The Complicated Role Of Late-Night TV In The Trump Era

Donald Trump has achieved his goal; no matter what he says or how stupid it is, he will always get press. When people overwhelmed and frustrated by the daily reporting of Trump’s antics need an easy-bake comedic take on these events, folks turn to the late night shows. Traditionally, as far back as I remember when Johnny Carson was around, Late Night TV is meant to be the escape from the real world.

Johnny Carson is gone and late night can no longer be easy-breezy with the political turmoil around us. Depending on the network (and the host), this can be a challenge: Jimmy Fallon, who took over for Jay Leno on NBC’s The Tonight Show, comes across as being too dorky and earnest to go hardcore. Stephen Colbert, in charge of the other late night behemoth on CBS, has the better delivery, but comes across as uncomfortable performing the other duties of genre (interviewing, skits, etc). Jimmy Kimmel over on ABC comes across as more of the laid back type who you have wake up from a writer’s meeting while discussing political jokes.

The people who I consider having the most edge and be funny in these times are from two franchises I never was that into; SNL’s Seth Meyers with his Late Night show on NBC and John Oliver with his weekly Last Week Tonight show on HBO. As an honorable mention – Trevor Noah with his tenure on The  Daily Show (he can be middle of the road himself, but he’s getting there). I’m not sure how long audiences will continue to turn into the repeated theme of what Trump and his administration are doing, but I certainly hope they do – America in its darkest hour is finally willing to laugh again.

Steve Bannon Needs A New Home

Steve Bannon, Senior Political Advisor to President Trump, was recently removed from the National Security Council. The reason? He was only there to keep an eye out on Michael Flynn, the National Security Adviser fired for lying about not talking with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak according to the Los Angeles Times:

Flynn misled Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Press Secretary Sean Spicer about conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, allowing all three to make repeated false public statements. He did not tell Pence the truth until after the facts were revealed by the Washington Post last week. On Tuesday, Spicer said Trump had known about Flynn’s inaccurate statements for nearly three weeks and had fired him because of an “eroding level of trust.”

So the National Security Advisor needed a spy to make sure he was in check? Nah. This from the New York Times sounds more believable:

For the first two months of Mr. Trump’s presidency, Mr. Bannon occupied an unassailable perch at the president’s side — ramming through key elements of his eclectic and hard-edge populist agenda, including two executive orders on freezing immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries. Mr. Trump viewed Mr. Bannon as a street-fighting kindred spirit who favored his own attack-when-attacked communications strategy.

But blunders by Mr. Bannon’s team — especially the first immigration order, which was rejected by multiple courts — have undermined his position. His take-no-prisoners style was not a winning strategy on Capitol Hill, and Mr. Bannon declined to take a significant part. Experienced politicians, including Mr. Pence and Mr. Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, stepped into more expansive roles as negotiations over the failed health care overhaul dragged on.

What it comes down to is that Steve Bannon was very much like Trump, except for the part where he actually knew what he was doing. If the s*** you are trying to pull off doesn’t work, it’s time to find a new home for where your ideas can get support; for instance Breitbart News. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t wanna go back there. Maybe he could start new network called The Bannon Channel where he could give a platform to Steven Miller who famously stated that he would go on “any show at any time” to defend President Trump.

I have an idea for a new series that could be featured on Bannon’s never-to-be-created channel – “Mike Flynn and The Two Steve’s”. Nah, that would be canceled given that Michael Flynn is looking at jail time.