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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 Daily Picks
"THE CAPTURE of the last territory controlled by the Islamic State on Saturday was far from a final victory over the movement, as U.S. commanders and diplomats were careful to emphasize."
"How a Gay Teen, an Internet Nazi, and a Late-Night Rendezvous Turned to Tragedy. When self-loathing meets the new age of online extremism."
"Benjamin Netanyahu ignored the intelligence operations of Beijing and Moscow for too long. Now, the Israeli government is finally paying attention, but it could be too late."
"Former Nick Jr. kids are now reckoning with this all-grown-up intrepid explorer, whose obstacles are a lot bigger than Swiper the Fox. And that is a hard pill to swallow."
"At the end of last week, the three-month Treasury bills' yield rose above the yield for 10-year Treasuries for the first time since 2007, prompting warnings that the U.S. is headed for recession later this year or in early 2020."
"A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology attempted to answer some questions about voting with the help of artificial intelligence (AI)."
"The experts I spoke with all said that the internet had changed the way conspiracies spread, but conspiracies, both dangerous and petty, have always been with us."
"Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?"
"Trustful parents allow their children as much freedom as reasonably possible to make their own decisions. They trust their children’s instincts, judgments, and ability to learn from mistakes."
"Arugulagate. In 2007, Barack Obama was in Iowa, speaking as a presidential hopeful to a group of farmers who were worried about the stagnation of their crop prices while America’s grocery bills continued to rise."
"To say that information exists in and of itself is akin to speaking of spin without the top, of ripples without water, of a dance without the dancer, or of the Cheshire Cat’s grin without the cat."
"Ted Cruz replaces the Democrats’ muddled manifesto with a clear and unequivocal exploration of the hatred of Jews and its particular evils."