What the world needs now are fewer Donald Trump jokes. Jokes just trivialize what the president is doing, and I’d estimate the portion of bad ones to be about 98 percent — basically, everything except some of Stephen Colbert’s monologues, the occasional Seth Meyers bullseye, and Jake Tapper’s withering asides on The Lead. Nevertheless, television keeps trying to smile through the Apocalypse, the latest example being The President Show, which premiered Thursday night on Comedy Central.
It stars Anthony Atamanuik, a professional Trump impersonator, as the president. The gimmick is that he’s hosting a talk show from the Oval Office, with Mike Pence (played by Peter Grosz) as his sidekick. That gives The President Show a framework that might, theoretically, have been a good showcase for satire. But the first episode was a mishmash of tired punchlines — or rather, just lines without punch. “Mr. President, those numbers don’t make any sense.” “Who cares? I’m the president. Can you believe it?”
Atamanuik wears the Trump hair well and he has Trump’s hand gestures down — physically, it’s a big improvement over Alec Baldwin’s suckerfish-lipped performance on SNL. Atamanuik’s Trump voice is too high-pitched to approximate the real Donald’s, but overall, it’s OK work.
The show also included an excruciating interview with Keith Olbermann, currently throwing spittle in Trump’s direction on a video series called “The Resistance” on GQ.com. I wasn’t sure whether it was the Trump character or Atamanuik himself murmuring to Olbermann as he shook hands goodbye, “You blew the last line, Keith.”
Slapdash and one-joke-silly, The President Show would not seem to have much of a future as an ongoing enterprise.
The President Show airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.
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