Don't show up to a knife fight without a knife. This seems to be the primary wisdom behind Donald Trump's decision not to attend the second White House Correspondent's Dinner of his term. Two years, two declines to attend. For those of you who have never received an invitation, the Correspondent's Dinner is an annual affair attended by celebrities, journalists and politicians. Showing up affirms a couple of things: a certain level of prestige as well as a sense of humor. Our current "President" has bucketloads of the first, if you were to hear it from him. It's that second element that seems to keep him away from these events.
Interesting, since one of the people I believe is quite funny (on purpose), Judd Apatow, said this after the 2016 election: “I said it as a joke, but I think there’s something to it. Reagan was funny. Bill Clinton was funny. Bush was funnier than Gore. Obama was funnier than probably anybody who’s ever run for office.” And then he added the new guy “has a demented sense of humor, Trump is way funnier than Hillary Clinton.” A year and a half later, there is probably some reckoning on this account, but a sense of humor is a very subjective thing, I ask you to consider the case of Andrew Dice Clay.
The Diceman made a name for himself in the late eighties as every feminist's nightmare. His standup routines were sexist rants that were essentially riffs on a character he created in a little seen Judd Nelson film called Making the Grade. He rode that riff to headlining gigs at Madison Square Garden. Eventually someone wondered if this was really funny. Out loud. Nora Dunn and Sinead O'Connor refused to appear on an episode of Saturday Night Live on which Mister Clay hosted. Suddenly we were all left to reckon on just how funny the Diceman really was. An interesting side note: Many years later, he showed up in a toned down version of his prior persona in a Woody Allen movie. Funny ha-ha? Or funny sad?
The defense that many people, including Andrew Clay, has used over the years is that he was just doing a character. That's not the real Andrew Clay. He was just giving the people what they want. Dirty nursery rhymes. We were guilty of supporting such behavior. All of which is to suggest that maybe our "President" is just doing a character. The real Donald Trump is a quiet homebody who prefers the company of a close circle of friends and enjoys woodworking. That salacious twit that we see on the news every night is only a figment of someone's imagination. He is only giving the people what they want. Pretty funny, right?
God help us all.