Pop goes Trump! The artists, comedians and meme-makers deflating the Donald

From Franz Ferdinand to Samantha Bee, stars of pop-culture have been finding funny and furious ways to take aim at the Republican presidential nominee

Trump Dubs

Top mimic Peter Serafinowicz turns the nominees words against him

His Wogan is immaculate, his Caine uncanny. But when it came to capturing the essence of Donald Trump, Peter Serafinowicz actor, comedian and gifted mimic took a very different approach. Here, suddenly, was Trump attempting to placate Hispanic voters in a plummy British luvvie voice, or firing broadsides at Hillary as a cockney hardman.

Knocking up YouTube-ready redubs of Trump speeches on his MacBook at home, Serafinowicz has clocked up millions of views since the start of 2016, as well as finding a way to skewer a man who often seems to exist beyond parody. His one rule? They are all Trumps words, says Serafinowicz. I may say them in a different accent but I say exactly what he said. His most frequent dub is Sassy Trump, which sees the nominee revoiced as a camp thrower of shade. I think Trump is a mix of being incredibly clever, incredibly stupid and incredibly vain. The vanity thing, thats why I keep doing these Sassy Trump videos.

People seem to like Cockney Trump but if I do him with a tough guy voice, he might love it. He projects this image of himself as a tough guy. But if he sees a video with him bitching to an audience of coal miners in West Virginia for two minutes about hairspray which he did! and suddenly hes got this voice to match his gestures, I think that might get under his skin. So with the election looming, is there an ultimate goal? My ideal outcome would be Trump making a speech complaining about his depiction in one of my videos, and then I get to redub that video. That would be it: game over. Graeme Virtue

Trump Leaks

The Twitter comic turning the campaign into a live sitcom script

One of Owen Ellicksons Tweets. Photograph: Twitter/@onlxn

This election might often seem beyond parody but a comedy writer and his Twitter account are doing their best to refute that notion. Since June, former American Office producer Owen Ellickson has been taking to the platform to pen Trump Leaks, an epic satirical imagining of leaked transcripts from the orange meanies inner circle, delivered 140 characters at a time.

Trump Leaks sees the Donald and operatives such as lapdog governor Chris Christie and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway scramble to revive their flagging presidential run, usually managing to make things worse in the process. Responding to real news stories such as Trumps flagging poll numbers and that tape, Ellicksons tweets resemble a sitcom script being delivered on the fly, complete with in-jokes and bizarre subplots involving wrestlers, killer clowns, and the revelation that former Fox News chief Roger Ailes is in fact a shapeshifting vampire squid. And at the centre of it all theres Trump, the perfect sitcom antihero: amoral, cruel and buffoonish, like Archie Bunker but with access to the nuclear codes.

Ellicksons tweets have proved popular: one recent effort, in which two Republican higher-ups debated Trumps aquatic abilities, got the absurd hashtag #TrumpCantSwim trending. Another of Ellicksons hashtags #GiveMoreThanTrump, created in response to Trumps alleged stinginess in donating to worthy causes raised more than $80,000 for the American Refugee Committee.

Ellickson plans to keep the saga going until election day, and if recent tweets are any guide, things could get dark. One storyline saw a Trump acolyte obtain a warhead, while Trump himself has taken to shouting, THE AGE OF MAN IS OVER. ITS THE FIRES TURN NOW! All of which sounds only marginally more ridiculous than real-world events. Gwilym Mumford


h2>30 Songs, 30 Days

Franz Ferdinand and pals unite for a musical mauling

Franz Ferdinand Demagogue

During an election involving the Donald, youd expect musicians to have something to say. Music is the artform of protest after all, and plenty of words rhyme with Trump. But when author Dave Eggers decided to start a musical movement after attending a Trump rally, it was obvious to him it was going to take more than just one ditty to do the nominee of ignominy justice. So Eggers assembled a panoply of partisan protest: 30 acts contributing 30 songs over the 30 days leading up to the election, featuring Death Cab For Cutie, Sun Kil Moon, REM, EL VY, Aimee Mann, Franz Ferdinand and a host of fellow disgruntlees.

The tiny hands, Elnett hair construction, preposterous showboating, it was all comically ridiculous, says Franz Ferdinands Alex Kapranos (pictured, inset), whose contribution, Demagogue, is a wonky, off-kilter stomper. He was a joke, then… it wasnt a joke. Then: a sense of Fuck, is this really happening? Some songs were written solely for the project, while others, like Franzs, were already written but were no less potent. Musically we wanted it to reflect him: swaggering, instant on the ear, but unsettling, continues Kapranos. To feel that something is not quite right. We did that by adding an extra beat to every second bar in the verse, making it as confidently clumsy and revolting as a celebrity billionaires uninvited hand on your genitals. Luke Holland

John Di Domenico

Trumps top impressionist reveals his tricks of the trade

Donald Trump Impersonator John Di Domenico. Photograph: Publicity image

The Guardian? says Donald Trump, down the phone from Vegas. Its absolutely a tree-menn-dous newspaper. You guys backed Brexit right? Ok, so its not the actual Donald Trump Im speaking to. But if youve been hooked on Slates fantastic Trumpcast series, youll know its hard to distinguish between John Di Domenicos wicked caricature, and the wicked caricature himself. In each episode of the podcast, before the guests delve into whatever grotesque thing Trump has done in the last day or so, Di Domenico reads out the latest ramblings from the mans Twitter feed with pitch-perfect precision. Its hard to encounter a Trump tweet afterwards without hearing them in Di Domenicos nasal tones.

Di Domenico first started impersonating Trump 12 years ago, locking himself in his house with an Apprentice DVD and breaking the Donalds unusual voice down into its constituent elements. The key points you have to master, he says, are throat placement (strain your throat a little bit, because hes more gravelly than ever at the moment) and injecting a dose of North Eastern nasality, so your voice emerges from the top of your nose rather than your mouth. Next, stretch out certain syllables a split-second too long so that it sounds tree-menn-dous and try not to open your mouth because, he actually keeps his lips very tightly pursed.

The billionaires perpetual presence in the headlines over the years means that Trump work has never dried up for Di Domenico, but with this election cycle he says impersonating the mogul has consumed my life: that means voiceovers, commercials, regular appearances on the Conan OBrien show, and zero time for anything else. Surely this puts him in an odd position, where a Trump victory might not be desirable for the world, but would be good for business? I think the actor David Spade summed it up best, he says. He said I dont want to live in a world where Donald Trump is president. But I do want to live in a world where hes constantly running for president. I thought, oh my God, thats perfect. Tim Jonze

Samantha Bee

Americas best new satirist tears into Trumps women problems

Full Frontal presenter Samantha Bee. Photograph: PR

Its as if the US wished the best new TV satirist into existence in the depths of their Trump-induced despair. After more than a decade as a Daily Show correspondent, Samantha Bee was handed her own show in February and swiftly set about launching weekly satirical Exocets on US news happenings. Full Frontal, which airs on the TBS network (UK viewers can catch clips on the shows YouTube channel), has seen the Canadian-born comic grill big political names, including one Barack Obama. But its Bees furious monologues that really mark the show out.

Nothing provides better fuel to her furnace than the fact that Back To The Futures Biff Tannen appears to be running for president. Her thoughts on adolescent boner boss Trump are wrathful and bang on target; jet-propelled but never losing grip on her superb command of language. Her schooling of Trump on the facts around third-trimester terminations (It sounds like he has confused abortions with bear attacks) is a standout.

While other US hosts direct their fury within the bounds of decency, Bee leaves you gasping at her candour and roaring in appreciation for her verbal smackdowns. She may be preaching to the liberal choir, but the catharsis of her well-scripted anger makes her the nasty woman to watch. Julia Raeside

The Nuisance Committee

The foul-mouthed card-game makers who are pranking Trump with adverts

The Nuisance Committees billboard in Dearborn, Michigan. Photograph: PR

Donald Trump cant read this but he is scared of it, says a sign on Interstate 94 in Dearborn, Michigan (below). The reason he cant read it is because the phrase is written in Arabic. Dearborn has the highest proportion of Arab-American citizens in the US. Any of them reading it are encouraged to visit the website on the billboard, TrumpIsScared.org, which lists Trumps many acts of Islamophobia. The ad wasnt erected by Dearborn residents, but by one of the makers of Cards Against Humanity, the infamous board game where players are tasked with creating the most offensive phrase possible. I knew wed hit a home run when I posted [the billboard] on Facebook and a friend in Saudi Arabia typed in the comments: LOL, says Melissa Harris of The Nuisance Committee.

The committee was set up by Cards co-creator Max Temkin and a group of friends after Trump won the Republican nomination. A registered super PAC (campaign group), it is funded by sales of special editions of Temkins game one Trump-themed, the other Clinton. So far its raised more than $430,000. Much of the cash has funded mischievous stunts. As well as the Dearborn billboard, there have been others outside Virginias evangelical Liberty University (Trumps claim that, nobody reads the Bible more than me) and one in Arizona featuring Trumps line about local senator John McCain not being a war hero because he got captured. Best and weirdest of all was a sign that appeared outside a university in Florida: DONALD TRUMPS MAINS HANZO AND COMPLAINS ABOUT TEAM COMP IN CHAT. Which unless youre a regular player of Blizzards first-person shooter Overwatch might as well be written in Arabic. The phrase roughly describes the kind of selfish player who chooses the wrong character and then moans about the rest of the people on his team. TrumpIsNotATeamPlayer.com, the website on the billboard, then explains all the ways Trump resembles a multiplayer jerk. There are more than a few.

One of the Committees final acts is taking a bus-load of comics to Iowa City to knock on doors the weekend before the election. Because what other group could face the wrath of angry voters like standups? They are, agrees Harris, definitely used to having vitriol spewed at them. Will Dean

Visions Of Trump

Plenty of artists have depicted the Donald

Composite: Matt Furie; Edel Rodireguez/Time Magazine; Molly Crabapple

After comic character-turned-internet meme Pepe The Frog was appropriated by far-right groups, original creator Matt Furie stepped in, reclaiming the character as a force for good and including his own Bosch-ian take on Trump (pictured above) as part of a new strip for cartoon website The Nib.

In rendering a recognisable Trump with as little detail as possible, Edel Rodriguezs Meltdown cover for Time recalls British painter Julian Opies work. He updated the cover two months later when Trump slid further into the mire.

In Tangerine Mussolini artist activist Molly Crabapple riffs on Bertellis Continuous Profile (Head of Mussolini) from 1933. Resembling a whirring, spinning drill head, this futurist work imagines the square-jawed Italian dictator as a series of stacked discs, so he appears the same from all sides while looking in every direction at once. Appropriately for Trump, that work was inspired by classical busts of the two-faced god Janus. Skye Sherwin

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/nov/05/donald-trump-franz-ferdinand-samantha-bee-peter-serafinowicz

Comments are closed.

Copyright © EP4 Blog