Debate: Trump Is Bad for Comedy?

From the opening skit on “Saturday Night Live” to “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” to the pages of The Onion, President Trump has become the face of comedy. Some comedians and writers argue that in the Trump era, satire has become more challenging and jokes have become cheap. Trump, according to his critics, has normalized the absurd and the nature of political satire in a post-truth world. But others disagree; they argue that the president serves up comedy-gold every day, making their jobs – and the laughs they seek to elicit – easier than ever before. And, they argue, comedy is much more “woke” than it used to be, with late-night hosts and comedians playing a pivotal role in the fight for social justice. Is the president killing comedy? Or is he making the funny business ever more relevant?

For the Motion:

  • P. J. O'Rourke Political Satirist & Best-Selling Author

  • Sara Schaefer Critically Acclaimed Stand-Up Comedian, Writer & Producer

Against the Motion:

  • Kurt Andersen Host, "Studio 360" & Best-Selling Author, “Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire”

  • Billy Kimball Writer & Emmy Award-Winning Supervising Producer, “Veep”