I Disagree Seth Meyers, You Do Tell Too Many Trump Jokes
Originally Published on Medium - July 30, 2018
I had the opportunity to attend a taping of Late Night with Seth Meyers a little while ago. While at the taping, I noticed the same thing I had noticed in much of this past year’s late night. It was almost all about Donald Trump.
This irked me. I used to be a huge Stephen Colbert fan, and watch almost every episode of The Late Show, but he too has fallen into this bad habit. And I say bad habit, because I truly believe that. Unfortunately, Seth Meyers disagrees.
I had the opportunity to ask him at this taping. Before the last act, he comes to the crowd and answers questions. I had my opportunity and asked flatly “do you think you make too many Trump Jokes.” “No,” he answered immediately, to laughter and applause from the crowd. “If I thought I did, I wouldn’t make as many.”
He then went on to rationalize that this is the President of the United States, and that he also always tried to focus on what Trump did, rather than who he was. The first part is poor thinking, and the second part is an outright lie. Often Seth, and other late night comics, make innumerable call-backs to things about Melania swatting Trump’s hand away, or creepy comments about Ivanka. The jokes are now rarely original, so much so that I have stopped watching late-night all together.
I don’t think Donald Trump being the President matters from a comedy perspective. He is an absurd, flawed person, regardless of title. And making fun of him is the comedic low hanging fruit. Many established comedians will say that they do not make fun of Trump, because it is too easy. They may as well do slapstick or prop comedy.
The late night hosts are run by the major networks, which are run by ratings. And unfortunately, they have fallen into the same trap as the news organizations. Caught staring at the car crash with everyone else; except this time, the car crash knows it. The more Donald Trump controls the conversation as a person, the more he will be able to get away with as a President. That is so unfortunate.
Late-night is a business, and they need to make money. And it seems to them that all anyone wants to hear about is Donald Trump. Colbert started with the political-heavy humor first, and others followed suit. It is what people wanted at some point; however, now it is all that is offered. I would gladly tune into non-Trump comedy, it is much preferable.
It is unfortunate that people do not know how to process what is going on in the world right now, it is unfortunate that the news has gotten so bad that they need late night comedians to provide better context for them. It is unfortunate that the disease of cable television continues to spread. It is unfortunate that Seth Meyers does not see his part in it.