Can we laugh at a hospitalized president? Normally that would be in bad taste. But Donald Trump has changed the situation, believe humor specialists.
American TV has been advancing in minefield since Donald Trump contracted COVID-19. We realized this on Friday, when Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon tempered their daily attacks because he had contracted COVID-19.
The team of Saturday Night Live didn’t put on so many white gloves on Saturday.
To open its 46e season, the show parodied the debate between Donald Trump (played by Alec Baldwin) and Joe Biden (played by Jim Carrey) by evoking the positive diagnosis of the Republican leader.
Trump’s hospitalization has also been the subject of several jokes during Weekend Update, that fake news bulletin located in the middle of the program. “If it were the other way around, if Biden had fallen ill, Trump wouldn’t have hesitated for a single second to imitate him breathing on life support to make a crowd of unmasked supporters laugh at a rally,” reported comedian Colin Jost.
This edition of Saturday Night Live has faced several criticisms. In a video posted to Instagram, Alec Baldwin said they would have avoided any kind of teasing of Trump if they had felt he was “really seriously ill.”
According to Daniel Langlois, writer and script editor in humor, for any other public figure, the comedians would have waited for her to be discharged from the hospital to pull out their jokes.
“Usually, it’s taboo to laugh at someone who is sick,” says Daniel Langlois. Death, illness … these are the kinds of things that no one wants to touch. Unless you go there with great delicacy. But as Trump has already allowed himself to publicly laugh at disabled people or to call fallen soldiers losers, the barrier has fallen. “
For Benoît Chartier, writer of talk show Tower, Trump deserves to be the butt of such jokes.
“He rose above the coronavirus,” recalls the former professor at the National School of Humor. He made fun of those who wore a mask. By taking this position, he exposed himself. “
“It’s the difference between tragedy and comedy,” he continues. If you’re blind and you fall into a hole, it’s tragic. If you’re texting and you fall into a hole, it’s funny. “
In the past, politicians going through tough times have taken advantage of a truce in jokes about them.
In Quebec, one of the most famous examples remains that of Bye Bye 1990, who had spared the then Prime Minister Robert Bourassa, then recovering from health problems. At the end of the show, Dominique Michel declared: “Mr. Bourassa, come back to us, because we missed you, but next year, you won’t be missed! “