Donald Trump has been president of the United States for over a year and it's an understatement to say he's caused a great deal of controversy since being inaugurated. Because of his sometimes outlandish behavior, the president has provided a lot of fodder for comedians and celebrities, who have eviscerated Trump during (and before) his presidency. However, while making fun of Trump, comedians have also served to provide some levity and humor during what many consider to be nationally trying times. The clips shared below reflect some of this nuanced comedic brilliance that has perhaps provided comfort to some Americans.
While Trump's approval ratings certainly seem to indicate that he does not garner favor with many Americans, he has seemingly nonetheless served as "comedy gold" for late night hosts, as described by Shannon Bond of the Financial Times. As the Financial Times reported back in February of 2017, critiquing the president has proven fruitful for political satire shows, like Late Night with Stephen Colbert and Saturday Night Live, which saw ratings hikes in the wake of Trump's election. For example, the paper reported that viewership for Colbert's show grew three percent in January 2017 from the year before, and, by February of the same year, had reached 3 million — 30 percent above the previous summer's lowest ratings.
However, as a July 2017 article in USA Today pointed out, writers for late night shows also sometimes find that coverage of the controversial president can be "exhausting." Moreover, it can be challenging to come up with comedy when reality itself seems absurd. As Hallie Haglund, a writer on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, explained to the paper, writers have to constantly ask, "how do I heighten this, how do I not just show it?" As you can imagine, they often find themselves challenged by the notion "there's nothing left to do with this, because it’s so ridiculous" when covering politics.
Nonetheless, in the past year — and beyond — comedians and celebrities have come up with some genius clips when covering Trump as president and as a presidential candidate.
John Oliver's First Big Trump Segment
At the beginning of Trump's presidential campaign, Last Week Tonight's John Oliver dedicated the main segment of his show to Trump, saying,
Our main story tonight ... and I can't believe I'm saying this... is Donald Trump. And I say that knowing that every time his name is said aloud, he has a shattering orgasm. And look we have mostly ignored Trump on this show but he has now won three states, has been endorsed by Chris Christie and polls show him leading most Super Tuesday states.
Stephen Colbert On Those First 100 Days
In this clip, Stephen Colbert "interviews" President Trump about his first 100 days in office, producing a (highly-edited) clip showing Trump appearing to very much be fumbling his way around the presidency.
SNL's Second Presidential Debate Parody
In this clip from SNL, Trump is repeatedly mocked for his seemingly nonsensical responses to several debate questions, as well as for appearing to closely follow opposing candidate Hillary Clinton around the stage. In one standout moment, when asked if he was modeling appropriate behavior for today's youth, Alec Baldwin, as Trump, replied, "Anderson, I love the kids, I love them so much, I'd marry them. I've been helping kids my whole life. In 1992, I helped a kid named Kevin McCallister find a hotel lobby. You might remember the documentary, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York ..."
Hillary Clinton At The Grammys
In a clip played at the 2018 Grammy Awards, late night show host James Corden held mock spoken word auditions for Fire and Fury, a book highly critical of the Trump administration. The clip featured celebrities reading passages from the book, with former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton making a surprise appearance at the end.
2016 White House Correspondents' Dinner
At his final White House Correspondents' dinner as president, Obama took several jabs at the then-Republican presidential candidate. Indeed, Obama very pointedly took Trump to task for not attending the dinner, saying toward the end of his speech,
You know I’ve got to talk about Trump! Come on! ... We weren’t just going to stop there. Come on ... Although I am a little hurt that he’s not here tonight. We had so much fun the last time. And it is surprising. You’ve got a room full of reporters, celebrities, cameras, and he says no? Is this dinner too tacky for The Donald? What could he possibly be doing instead? Is he at home, eating a Trump Steak — tweeting out insults to Angela Merkel? What’s he doing?
Alec Baldwin At The Emmys
Trump was certainly a fixture at the 2016 Emmy Awards, with several celebrities making jokes at his expense while on stage. Indeed, while accepting his award for his impersonation of Trump on SNL, Alec Baldwin joked, "I suppose I should say, at long last, Mr. President, here is your Emmy," mocking the inability of Trump's former show, The Apprentice, to ever win the award.
Lance Bass On "Man Of The Year"
In November 2017, former NSYNC member Lance Bass (and a host of other celebrities) took to Twitter to mock Trump after the president tweeted that he was "probably" going to be named TIME magazine's Man of the Year, but that he "took a pass" at the title because it "probably is no good." With his tweet, the president seemingly implied that if he was not automatically the magazine's clear-cut choice for the honor, then he would remove himself from consideration.
Jon Stewart & Colbert's Demand For Equal Time
Back in October 2017, Stewart joined Colbert on his show as a means of trying to provide equally positive and negative coverage of the president, following Trump's critique of late night hosts for supposedly only delivering "anti-Trump" messages. In the clip, Stewart repeatedly struggled to come up with pro-Trump messages.
2017 White House Correspondents' Dinner
Comedian Hasan Manaj hosted the first White House Correspondents' dinner after Trump became president. During his routine, Manaj eviscerated Trump.
One of his many jokes of the evening mocked the fact that Trump sends out tweets in the middle of the night while sober. As Manaj put it, "You know that Donald Trump doesn’t drink — does not touch alcohol. Which is oddly respectable. But think about that. That means every statement, every interview, every tweet — completely sober."
Mindy Kaling Roasts That "Like, Really Smart" Comment
In Jan. 2018, actress Mindy Kaling tweeted a photo that appeared to mock Trump's claim that he is "like, really smart." Interestingly, the U.S. Army's Twitter account momentarily "liked" the tweet, before rescinding the like and saying that it had been done inadvertently.
James Corden Eviscerates Trump's North Korea Trash Talk
In this clip from Sept. 2017, late night host James Corden mocked Trump for his remarks at the United Nations General Assembly, in which the president claimed he was going to "totally destroy North Korea." In response, Corden quipped, that this " ... can only mean one thing ... guys, it means he's going to run for president of North Korea."
Trevor Noah Destroys "Very Stable Genius" Claim
In Jan. 2018, Noah destroyed Donald Trump for tweeting that he is a "very stable genius." Noah was confounded and amused by Trump's comments, saying:
Only Donald Trump could defend himself and in the same sentence, completely undermine his whole point ... do you know how delusionally confident and un-self aware you have to be to go on Twitter and declare yourself a 'stable genius?'
Luke Skywalker Said It Like It Was
In early January, actor Mark Hamill tweeted a cutting response to Trump's tweet critiquing Michael Wolff, the author of Fire and Fury — a book highly critical of the Trump administration.
Seth Meyers Tears Into Trump's Puerto Rico Response
In this clip from October 2017, Seth Meyers took Trump to task for his questionable actions in post-hurricane Puerto Rico, which included throwing paper towels and reportedly contemplating throwing cans of chicken at people who survived the hurricane. Meyers did not hold back in his critique after discovering the crowd had to convince the president not to throw the canned goods, saying,
Oh my God. Our president had to be told not to throw cans of chicken at hurricane victims. I wouldn't be surprised if he only built Trump Tower so he could throw pennies off the roof.
Eminem's Cutting Cypher
In this performance from the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards, rapper Eminem completely destroyed Trump, criticizing the latter's actions as president and telling his own fans that they can either be a fan of his or a fan of Trump's, but not both.
Oliver Explains "Stupid Watergate"
Last Week Tonight's Oliver repeatedly mocked President Trump and his administration through a feature on his show called "Stupid Watergate." According to Oliver, "Stupid Watergate refers to the alleged Trump administration/Russia controversy and consists of a "a potential scandal with all the intrigue of Watergate except everyone involved is really bad at everything." The Trump campaign and administration have repeatedly denied allegations relating to ties to Russia.
Seth McFarlane On Aging "Without Wisdom"
Actor Seth MacFarlane took to Twitter in January to respond to Trump's controversial tweet about the American nuclear button. MacFarlane did not hold back in his criticism, saying he hopes he's "never like" Trump.
Chelsea Handler Offers Up Some Advice
Comedian Chelsea Handler did not mince words when it came to condemning Trump's thoughts on global warming.
Trevor Noah's Critique From "South Sh*thole"
Similarly, Comedian Noah destroyed Trump's alleged sh*thole comment (a comment which Trump has denied making) in this clip from his show. As Noah put it, "Personally, as someone from South Sh*thole, I'm offended, Mr. President ... not only does he think brown countries are sh*tholes, he thinks, what, we're never gonna know what he said?"
Sean Astin Blasts Trump's "Skullduggery"
Actor Sean Astin also listed all of the elements that he believed were missing from Trump's global warming assessment.
The Statue Of Liberty Doesn't Discriminate
Overall, it is clear that Trump has, perhaps unfortunately, provided many mock-worthy moments on which comedians and celebrities could capitalize — and it doesn't look like this trend is likely to die down in the future.