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Question #90852 posted on 01/28/2018 3:44 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Do you feel that late night comedy has gone downhill since the 2016 election? Believe me, I hate Trump as much as the next person - but the relentless and repetitive Trump-bashing is getting to be a drag. There are other things going on in the world, right? Other non-political (or even just alternative political) things to make fun of? I feel like having such an easy target has led to lazy comedy writing. Thoughts?

Looking for sincere feedback,

Trevor Noah
Seth Meyers
Stephen Colbert

A:

Dear person,

Hey, don't try to blame your displeasure on late-night comedy! You're obviously the problem! After all, how could any reasonable, Trump-hating American ever tire of hearing about him until the end of his term (or, better yet, his impeachment)?

Are you sure you're not a Trump-loving bigot? You might want to reevaluate the correctness of your political leanings if you think Trump's presidency isn't the worst thing to happen in the history of the world.

-The Entomophagist, satirically

A:

Dear Watcher of Late-Night,

For starters, I totally see where you're coming from. However, as someone who watches and enjoys all three of these shows I think there are some important things to remember. 

First of all, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is and has been a satirical news program. Politics is the point of the show. Much like Trump dominates the headlines of Fox News or CNN, much of TDS focuses on him. It's also important to remember that TDS is where Colbert got his start. After the success of The Colbert Report, I'm not surprised that his shows tend to focus a little more on politics. 

I also think it's a great indicator of how deep Trump has thrust himself into politics. You never saw Bush or Obama get into arguments with NFL players, or announce their own "Fake News Awards". But, Trump uses Twitter to comment on everything, and as such, it's difficult to find a political story that Trump hasn't already commented on. Also, I think Trump tries to control the news cycle through his tweets which leads to things like the "Fake News Awards". Because of this constant attention-seeking we seem to have a crazy new Trump story at least once a day, whereas past presidents could go days without a big story.

Finally, these shows are a business. You sell what works. Trump-bashing clips are often the most watched part of late-night comedy, be it on television or Youtube. Until that changes, I wouldn't expect any of these shows to do anything different. Like Trump says, he gets the ratings.

-Mitty

A:

Dear comedians, 

I'm with you—constantly hearing about Trump is starting to get on my nerves. I used to watch Colbert all the time, but now that all his segments only seem to focus on Trump I rarely tune into his show. 

However, I think it's less their problem and more Trump's problem. He keeps saying and doing ridiculous things, so that's what the news and late night comedy have focused on. In addition, these shows survive based on their ratings, and as their audiences are liberal, they focus on the issues (Trump) that their audience would like to hear. A few months after the election Colbert's show (which focused on Trump) got higher ratings than Jimmy Fallon's (which tried to avoid political topics). I think late night shows took this as a sign that bashing on Trump all the time would get them higher ratings, and so that's what they've been focusing on. (Admittedly I don't watch Trevor Noah or Seth Meyers, so I'm just generalizing from Colbert's show. Horrible logic, I know. Sorry.)

However, John Oliver has stayed pretty amazing, and I think that's because of his willingness to focus on different topics. So while I've given up Colbert, I've taken to scouring youtube for John Oliver clips. If you're looking to replace one of your late night shows, I highly suggest watching Last Week Tonight!

-guppy of doom

A:

Dear sincere,

I agree with you, it has certainly come to feel pretty old, hearing ridiculous things that Trump has done every single day gets pretty old. I've gotten pretty darn tired of it and I've longed for different comedy, for different news. But there are a couple problems.

1. It's actually happening. As much as I hate hearing what's going on, I don't want people to start ignoring what Trump and his administration are doing. As someone who is generally enraged by what is going on, I'm worried that we'll become desensitized or so tired of the news that we stop caring. As the media is becoming increasingly attacked by those in power I think it's more and more important to speak truth to power.

2. On a lighter note, Trump's presidency is a comedy gold mine and I don't judge any of the hosts for capitalizing on it. I mean, come on, there's so many crazy "breaking news" stories we practically forget what happened yesterday. Like others have said, it's a business, and Trump news gets the views.

Keep it real,
Sherpa Dave