When it comes to confronting the crooked and the corrupt, comedians can often get away with far more than journalists. There are two reasons for this. The first is that comics aren’t held to the same standard as journalists and can hit below the belt when they need to, and the second is that journalists are forced to take their subjects seriously and therefore can’t openly mock or satirize them them when they deserve it. Nothing deflates the hubris of the venal quite like being made fun of or being held up as the butt of a joke they may not entirely get. This is why some of the most vital journalism being done in our age is coming from comics.
With that in mind, imagine an insightful and fiercely talented comedian going head-to-head with a buffoonish blowhard like Donald Trump. Imagine Jon Stewart eating him alive, or Marc Maron or Chris Rock holding nothing back against him, or Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Kimmel confronting his revolting shtick on late-night. Imagine that. And then keep right on imagining since it’s not going to happen and, instead, game show host Jimmy Fallon will actually be the first “comedian” to get his hands on Trump.
On September 11th, Trump will appear on The Tonight Show, where Fallon will no doubt play Twister with him, physically manifesting the tepid Q&A grabassery he’ll have spent the previous ten minutes engaging in with the Republican frontrunner. It’s going to be earnest. It’s going to be servile. It’s going to suck — hard. In other words, it’s going to be so very, very Fallon.
Remember when Jimmy Fallon had Chris Christie on, during the height of the George Washington Bridge scandal, and did a hallucinatory “Evolution of Dad Dancing” sketch with him then thanked him for “standing in the ring and getting hit like that” by the press while sheepishly deflecting the conversation away from why he was getting hit? Fallon coming face-to-face with Trump is going to be that times a hundred, because not only is Trump a much bigger dick for Fallon to subserviently suck, he also happens to be a made man with NBC given his status as a former star of the network.
NBC Entertainment protected Trump — their investment — through the whole birther miasma and his flirtation with running for president back in 2011, refusing to share with NBC News the facts on whether Trump was booked for another season of The Celebrity Apprentice (which would preclude him from campaigning). And now Trump is coming home and NBC is planning to promote the hell out of it. Its meeting-of-the-mindless between two of its most talked-about company men is sure to pull, well, “yuuge” numbers, which will of course boost Trump’s stock even further given that Fallon won’t in any way challenge him, since that would spoil all the benign “fun” you’ve come to expect from the Fallon era of Tonight.
Fallon has a real opportunity here to hit Trump hard as only a comedian can. Given that — for all his milquetoast, broad-based appeal — Fallon’s audience is largely made up of Millennials who find Trump’s megalomania and xenophobia obscene, you’d think it would be an easy sell. But, again, this is Fallon we’re talking about. Abandon all hope for any real fireworks and strap in for a nice round of Pictionary or mid-90s karaoke. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the Roots will play Martha Wainwright’s Bloody Motherfucking Asshole as he walks out, but that’s about the best we can hope for.
Regardless, remember to tune in on September the 11th and witness Donald Trump being interviewed by Jimmy Fallon doing his Donald Trump impression, which will literally be the second most painful thing to happen in New York City on that day.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.