Category Archives: Humor

A late night Election Eve seriocomic sendoff


From three of our favorite late night hosts, and election eve sendoff, starting with this bitingly incisive take from Late Night with Seth Meyers:

Trump’s Closing Message for the Midterms: A Closer Look

Program note:

Seth takes a closer look at Republicans cycling through one crazy stunt after another in the final hours before polls open on Election Day.

Next up, a graphic take from The Daily Show with Trevor Noah:

The Midterms Bring Out Celebs, Early Voters and Holograms

Program note:

The midterm elections are here and, with them, a slew of celebrity PSA’s, droves of early voters and the unveiling of new, ridiculous cable news graphics.

Finally, a lighter touch from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:

‘Twas The Night Before Election Day

Program note:

Stephen professes his seasonal excitement to Late Show townsperson, Jake Gyllenhaal, during the most wonderful time of the year: the midterms!

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Quote of the day: Charlie Chaplin v. Trump


Charlie Chaplin,  arguably one of the two greatest comedians of the silent film era [we rate Buster Keaton as #1], reached his apotheosis in a 1940 film, The Great Dictator, the first of his films shot entirely as a talkie.

Charles Silver, Curator of the Department of Film of the Museum of Modern Art, sums up the film’s importance:

The Great Dictator is the product of extraordinary synchronicity and an unprecedented convergence of historical and artistic forces. By this happy accident, we find the century’s most emblematic popular artist testing his gifts against the man who embodied the greatest threat to civilization, human freedom, and, in fact, art in recorded time. It is not an overstatement to refer to The Great Dictator, as David Robinson does, as “an epic incident in the history of mankind.” In its confrontation with the cosmos—and its deeply felt intent to alter the state of human affairs with a mere piece of art—the film stands alone on its very special pedestal of aspiration.

Chaplin plays two roles, one as Dictator of Tomania Adenoid Hynkel [note the initials], and the second as a nameless mustachioed Jewish barber rounded up for ethnic cleansing by the dictator.

The film pits the barber, his inamorata Hannah, and a renegade Tomanian pilot against Hynkel, his sidekicks Garbitsch [Goebbels] and Herring [Hermann Goering], and fellow tyrant Benzino Napaloni, Dictator of Bacteria.

Captured in a roundup of Jews, the barber is dispatched to a concentration camp, while simultaneously Hynkel suffers amnesia from a boating accident and the barber dons Hynkel’s distinctive garb [replete with the insignia of  Double Cross, a comedic substitute for the swastika] to make good his escape, only to be mistaken for the Hynkel, who’s back in the camp and identified as the barber.

In the end, the barber, as Hynkel, finds himself taking to the microphone for the film’s concluding scene in which he delivers a passionate speech, an excerpt of which is our Quote of the Day:

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone – if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

Here’s a video of the full speech:

And if you’ve not seen Chaplin’s classic, here’s the film in its entirety in HD:

Headline of the day: Gullible’s Travails


From the London Daily Mail:

Joke’s on them! White House promotes column about ‘Trump’s budget makes perfect sense’… not realizing it’s vicious satire

  • White House newsletter included link to Washington Post column on Friday
  • ‘Trump’s budget makes perfect sense and will fix America, and I will tell you why’
  • But a read beyond that headline reveals the piece is vicious satire 
  • ‘All schoolchildren will be taught by an F-35 wearing a Make America Great Again hat,’ Post opnion writer Alexandra Petri pens in zany extended riff
  • Embarrassed White House removes link to satirical column
  • ‘This is 2017 in a nutshell: You start with what you think is obviously a joke, and then a few days later it is being sent out from the White House,’ writes Petri

With Trump, it’s hard to tell when news is fake


Yep, the behavior of the orange-haired menace is so extreme that folks are having trouble figuring out whether the latest outrageous ale is true or false.

Consider one bit of satire that picked up by China’s state news agency as a for-real revelation about the Pussygrabber.

From the Christian Science Monitor:

CNN may get a reprieve as the object of President Trump’s ire, thanks to a serendipitous combination of two of the president’s favorite topics: China and fake news.

Published Saturday in The New Yorker, comedian Andy Borowitz’s humorous satirization of a paranoid president wrapping phones in tinfoil got picked up Tuesday by multiple Chinese news outlets. The truth had come out by Wednesday, but not before highlighting how easy it is for sarcasm to get lost in translation.

Riffing on the president’s Twitter allegations that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower phones before the election, The New Yorker article depicted a paranoid commander-in-chief insisting aids Obama-proof all White House phones with a layer of tinfoil.

“The President, still wearing his bathrobe after what was reportedly a sleepless night, personally supervised the tin-foil installation, sources said,” read a line from the piece, which bears the label “Satire from the Borowitz Report.”

But that didn’t stop Reference News, a Chinese website run by state media Xinhua that translates international coverage, from reporting the joke as serious on Tuesday. Publications that fell for the misreporting included respected outlets such as the business magazine Caijing, as well as news portal Sina.

Given Trump’s surreal track record, pretty soon we’re all going to be reaching for our tinfoil hats.

And now for something completely different. . .


Or is it?

Following up on our previous post about the removal of Confederate statues from New Orleans, here’s the story of another sculpture, a delightful animation that depicts a severe case of alt-reality, and the use of force to ensure its acceptance.

It’s very like the world Donald Trump sees himself inhabiting.

From the archives of the venerable National Film Board of Canada:

“E”


Program notes:

Under the guise of a pretty fairy tale, this animated short makes a strong political statement. Animated paper cut-outs enact a drama in which a dictator imposes his delusions on his unfortunate subjects. The humour is black and, despite the absence of dialogue, the message is crystal clear.

Directed by Francine Desbiens, Bretislav Pojar – 1981.

Another comedian’s take on Trump and the press


Following up on our previous post, an insightful look from perhaps the best of the late night talk hosts.

From Late Night with Seth Meyers:

Trump Prepares to Address Congress: A Closer Look


Program notes:

Seth takes a closer look at President Trump’s preparations to address Congress for the first time and his “agenda” thus far.

John Stewart lays into Trump and news media


The retired host of The Daily Show pays a visit to an old colleague and lays into the Fourth Estate

From The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:

Jon Stewart To The Media: It’s Time To Get Your Groove Back


Program notes:

Worried that the mainstream media’s breakup with President Trump has reporters feeling blue, Jon Stewart stops by with relationship advice.