Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Amber Ruffin vainly searches for a downside to her It's A Wonderful Life (without Trump) wish

Amber Ruffin, Amber Ruffin’s guardian angel
Amber Ruffin, Amber Ruffin’s guardian angel
Screenshot: The Amber Ruffin Show

Ever the professional late-night political comedian, Amber Ruffin started to unpack the ongoing (second) impeachment trial of a particular, disgraced former president on Friday. However, even a pro has limits, and the ordinarily indefatigable host just couldn’t get through yet another story rehashing the sordid details of a traitorous white supremacist and his passel of Republican accomplices, enablers, and assorted spineless nothings, blurting in frustration, “I don’t wanna talk about this! Who cares!” As is often the case in TV and movies since 1946, Ruffin then made a desperate, no doubt soon-to-be-ironically-punished wish, calling out to the heavens (or the 30 Rock rafters), “Trump isn’t the president any more and we shouldn’t have to keep thinking about him . . . I wish he had never been born!”

You know what comes next. A heavenly music sting, a dapper dude in a dramatic spotlight, and a dire warning from Ruffin’s guardian angel to be careful what you wish for, since monkey’s paws, and curses, and whatnot. Still, as Ruffin shrugged confidently, how bad could a world without Donald fucking Trump be? Bwah-ha-ha-ha!!! You mortal fool! A world where Donald Trump had never been born would be . . . um, pretty great actually.

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Ruffin had some initial jitters, looking down from above on her darkened studio in anxious perturbation that, without the former head of state, lifelong bigot, accused rapist, and inveterate grifter to make fun of night after night, her blossoming career might be cut short. Ruffin’s smug angel sure seemed convinced that was the case. Instead, however, it turns out that this blessedly Trump-free timeline, thanks to the inscrutable, unknowable laws of cause and effect, has no COVID, Oprah is Amber’s best friend, The Amber Ruffin Show has hit its 3,000th episode (and is successful enough to hand out cash to the packed, in-studio audience), Zendaya is president, and Amber’s trusty sidekick Tarik Davis can celebrate the birth of his first child with a red baseball cap reading “DADA” without bringing up any associations with thuggish white supremacy whatsoever. Oh, and everyone has universal healthcare, the two-party system is dead and buried, and, just to top it off, it’s International Cute Things Day.

Unwillingly escorted back to her own, decidedly crappier timeline (Prince is even alive in the Trump-less world, somehow), Ruffin was, understandably bummed out. Not as much as her angel, though, who sheepishly admitted that this whole “be careful what you wish for” scenario usually has more of a Twilight Zone stinger to it. Still, he’s an angel, so he’s gonna go hang out with the very-alive Prince on that parallel Earth, leaving Ruffin and the rest of us alone to pick up the mess, secure in the knowledge that some assholes are profoundly terrible enough that literally everything would be better if they’d just never been born at all.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.