The voices of ‘amlet, ‘oratio and Olivier echo through its halls (photo: Paul Richter/Flickr)
Everyone remembers where they were when Kennedy was assassinated or when Princess Diana was killed, and now we all know where we were when we heard that Trump was elected president. If, like me, you had been living on a diet of late-night American chat shows – you might have thought it was a joke. Now after seven weeks in office, we know it is a joke.
Sheriff duly elected
Last year when I wrote my annual Crazy Christmas Show, I decided on Robin Hood as my theme so that I could portray the Sheriff of Nottingham as an orange-haired buffoon called Ronald Rump. The opening night of the show was on November 8, which by chance coincided with US Election Night. After a fitful sleep, I woke up to find my computer still running, and I heard the results.
I thought I was still listening to a comedy show: “Donald Trump, the 45th president! The leader of the Free World, commander-in-chief” … the idea was preposterous and the polls had told us that it could never happen!
Hillary was ready. She had already mentally redecorated the Oval Office to expunge all the memories of its ‘Oral Office’ renown. Her emails were clean. But instead of dealing with a woman who deleted her history, we now had a president who could delete ALL history. Front pages around the world reflected the shock. A German newspaper wrote “Bitte Nicht den HORROR CLOWN”, a British newspaper: “HELP!”, and a Mexican newspaper: “FUUUUCK!”
Comic gold (and orange)
So is there a silver lining to this unforeseen and, to many minorities, terrifying result?
While President Trump lined up his family for the most embarrassing inauguration in American history and the first lady tottered around in her three-inch heels, comedy writers paused for breath. It was the eye of the storm.
But now the comedy world has jumped back into the ring, ridiculing his inarticulate utterances, outrageous untruths, moronic family and billionaire cabinet.
Not since the loved-up days of Thatcher and Reagan sparked an avalanche of satire, have we had so much material for comedy.
Rump will be back!
Some people say we should ignore him because it is attention that he craves. But how can we ignore the most powerful leader in the world – particularly one who has his finger on the nuclear button, a hotline to Putin and a belief that journalistic freedom should be censored? We can’t.
Perhaps a tsunami of ridicule will even trickle through to his confused supporters, who accept the headline that he can “Make America Great Again” stamped across the front page of the Klu Klux Klan’s newspaper.
Comedy aside, basic truth-telling has now become an act of resistance. Private Eye, the British satirical magazine, showed an inaugurated Trump swearing on the Bible: “I swear to tell the post-truth, the alternative truth and nothing like the truth.”
Although I had other ideas for this year’s Crazy Show, I’ve resolved to find the silver lining and reinvent my buffoon, Ronald Rump. And the theme? Well – watch this space!