and colleges have been forcing a socialist teaching agenda for a long time now. Almost all main stream media outlets are owned by and forces left only reporting. Almost all entertainment is owned by and forces a left only programming.

    And, none of these folks are bashful about lying, spinning, twisting, misconstruing, and down right cheating … all under auspice of end justifying the means. Yet, zero tolerance, zero inclusiveness, 100% hypocrisy about any view counter to theirs.

    Seems like deck is stacked against any view, opinion, or agenda that is not a socialist view.

    How American. How Democratic. NOT?!!?

  6. I hate Trump – he’s so stupid – HAHAHA

    Yeah – that’ll never get old with the H8R 55+ demographic

  7. The late-night shows may showcase decent entertainers now & then but the hosts humour lacks universal observations & they all just bash-bash-bash the conservatives.

  8. One of the things you have to keep in mind is that almost no one is watching these shows. When you mention Colbert beats Fallon, that’s like saying the Devils beat the Coyotes. Their audience is dwarfed by Rush Limbaugh. Inside their echo chamber, they are the coolest kids in the cafeteria. Outside their bubble, no one knows they even exist.

    Now if you come back to us with a story about the Devils beating the Capitals, then we may have something to worry about…

    1. If a comic tells a joke in the woods and no one hears it, is it still a joke? Answer, yes, but a joke on who?

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