This is ordinarily an entertainment blog, but what is more entertaining these last few weeks than Donald Trump’s presidential campaign run? It’s right out of the Stephen Sondheim songbook:
Something appealing/Something appalling/Something for everyone/Comedy tonight.
Actually, it’s playing out more like a mockumentary of the political process, but not even Christopher Guest and his genius ensemble could have devised a character like Trump.
A few thoughts:
*How excited is Darrell Hammond right about now? Though he left “Saturday Night Live’s” cast in 2011, he did return last year to serve as announcer after Don Pardo died. Hammond’s “Trump” is definitive. Not since Tina Fey and Sarah Palin has there been a better impressionist match made in comedy heaven.
*The unofficial sport in Chicago is 16-inch softball in which the pitcher lobs this melon-sized orb. To the batter it must look like the biggest, ripest target. That’s what Trump must look like to comedians being given this precious gift of a Trump candidacy. But the thing about 16-inch softball and Donald Trump is that as ripe and inviting as the target may be, it is all the more embarrassing when you flail and miss. And so far, few have been able to rap more than a double off him. There is a cringingly unfunny new video on the usually reliable “Funny or Die” website in which “Melania Trump” defends her husband about his impolitic comments about Mexico. Even David Letterman’s recent return to the stage alongside Martin Short and Steve Martin to deliver a Trump 10 list of “Interesting Facts” was hit and miss.
*Likewise, Trump’s critics who toil in the media. Interview after interview with CNN’s best and brightest (and Don Lemon) leaves Trump untouched and unscathed.
*Trump is derided by many as a bully for his abusive tweets and public putdowns of those who criticize him or joke about him. “Meet the Press’” Chuck Todd is a recent target: “Isn’t he pathetic?” one recent tweet read. “Love watching him fail.” But Trump is like Bugs Bunny in the respect that the mayhem he causes is rarely a first strike. Bugs always waited until provoked to declare, “Of course you know, this means war.” That's when anvils started falling.
*And Trump’s version of war is akin to “the Chicago Way” as explained by Sean Connery in the feature film, “The Untouchables”: “You want to get Capone? Here’s how you get him. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.” In Trump’s world, that translates to: Chuck Todd compares you to segregationist George Wallace; you call him “Sleepy Eyes” on Twitter.
*There’s a line in “The American President” in which Michael Douglas’ president Andrew Shepherd proclaims, “We have serious problems to solve and we need serious people to solve them.” Trump may not be that guy as he violates every rule of political etiquette (which may be the secret of his current success in the polls). But he’s dominating the conversation. Chris Christie recently complained to an interviewer, “Nobody in the real world asks me about (Trump). Nobody. But anytime I get on a media show, all anybody wants to talk about is Donald Trump.” That has got to be galling.
*Finally, that said, and with the GOP unable to silence him, the other candidates unwilling to challenge him, and the media unable to pin him down, just how much fun is Donald Trump having right now?