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

Jeffrey Wright narrates The Daily Show's 100 percent sincere tribute to Donald Trump

Illustration for article titled Jeffrey Wright narrates iThe Daily Show/is 100 percent sincere tribute to Donald Trump
Screenshot: The Daily Show

Making fun of Donald Trump is so easy it’s hard. There’s plenty of material, sure, but that’s part of the problem. Sketchy personal history, the gaffes, the desperately tortured efforts to make himself look like he’s not a sagging, flaccid would-be manly-man who can totally still get erections. Comedians can go deep on policy, but that often means their stubbornly human souls emerge in an eventual schreik of horrified, overwhelmed revulsion, or cathartic but unsatisfying revenge fantasy. Trump supporters like to claim that their Glorious Leader is so far ahead of the game that lowly non-Trump humans just can’t keep up, but damned if Trump’s dimwitted, racist, authoritarian thuggery hasn’t left the country’s best comic minds struggling to find a single, unifying nail with which to seal the Trump comedy coffin.

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Trevor Noah tries. His screechy Trump impression might not reach the heights of another, inexplicably cancelled Comedy Central satirist, but, like most late-night hosts these days, Noah’s regular efforts to sum up that day’s outrages delivers some smart, revelatory laughs from time to time. But sometimes you have to bring in a ringer. And The Daily Show’s crack graphics team. That’s when you get the 7-minute, completely straight-faced documentary paean to “the greatest president of all time in history,” entitled The Greatest President Of All Time In History.”

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Narrated by all-star guest voice Jeffrey Wright, the Thursday segment yet mostly allows Trump to speak for himself. (Warning: Donald Trump speaks throughout.) Centering on all of Trump’s four years of admirable accomplishments, which totally exist and aren’t what Martin Blank would term “a demon’s résumé,” the unseen Wright goes the ironic route for the most part. Extolling Trump’s national security successes over footage of weeping Muslim relatives unable to return to their families and Mexican toddlers in dog cages, that sort of thing. With Wright gamely propping up Trump’s tottering reality with the gravitas of a deadpan propagandist, the segment proceeds through Trump’s democracy-fostering foreign policy (over shots of him cuddling up to straight-up murderous dictators like Putin, the Saudis, and Kim Jong-un), his stellar choice of cabinet members and advisors (all shown, post-White House, ripping into their former boss while slapped with the onscreen label of “traitor”), and his sparkling oratory. The graphics department whips up a gold-plated plaque commemorating such not-words as “Thighland,” “Yo-semite,” and Trump’s two unsuccessful cracks at the word “anonymous.” (That same department also morphs Trump’s face onto a lot of people. Sorry, that should have been a warning as well.)

As far as Trump-bashing goes, The Greatest President Of All Time In History won’t convince anyone in the MAGA cult to abandon ship or anything. But, assuming America as we know it survives past a Donald Trump presidency, Wright’s committed performance should secure it a place in the time capsule of comedic premises that only half-encapsulated just how beyond satire this farcical, fascistic, incompetent shitshow really was.

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

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