PRESIDENT TRUMP might not be the comedy gold mine that some satirists had hoped for, according to MAD magazine writer Jeff Kruse. Instead, the motherlode might rest all around him.
“Almost everything that can be said about him has been said,” Kruse says of Trump. “I think the people in his administration will turn out to be a rich source of punchlines.”
Still, in an attempt to find fresh nuggets, Kruse decided upon another angle that plays off other people. The L.A.-based humorist has written a MAD piece that compares Trump to other American presidents (the issue will hit shelves physical and virtual near the end of the month).
In the new article, which receives its exclusive preview in today’s Post Comic Riffs and comes out Feb. 21, Kruse sizes up Zachary Taylor’s real wars against Trump’s Twitter wars. The writer also compares military generals against Trump’s ties to the defunct United States Football League’s New Jersey Generals.
“I like the symmetry, and it brings me back to the 1980s when I first heard the name ‘Donald Trump,’ ” Kruse says of the football bit.
Writing an assignment like this especially highlights one fact. “We never have seen anything like this,” Kruse says. “Some past-presidents may have been as in-your-face as Trump behind the scenes, but most of them didn’t live in a 24/7 news cycle with access to Twitter.”
Even as some anti-Trump comedians try to rise to the current occasion, Kruse thinks there is a natural check-and-balance on the power of political skewering.
“Good satire definitely can define public figures, though I’m not sure how much it really affects things,” he says. “Plenty of politicians get mercilessly mocked and still go on to win elections. Comedians and cartoonists slam crooked CEOs all the time, but it doesn’t seem to hurt their bottom line.”
And what might Kruse do if Trump tried to enforce an executive order that such satire of leadership were banned, akin to the recent outlawing of governmental sarcasm in North Korea?
“I’d still do political satire, since I enjoy it,” he says, “though MAD wouldn’t be around if laughter were banned.”
Here is an exclusive sneak-peek at Kruse’s new MAD take: