Look, everyone fortunate or unwillingly unemployed enough to be stuck at home in these pandemic dog days has had to find new and creative ways to pass the time. You know, since social distancing has inconveniently but responsibly cancelled or postponed pretty much every inessential yet (as it turns out) deeply essential sport, concert, TV taping, and community event in the world at this point. Unless you’re in Florida, where the state’s “live like there’s nobody watching,” mayor-from-Jaws spirit may have finally tipped the Sunshine State’s infamously multifarious viral load irretrievably into the abyss.
The same dilemma faces late-night hosts and correspondents, whose insatiable hunger for screen time, exposure, and laughs has seen them inventing new and eccentric ways to get their unshaven, low-def kissers out there to the masses. On Thursday, it was Daily Show fixtures Roy Wood Jr. and Michael Kosta stepping up to what looks like their laptop cameras to not only bring the funny, but also selflessly offer up a new sport for the sedentary March Madness maniacs out there bereft at the canning of this year’s college basketball extravaganza—the Trump’s Best Word bracket.
The rules are simple—if not without some personal discomfort, in that players will necessarily have to watch blessedly brief clips of Donald Trump mangling a startling and alarming number of English words in his various presidential remarks. Still, it’s almost worth it for fans of schadenfreude, cheap shots, and all-too-real examples of the country’s leader being unable to read from a teleprompter without sounding like a podcast accidentally set to half speed. With the defiantly uncombed and scruffy Kosta explaining that some 2 million people have already voted to winnow down The Daily Show staff’s carefully culled 64 such gaffes to the second round’s 32 (see dailyshowbracket.com to play), the game was on. Sorry to would-be Cinderella stories “obstuulz” (obstacles) and the comma-trampling holiday reference “Eastwisemen”—you just didn’t want it badly enough.
With Wood choosing Trump’s “oranges” (as in the oranges of this national nightmare), and Kosta going with “slock rocket” (as in the thing whose Trump-induced crash is currently wiping out Kosta’s retirement fund), the pair then threw the game over to viewers. As to whether such ad hominem mockery of a guy seemingly unable to complete so much as a lunch order without it sounding like his tongue is trying to escape his mouth is unfair, well, for one thing, it’s Donald Trump, whose possession of the nuclear codes and history of awfulness looms terrifyingly over every baffling pronouncement. And, for another, Trump routinely uses the same tactics in mocking (checks list) disabled people, all non-white people, short people, women’s physical appearances, and—since self-awareness is second only to eloquence in the things Donald Trump doesn’t have—the supposed mental lapses of chief Democratic rival Joe Biden. Plus, the guy locks children in cages and has an outed white supremacist lizard-boy writing public policy. So, game on.