For my entire life it’s been hard for me to separate things I enjoy with the people that produce them. For a somewhat recent example, let’s use Blake Shelton. He sings a song called, “God Gave Me You.” At the time he released it, he was engaged/married to Miranda Lambert (who I almost dated, more on that here). Awesome. Great. Wonderful. Four years later they got divorced. So what was all that “I can’t do without you” stuff? Now I can’t listen to his version of that song because the lyrics just seem hollow.
Another example is David Letterman. Growing up I loved watching The Late Show with David Letterman. He was constantly making me laugh, had great interviews, and I enjoyed Paul Shaffer as Dave’s musical sidekick. But somewhere along the line, I’d guess it was the late 2000s during an election year and Dave’s jokes became so politically slanted, I couldn’t stomach it anymore. I watched less and less until I just wasn’t watching at all.
Fast forward to Donald Trump as President of the U.S. and another favorite of mine is following in David Letterman’s footsteps. Jimmy Fallon. Oh, how I’ve loved watching The Tonight Show but just like The Late Show, I’m watching less and less. From a recent show, I counted and categorized all the jokes told during Jimmy’s opening monologue. Mind you, this was the very day Joe Biden announced Kamala Harris as his running mate. So you’d think some topical jokes about either of those two would be very relevant.
The show opened with a joke about Biden being scared of the tough Kamala Harris. This was a “joke” but really a thinly veiled compliment to Kamala Harris. The rest of my notes are as follows:
Biden/Harris jokes: 1 (the one I just mentioned)
Other jokes: 4
This is just one episode but trust me when I say every episode follows this same formula: bash Trump. If there’s a cute video of a panda bear sneezing, circle it around to Trump and bash him. Pence loves his wife, bash him. It’s a real shame because Jimmy is so funny and very creative in his jokes and sketches. I guess the writers can shoulder some of the blame but it’s just too bad they can’t seem to dig deeper and come up with jokes that are politically neutral. I’d even settle for politically equal. Make fun of Trump, fine, that’s part of your job- taking current events and turn them into laughs. But can’t you do the equal amount of ribbing to the beloved Democrat side of the aisle? We all know Joe Biden is full of comedy gold with the mistakes and missteps he’s made just in the last few weeks. And Kamala’s nasally voice is low-hanging fruit for any comedian.
So now I just can’t bear to watch The Tonight Show anymore. I’ll miss it because of sketches like Headswap, Hashtag the Panda Bear, Ragtime Gals, and stories Jimmy tells about his experiences with other celebrities. But until they can set their own personal political agenda aside, they have one less fan.
-Out of the Wilderness