Every Late Night television talk show host uses monologues to give us one final hearty laugh for the day. Taking shots at the current President and those in the current Administration have always been a good fallback for these comedians. However, sometimes they take things a little bit far.
Without Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, Late Night dramatically changed. Humor morphed into simply making often veiled attacks at politicians — demeaning some and laughing at others. Chasing ratings was all that mattered. They quickly discovered that using famous politicians as their nightly target seemed to always work pretty well. They ALL thanked the Heavens when Donald Trump beat Hillary.
Donald Trump gave them campaign rhetoric, a strange hairdo, tanning bed eyes, a long tie, and a confidence never before seen so outwardly in any other television era President. And he tweets — constantly.
Here’s how Late Night in the U.S. analyzed President Trump’s first 100 days in office:
Those were during the Trump first 100 days. It has only steadily worsened since.
Never mind the successes of this presidency in just 17 months. Never mind all those successes came from within the most hateful, vitriolic, spiteful, and obstructionist political climate in American history. Forget the fact that even many establishment Republicans have turned their backs on the leader of their own party. By any measure, Donald Trump has shocked almost all Americans, many foreign citizens, and especially foreign leaders with the positive results seen under his leadership — even in foreign relations. Rarely does a novice arrive at the White House that achieves much of anything in a first term, yet alone seen the dramatic positive results we’ve seen so quickly from the Trump Administration.
None of this success was lost on the Hollywood-New York entertainment industry who in the 8 Obama years took complete control of the American political landscape — or so they thought. Barack Obama literally handed them the keys with his full authority to shape the political landscape for this generation. They gladly accepted. They hurriedly set their plans in motion to overturn almost everything the United States has stood for for at least a century or so. And they used entertainment. And they are using comedy.
Unfortunately for the Late Night-ers, they and their producers have really short memories. They forgot that voters from almost every state inside the U.S. coastal borders voted against their Hollywood’s ideals, opting instead to vote for MAGA. From the very announcement by Donald Trump of his bid for President, comedy writers were turned loose and mounted non-stop attacks on everything “Donald Trump” they could imagine. It matters not if it’s Baron, Melania, Donald Jr., Eric, Ivanka or Jared, or ANYTHING about Donald personally, everyone and everything “Trump” is a target — including even the personal appearance of White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. (Where are the women’s’ rights advocates who if Sanders was a Democrat would be setting Washington on fire!)
Remember all the racial discussions about conservative “dog whistles” during the Obama presidency? Anyone that was not Democrat who dared to mention something that could be associated with racism was immediately accused of blowing the “dog whistle” of supremacy so as to call every conservative to a dog fight. Late Night television is dog fight headquarters! Talk show hosts are quick to blow that dog whistle daily. And every Coastal-Potomac Elitist is quick to answer the whistle “or else.” If they are slow on the response or do not respond at all, they are immediately demeaned on-air by their counterparts (who hate them anyway, simply because they are competitors) and are derided by the mainstream press for not staying in line.
It is important to note that these shows are competing for numbers that once would have been considered catastrophic. Carson could pull in 9 million viewers when one of his shows popped; he averaged 19 million viewers a night his final week on air in 1992. By way of comparison, Stephen Colbert is winning the late-night race with 3 million viewers! That’s better than MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, but not by much. This means that all it takes to become a giant of late-night TV is winning over a Maddow-like audience, exactly Colbert’s strategy. I’m sorry, but beating Maddow ain’t winning!
If this trend is inevitable, it’s not a good thing. It removes yet another neutral zone, free of social and political contention, from American life. And it foretells the death of real late night comedy — something that millions of Americans for years planned their evenings around during the Carson and Leno Tonight Show decades.
In this anti-Trump environment, the quality of the comedy on these shows is certain to continue to plummet, while the quality of the political commentary continues to be inevitably poor.
All that is seen and heard on Late Night is now just political monologue rather than dialogue. As Kimmel, Colbert, and Fallon show us night after night, it’s a short step from believing that you don’t need the patronage of the other side to feeling contempt for it. All three are NOT trying to convince anyone; they are simply scorning and mocking Trump for the benefit of people who already hate him.
Johnny Carson once said, “I would love to have taken on Billy Graham. But I’m on TV five nights a week; I have nothing to gain by it and everything to lose.” Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel, competing for the crown in a much-diminished late-night kingdom, beg to differ, and unfortunately, they’re right.
My two cents: as Late Night ratings plunge so does advertising revenue. Coastal Political Elitist Late Night Comedy is not dying: it’s already dead.
Would someone unplug them and turn-on Andy Griffith Show reruns? At least there’d be some substance AND humor on television in late night.