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Seven Comedians React to Trump’s Victory
Ian A. Stewart | Photo: W. Kamau Bell: Pete Lee; Courtesy of Will Durst, Nato Green, Kaseem Bentley | November 18, 2016
They laugh so as not to cry.
Editor’s note: Read more post-election reactions here.
The reality of a Trump presidency hit most people in San Francisco like a ton of bricks—a ton of racist, crass, lady-groping bricks. And that reality—the realization that, no, this isn’t a joke—has been, to say the absolute least, a downer. So the day after the election, and in desperate need of a pick-me-up, we called some of our favorite local funnymen and women to ask for their take on the big news, and to ask if they could find the humor in this new world order.
W. Kamau Bell
“I just performed an hour show in Santa Barbara, and it was the least funny I’ve been in a long time. It’s going to get real unfunny for a while before it gets funny. Right now, I feel like it’s the day before Mad Max. You know how in the movies, you’re always right in the middle of it? What was it like the day before it started? Well, this is it.”
“Well, satire’s dead. My career’s over. I’m thinking of becoming a rodeo clown—a lateral move, but it’s still the same kind of industry. I predicted it. I was the only one, although of course I also predicted McCain would win. But I was nervous—other people claimed they weren’t nervous. They thought Hispanics would save civilization. I said if Trump wins, it’s going to be a civil war. And they have all the guns. But we have all the lesbians, so it evens out.”
“I think every comedian figured Clinton would win, and then we could all move on to clowning her for those glasses she wore in the ’70s. For me, I stayed away from Trump onstage because you could just sense how audiences were so sick and tired of hearing about this buffoon. But I also stayed away because the comedians are going to be the first ones sent to the reeducation camps.”
“I know this sounds like I’m making it up, but [one day after the election] I was booked at Cobb’s with a group of comedians from Saudi Arabia on a tour of the U.S. And they’re doing jokes about how Saudi men do this, and Saudi women can’t do that. And I’m like, who are we to make fun of the Saudis? We’ve got our own Saudi Arabia brewing here!”
“As upsetting as it is, what’s happening in the country is this phenomenon I call the Last Asshole Theory: With every major leap forward in human development, there’s been the last guy who held on to that thing. You read about how, once upon a time, people put signs up in their windows that said ‘No Dogs or Irish.’ Somebody had to be the last guy to take that sign down. After everyone else was over it, one guy was like, ‘No!,’ and his kids were like, ‘Dad, we don’t do that anymore.’”
“I literally get sick to my stomach when I think about Trump too long. I know some of our families will be having the most awkward Thanksgivings ever. Trump steaks will be on the menu at state dinners. This will be the biggest reality show ever: Melania will be the Real First Lady of Pennsylvania Avenue. Trump will be Dancing with the Tsars, and hopefully he’ll be canceled with two words—“You’re impeached!” Weed is legal, but not strong enough to cope with this buzzkill election. We’re going to need more piñatas.”
“I do a joke about how, one day, there’ll be somebody or some event that causes the impending race war, and how are we going to survive it? As African Americans we’re outnumbered—economically and physically and numerically. So we might have to start enlisting other, like, close-to-black people. So, you know, Filipinos. Big white women. We’ll have Adele on the front lines with Bruno Mars. Now I really do feel like we’re going to have to become allies!”
Originally published in the December issue of San Francisco