How we miss the sharp satirical bite of former Daily Show host Jon Stewart, whose acerbic brand of humour would be the perfect tonic in the exhausting post-fact world of Donald Trump we find ourselves in.
So a big hand then to fellow Daily Show alumnus Stephen Colbert, who invited his old colleague onto his last night show yesterday for some much needed lampooning of the current US president. Dressed in a red tie practically down to his ankles, and sporting a dead animal on his head, he goes for the jugular, mimicking Trump’s patter and playing on the theme of executive orders and general sociopathy.
With great lines – “By the authority vested in me by the Constitution, I, Donald J. Jonah Jameson Trump, hereby direct that, to secure our border, China shall immediately and without hesitation send us their wall. Done.” – it felt like the Stewart of old, even if this is very much an America of new.
Yes, for millions of people across the US and beyond, Trump’s policies are actually no laughing matter. It’s a clusterf*ck of the biggest kind right now, reflected by Stewart’s turn of message: slowly but surely during his cameo, his true, heartfelt politics soon emerge, those insouciant impressions making way for a poignant message, delivered down the camera like the great uncle of TV he is.
He warns, “It is going to take relentless, stamina, vigilance, and every institutional check and balance this great country can muster to keep him from going Full Palpatine”, before turning the tables on Trump’s warped ideology in style:
“No one action will be adequate. All actions will be necessary. And if we do not allow Donald Trump to exhaust our fight, and we somehow come through this presidency calamity-less and constitutionally partially intact, than Trump will have demonstrated the greatness of America—just not the way he thought he was going to.”
With applause ringing out, he gave Colbert a hug, flung off his tie and walked off stage. Poignant, patriotic and above all compassionate, it’s a speech a certain Tango-faced world leader would never be capable of.