No, Jimmy Fallon, Donald Trump isn’t a laughing matter | Steven Thrasher

Messing up the candidates hair might seem like friendly fun. But it humanizes a man whose hateful rhetoric has dehumanized millions of Americans

On Thursday, Jimmy Fallon had Donald Trump on the Tonight Show and ended the segment by saying, Donald I want to ask you, because the next time I see you you could be the President of the United States. I just want to know if there is something we could do thats just not really presidential, really can I mess your hair up? Trump let him and the NBC audience roared with laughter. But, for many of us, this is very far from being a joke.

Giving comic cover to Trump just isnt funny when hes unleashed forces of anti-blackness and anti-immigrant sentiment. Hes labelled Mexicans rapists, raised the prospect of a ban on Muslims, patronized and insulted African Americans while pretending to be a potential new hope. As a result, Fallon managed to come over as one powerful white man protecting another.

Not only was it not funny. It didnt do anything to take Trump down a notch (if it was even meant to). Instead, it humanized him, boosting him on that stupid metric so many Americans use when choosing a president: Hey, hes a guy Id want to have a beer with! Look at him, letting Fallon have fun with him!

Fallon had real power last night and squandered it. I cant imagine Chelsea Handler, Trevor Noah or the recently departed Larry Wilmore building up Trump like that.

By smoothing over Trumps hatefulness with comedy, he allowed the Republican candidates supporters to say Hey, cant you all take a joke?! I have been highly critical of Hillary Clinton, but the misogyny directed at her by his supporters, who sell Trump That Bitch! shirts and who scream lock her up! is terrifying and wrong.

Trump was handed a chance to change the story on a day when his conspiracy-minded views on President Obamas nationality were back on the agenda. The routine smoothed the way for Trump to say he now believes Obama was born in the US, dashing off before answering any questions about his long espousal of birtherism which he now blames on Clinton.

Jimmy Fallon, youve given permission for all of this to be chalked up as one big joke.

The writer Sarah Schulman recently asked whether it was the TV entertainment class that has sold out this country to Donald Trump. CBS president Les Moonves basically admitted as much when he said Trumpism may not be good for America, but its damn good for CBS. Now, NBC seems to concur. In January of 2015, NBC admirably cut ties with Trump on the Apprentice and Miss Universe when he called Mexicans rapists. But like most corporations, when they saw how much power he wielded that he could wind up in the Oval Office it wanted access. And so last fall they let Trump host Saturday Night Live, Fallons old stomping ground, before allowing him to engage in good humored chat with Fallon last night.

We see you, Jimmy Fallon. You are as apolitical as the wretched Jay Leno was, a champion of the status quo. You think the idea of Trump in the White House is as harmless as your face on a pint of Ben and Jerrys.

Maybe it is to you, as a powerful white man on TV who doesnt have to worry about life as a woman, Muslim, Black or Latin person, immigrant, or queer American living under Trumpism (an era which has already begun and will continue, regardless of whether Trump is elected). Your skit was nothing like Charlie Chaplins Great Dictator, which brilliantly skewered a rising leader of the right. In fact, you did the opposite, making Trump seem more palatable. When history looks back on this moment, we may well say: Jimmy Fallon, you helped build a monster.

Read more:

Comments are closed.

Copyright © EP4 Blog