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“I have been doing stand-up comedy for 20 years and the only time I’ve experienced leaders feeling threatened by jokes was in 2007, when I first toured the Middle East as part of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour. The promoters in some of the more autocratic countries we toured told us that we were allowed to make fun of anything we wanted — except sex, religion and their leaders. It didn’t leave us much to talk about. (“Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and goodnight!”)
In Egypt one of the promoters told us that Hosni Mubarak’s people had reached out to make sure none of us had any jokes about the president. We didn’t, but a few years later he was overthrown in a revolution anyway. Maybe a few jokes would have been better for him.
Fast forward to 2018. The other day, President Trump tweeted that “Saturday Night Live” and NBC are colluding with Democrats to defame and belittle him, and that their actions “should be tested in courts.” The suggestion was that joking about him might be illegal. When I read this I was shocked. Just kidding. I wasn’t shocked. I haven’t been shocked since Trump said he grabbed women in the privates and people voted for him anyway.
“Saturday Night Live” has been making fun of Republican and Democratic presidents since it started in 1975. From Chevy Chase’s Gerald Ford to Darryl Hammond’s Bill Clinton to Dana Carvey’s George H.W. Bush to Will Ferrell’s George W. Bush to somebody’s Barack Obama. (Does anyone remember who did Obama? He was a pretty bad president for comedy.) The obvious point being — so obvious even Trump has to know this — “Saturday Night Live” makes fun of everyone.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"In a bid to create new space for green industries and fossil-free energy production, greater Copenhagen wants to build an entirely new business and infrastructure district on the city’s southwestern edge."
Donald Trump ran for president saying that he would be a shrewd businessman with a propensity for making deals. Why, then, are we in the longest government shutdown on record?
"There isn’t an Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the way that many outsiders seem to think... In the Israeli view, no peacemaker can bring the two sides together because there aren’t just two sides. There are many, many sides."
"I've always wondered what fans see in her. After debating with a friend about her “merits” for over half a decade now, I thought I had found the one thing that could probably change my opinion of the pop star: the Reputation tour documentary..."
"Even if the economy is on a roll, many Americans aren’t feeling the benefit... In fact, when adjusted for cost of living increases, real wages actually declined 1.3% since the end of 2017, PayScale found."
"Cutting ties with Facebook would mean consciously cutting ties with my own community, and I can't bring myself to do it. When I asked my connections on Facebook why they were staying, their answers were very similar to mine..."
Fear of the news; fear of climate change, fear of touch screens... these New Yorker cartoons portray the modern phobias that are driving us crazy.
"Texts replaced authors as the privileged objects of scholarly knowledge, and the performance of critical operations on texts became essential to the scholar’s identity."
"When I speak to parents’ groups about kids who are addicted to Fortnite and other video games, I tell them that it is the parents’ job to limit, govern and guide their kids’ use of video games..."
"Startups like Hungry Harvest and Imperfect Produce say they're helping to reduce food waste in America. Critics say they're deceiving their customers and making the problem worse."
"Scholars are now interested in whether having a vocabulary item for a concept influences thought in domains far from language, such as visual perception."
"The much-documented anti-Semitism of the British Labor party leader is no accident... Jeremy Corbyn reminds us that anti-Semitism is not just an irrational hatred, harbored by madmen at the fringes of British society."