This election hasn’t so much appealed to our better angels as it has groped our better angels, mocked their weight and called them 6s at best. We are at a point where [Donald Trump] has a real shot at the presidency, despite having blown up a political party, undermined confidence in our electoral system, declared open season on journalists, and unleashed a river of racism and misogyny. Also, and I feel like we’ve lost sight of this: he has really stupid hair.
John Oliver Trusted in the Innate Goodness of People and It Made Trump a Candidate
John Oliver has unearthed some dirt on himself and it horrifyingly reminds us that nothing in this world is impossible. Much in the same way that Last Week Tonight realized that they could no longer ignore the orange elephant in the room, the host looked backwards to reference a time when Donald Trump wasn’t ignored or even as blatantly hated, but a complete joke that no one thought would become reality.
It’s hard to remember what life was like before the complete saturation of racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic rhetoric in media, television, and regular day life. “It is frankly hard to believe there ever was a time when people thought a Trump candidacy would be funny, but there was such a time,” Oliver said, referencing a past that feels so far away that it’s like a distant dream. “As you may remember, three years ago I guest-hosted The Daily Show. And, there is something you should see,” he confesses before showing an old clip where the then-guest-host encourages Trump’s efforts:
“Do it! Do it! Look at me! Do it! I will personally write you a campaign check now, on behalf of this country, which does not want you to be president but which badly wants you to run.”
While the segment is full of laughter, the gut reaction now is something more along the lines of a long, cinematic “Nooooo!” The real mistake Oliver made, as he said, was believing that “our innate sense of decency will kick in, like some sort of moral autopilot.” He does, however, note that he’s been incredibly wrong before with another clip of his time on The Daily Show where he asserts the Chicago Cubs will never win the World Series. Joke’s on you, Oliver! You will never trust in the goodness of people again! He finishes the segment with this election retrospective:
This election has been so outrageous in a way that’s led to a lot of parody, talk show segments, and writing—but the stakes are very high, and very real. We passed funny a long time ago and discovered no punchline. SNL’s most recent cold open literally ended with Baldwin and McKinnon tired as hell of this season’s grossness, asking viewers to vote.
If you have time, I’d also recommend watching yesterday’s full episode where the host dives into multilevel marketing (those things that aren’t not pyramid schemes) with the help of Jane the Virgin‘s Jaime Camil. Until then, don’t shoot America in the face y’all.
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