As any admirer of stage comedy will vouch, nothing beats a double-act. This immortally funny formula requires little more than one man making a lot of silly anarchic jokes while another, the so-called ‘straight-man’ or ‘stooge’, remains rigidly po-faced. The funny-man’s gag does not have to be that funny, for the real joke – the great laugh, as it were – is triggered by the straight-man’s priggish reaction to it. The more pompous the straight-man, the funnier the joke. This week those able to raise a mild chuckle over President Trump’s tweet in which he called Michael Avenatti a ‘3rd rate lawyer’ and his client, Stormy Daniels, ‘Horseface’ soon found themselves collapsed to the floor in heaps of laughter by the timelessly humourless and priggish reaction of the mainstream media.
As soon as the President had unleashed his tweet the liberal networks started vying with one another to find the most self-important nincompoop willing to express her moral outrage on air. CNN got April Ryan insisting ‘this is the standard bearer of the American public. This is the leader of the free world and he is chastising a woman … This is not a joke … It’s disgusting, this is street, it’s gutter.’ MSNBC hired Nicolle Wallace to say that ‘if misogyny is your thing it is on the ballot this November in the form of every Republican candidate who associates himself (or herself) with Donald Trump.’ On ABC Meghan McCain wound herself into such a knot of moral indignation that her tongue was unable to make any sense at all: ‘I had a lot of things about Michael Avenatti, by the way, I believe he should pay her legal fees, I don’t think she should have to pay it. But I will say it doesn’t matter anymore because when you are calling a woman ‘Horseface’ all arguments we have are now negated.’
Equine welfare centres have yet to be drawn, but we expect their interventions shortly: ‘Hatred of horses is immoral and wholly inappropriate to the 21st century. Our President clearly lacks the guts to pick on someone his own size?’ Next up, some high-pitched Hylomone from the National Union of Female Centaurs: ‘Female centaurs are united in their condemnation of President Trump’s mean and childish tweet about Stormy Daniels. We are as proud of our horsey bodies as we are of our womanly faces; by calling Ms Daniels ‘Horseface’ this insensitive scumbag raises epinephrine to such levels that female centaurs are now stressed by heartless laughter lodging indelibly in their Hippocampuses.’
President Trump may not quite qualify for a degree in the vituperative arts but he is diligently honing his skills and is certainly one to watch. Let us not forget that ‘Horseface’ Daniels has just published an autobiography in which she supposed that an alleged three minutes of distracted ‘missionary position’ 12 years ago, entitles her to call the president a ‘bore’, a ‘dipshit’ an ‘asshole’, a ‘fucking asshole’ and a ‘motherfucker’ with ‘Yeti pubes and a dick like a mushroom’. Under these circumstances most fair-minded folk would agree that ‘Horseface’ is a pretty mild rebuke. The word was carefully chosen – not too insulting, reasonably funny, perfectly accurate etc. Trump knew exactly how it would go down and how the straight-men and women of the left-wing presses would react to make his only quite good joke immediately and uproariously funny.
Those at CNN and MSNBC who work themselves into a lather over every Trump tweet fail to see that they are not occupying their own stage, they do not even stand on its sidelines, for Donald J. Trump is the noisy ring-master of his own great circus – funny yellow hair, top-hat and tails, finger always poised for another tweet, party whistle pressed always to his lips – it is he who calls the shots and he who summons the stooges in their pathetic clown outfits to shuffle in and out with their angry red faces, to jump through his hoops and dance to his tunes. Of course he knows that as soon the American media resigns its role as straight-man-stooge to his funny-man president, the show will be well and truly over and his big top circus will have to come down – but that is not likely to happen any time soon.