“TRUMPOCALYPSE: THE MINISERIES” Casting Office

U.S. Vice-President Biden smiles as he speaks with Croatian PM Milanovic in Zagreb

Back at the early days of the Trump madness — in the middle of his term — back when we thought our world had gone pretty much as bonkers as it could get, I wrote a post called “Trumpocalypse: The Movie”.  I smile now at my charming naivete — to think that the Trump madness could be contained within one measly feature film.  Re-thinkiing “Trumpocalypse” as a mini-series also threatens to be too small a vehicle to contain the “Trumpocalypse” story  but the thing about a mini series is it has an end point.  After the last episode, it’s done.  If we do this right, there should be no more — no sequels, no spin offs, nothing.  Whereas, if we made “Trumpocalypse” an on-going series with no end date in sight… You see what I mean?  We NEED this show to be finite because this can’t be our only show.  There’s great stuff – important stuff — on other channels that we need to get to and quickly.

Not only has the “Trumpocalypse” mini series got way more storylines in it, it’s got way more characters.  How do we organize our casting process so that, when we get to “the day”, we have not only a great cast but a great cast that will complement each other?  

I’d like to start by casting first the Trump family.  Then those immediately around it — the “inner circle” if you will.  Then, I would begin to cast the mini-series — going chronologically — major story by major story.  As this is going to be an ongoing project that’s changing on the fly, I’ve no doubt some stories will demand to be cast in the right here, right now.  Hey — welcome to life in a casting office!  Things change all the time.  Actors drop out and new characters and whole storylines suddenly get added.  If ya can’t stand the heat…

So, without any further ado, please welcome to our Casting Office! You’ll see where I’ve left the casting door open for everyone else to bring their suggestions and their casting notes…

CHARACTER

DONALD J. TRUMP

ALEC BALDWIN as Trump…

NOTES: Baldwin’s is probably the most familiar Trump. It’s an excellent caricature. And, considering that Trump IS a caricature of a human. playing Trump as a caricature makes a certain kind of sense. I wonder if there’s not a way to “multiple-cast” Trump since he worked in so many different ways on our psyche. Just a thought for later discussion…

BRENDAN GLEASON as Trump…

NOTES: Gleeson played Trump in “The Comey Rule” on Showtime.

WOODY HARRELSON as Trump

NOTES: I’ve always liked Woody Harrelson’s “interior” range. It’s amazing and we’re going to need an actor with incredible emotional range to play a character with VIRTUALLY NONE.  It’s like getting an actor to sing off key.  The ones who can actually sing will automatically do it better.  They even know where off-key is.

IVANKA TRUMP

SCARLET JOHANSSON as Ivanka Trump

NOTES: There’s a kind of irony in an actress great at playing Black Widow to play the part of a woman who acts like an actual black widow spider.

AMANDA SEYFRIED as Ivanka

NOTES: Some things just seem so natural…

DONALD TRUMP, JR

MIKEY DAY as Donald Trump, Jr

NOTES: Presently, the actor who’s gotten closest to nailing Don Jr’s unctuousness is an actor satirizing him. That’s probably not a coincidence. Still — we need some competition here. I’ll put my mind to it if you will…

ERIC TRUMP

Alex Moffat as Eric Trump

NOTES: As with Mikey Day’s Junior, SNL’s version of Eric — and I love Alex Moffat’s Eric — stands for the moment as “the” Eric. Competition’s good for everyone — Trump’s included.

MELANIA TRUMP

CASTING OPEN!

Awaiting Picture, so here’s the real Melania — in the one photo I can find of her smiling like she means it. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Melania’s smiling this way at Putin. Not cos Melania respects international relationships but because she worked the whole damned time as Donald’s handler on Vlad’s behalf. Hey, how do you say “I don’t care, do you?” in Russian?

VLADIMIR PUTIN

MADS MIKKELSON as Vladimir Putin

NOTES: Mads played the Bond Villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royale. By all accounts, Vlad Putin is the Bond Villain America fully deserves.

RUDY GIULIANI

KATE McKINNON as Rudy Giuliani

NOTES: Personally, I’m not sure a human can play the entirely humanoid Rudy but my mind’s open. Kate McKinnon can do anything. I bet she could do a fully deep dive into Rudy and actually pull off an amazing, lifelike (without being cartoonish) characterization. But still — for the moment, the part’s wide open.

MORE CHARACTERS TO COME!!!!!

When Is A Joke Not A Joke But, Rather, A Threat? When The Person Making The Joke Has Literally NO Sense Of Humor

Stone cold fact: not everyone has a sense of humor. That doesn’t that those without one don’t laugh — they do; but people without a sense of humor always laugh AT others and never WITH them like the bullies they tend to be. The bottom line prerequisite for having a sense of humor — without this ability, a sense of humor isn’t possible — is the ability to laugh at oneself. If one cannot see oneself as the butt of the ultimate cosmic joke — life — it means you hold yourself above the fray. Your sense of self is so fragile that the most minor challenge can send your confidence plunging precipitously. In a sense, when you laugh at yourself, you tell others “Wait a minute, if you want to make a joke at my expense, let me show you how to really do it!”

The classical literary character Cyrano De Bergerac is a gifted swordsman and an even more gifted wit. His one problem is his very large nose. Down deep, it does bother him — his nose. He fears it makes him unworthy of love. But that doesn’t mean he won’t point at it himself and explain exactly why it makes him unworthy. In one of the story’s many great moments, Cyrano — whose nose has just been insulted by a young soldier (“Your nose sir,” the Soldier says, thinking he’s being brutally clever, “Is rather large!”) — demonstrates for the Young Soldier all the better, funnier insults about Cyrano’s nose that he could have gone with instead. It’s a tour de force moment for the character and a tour de force moment for what it means to have a sense of humor.

It really is as simple as this: if you have no sense of humor (like Donald Trump), you cannot joke. Literally — you can say you were joking about something — you can even sound like you might have been joking but all of that is kabuki. But, the truth is, you have zero idea how to joke about anything and thus you weren’t.

Donald Trump fears that if anyone laughs at him for the least little thing, they’ll laugh at him for all the big things too. And there’s a lot of big stuff in Trump’s life that everyone could easily laugh at.

Good Trumpanista Kevin McCarthy also bears the mark of the humorless. Weak, little beta creature Kevin said at a fundraising event the other day that, should the GOP not be in prison en masse and were they to take back the House and Kevin got to be Speaker himself, Kevin said, “I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel. It will be hard not to hit her with it!” Now, in fairness to Kevin, his hard core conservative audience (in Nashville) did guffaw at the thought. But whether or not you’re joking has zero to do with how an audience takes the joke — or even if they get it at all. Joking is all about intent. Whether the joke at the tip of your tongue was pre-written or improvised right there on the spot, whether you stick it like a dagger or toss it off like a cold-blooded aside, all jokes get told. None of them, really, ever tell themselves.

But, if you can’t tell a joke — because you can’t joke — because you have no sense of humor — then anything you say that you try to dismiss as “joking”? You’re lying on top of it all. You have no capacity to read a room and judge whether or not your bit of cleverness will play in it. The thing that’s about to thud from your mouth isn’t clever at all — even if you pronounce the words like you were clever. That’s mimicry. The substance of what you’re about to say is pure bullying. In the case of Kevin McCarthy, it was a very real, very viable physical threat.

The onus here isn’t on Kevin (or Donald) to be the arbiters of whether or not they were joking. The same goes for whether or not they’re racists. No one gets to say whether or not THEY themselves are racist. How the hell would we know? We’re too close to the subject. Too invested. That’s why it’s always up to the racist’s victims to decide whether or not the racist is racist. Donald or Kevin saying they’re joking is equally dubious. How could they possibly know?

Think of all the times right wingers have tried to put together their own comedy show (their version of SNL or The Daily Show or John Oliver) and come up empty. Oh, sure — they can fill the time just fine. But, not a whit of it’s ever witty. Not a drop is ever funny to anyone who isn’t a card-carrying bully.

No, the onus (as always) is on our news media. And they will most assuredly fail us because they can’t un-convince themselves that both sides do it. That’s why every single news outlet who covered the story went with Kevin McCarthy’s telling (“McCarthy joked about. hitting the current Speaker“) instead of the more accurate “Kevin McCarthy THREATENED the Speaker Of The House”. Since Kevin can’t joke, the joke wasn’t a joke. That means we should take it in the spirit in which it was spoken — as a criminal act.

Laughing At Other People Isn’t The Same As “Having A Sense Of Humor” — Take Donald Trump, For Instance…

It’s bad enough our News Media can’t figure out that Donald Trump is a traitor. They can’t figure out whether or not Trump is really being “sarcastic” either?

Yeesh!

This is not up for debate: Donald Trump has literally zero sense of humor. He can’t laugh at himself. He can’t “be” sarcastic because he can’t see irony. He can’t see irony because, in order to see irony, you must FIRST be able to laugh at yourself. And that is something Trump is physically incapable of.

Ever watch Donald Trump’s SNL appearances? I haven’t seen his 2004 appearance as host (those were the “lost days” of SNL to me but then, I was there for the original Not Ready For Prime Time Players) but I’m a Howard Stern listener so, I know Trump’s schtick.

His 2015 appearance was part of his 2016 campaign run. That means we get the full Donald. He’s being himself with purpose. He’s selling, selling, selling Donald Trump. But, as hard as he’s selling, the one thing he can’t sell — there’s none in the warehouse and never has been — is a sense of humor. Watch. Trump can read jokes about himself off a teleprompter but he doesn’t “tell them” as jokes about him. He doesn’t “step inside” the joke to “make it” about himself. The jokes — to judge by his reading — are about some guy named Donald Trump who’s laughable but who bears no resemblance to the Donald Trump who’s reading these lines off the teleprompter.

It’s a study in narcissism dressed up in a clown costume except the narcissist keeps telling himself it’s a tux. Trump knows there’s something comedic going on. He knows a lot of the laughter is associated with him. And, as much as he wants a piece of the action, he can’t quite figure it out. He can get laughs but he can never rely on it. He blames other people for that. Experience has told him that other cruel people — or people uncomfortable with his cruelty but not uncomfortable enough to stop him — will laugh at what he says and does. So, Donald capers and performs for them

Donald Trump making with the jokes isn’t even remotely funny. What he is is cruel. That’s what bullies think of as humor — cruelty. When other people laugh at their cruelty (because they, too, are cruel or bullies), it emboldens the bully to continue being cruel. Until everyone stops laughing, the bully will continue. He doesn’t need the whole house laughing with him, he needs just one other person to feel vindicated and validated. Hearing laughter, the MSM assumes (since “both sides do it”) that all laughter is the same.

Problem is, it’s not. Derisive laughter (laughing AT someone) sounds one way. Joyful laughter sounds another. A person laughing AT others may sound like a person laughing WITH others but it’s completely different. Trump can’t laugh with others because he has no idea how to. But laugh AT others? He’s already there.

The word we’re looking for is “cruelty”. Donald Trump laughs at other people regularly because he’s cruel. His attempts at sarcasm aren’t sarcasm; they’re cruelty aspiring to sarcasm and nothing more.

The more telling video of Donald Trump’s “comedic nature” comes from the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner when Barack Obama (quite famously now) roasted Donald Trump on a spit and reduced him to charred bits. Blubber burns, ya know.

Plenty of people have speculated that this was the night Trump decided to run for POTUS. Not so. By then, Trump had fancied himself POTUS for years already and (turns out) Russia had been grooming him (using him to launder Russian mob money through his Atlantic City casinos). If Trump started planning anything that night, it was personal retribution.

That was the night Trump decided (if his Russian pal could pull it off) that he would dismantle everything Obama did — for entirely personal reasons.

At least the last laugh will be on Donald. One way or another, Trump will not get away with this. The election is fast becoming a blow-out in the making. Trump’s politically-motivated response to the coronavirus pandemic has sealed his fate. The news is never going to be good for Trump now. Even a cure or a vaccine will arrive despite Trump and not because of him.

Worst case scenario (for We The People) — Trump, regardless of what he thinks or says, cannot live forever. He will die. And, judging by his diet and health — even a natural death will hurt. But that’s not really what makes Trump’s death comedic. It’s the fact that Trump has built a snake pit around himself. Which of the snakes will be head snake when Trump is gone?

Ivanka? I bet she assumes it’s her. And maybe Junior and Eric let that go on — at first. But, does anyone really think either of their wives really think it should be Ivanka at the head of the table while their “men” sit to the sides? Lady MacBeth lives — and she has an equally evil twin.

Outside the Trump bubble, does anyone think a Trump not named Donald will hold the same sway and power over the Republican Party? Surely you jest!

The instant Trump shuffles off this mortal coil — or even gets too sick to handle his own day-to-day criminality — the sharks will all go for each other.

Now THAT will be funny.

What You Laugh At (And Who With) Defines You

The new SNL season premiered last night — and aside from Kanye West’s strange performances (culminating in his MAGA-hat-wearing finale number) was, start to finish, terrific.  Here in my house, we laughed a lot.

We were laughing, in part, cathartically.  We needed to laugh as a way to release the incredible tension.  But the laughter wasn’t completely therapeutic.    It was angry, too.  There were notes of righteous indignation and bitterness — because we live in a time when the Truth is being flat out ignored.

We live during a soft coup d’etat. During Cyber War while a hostile foreign power dominates us because one of our two political parties has been completely compromised by them.

There’s a lot to be angry and bitter about. And one way we ‘deal’ with that is through laughter.  It’s a coping mechanism.  But laughter also is a way that a culture defines itself, its boundaries, its quirks, its contradictions and idiosyncrasies.  We laugh at our hypocrisy and sanctimony.  We laugh, in a way, to self-critique.

Well, some of us do.

Others laugh as a way to belittle.  Their laughter doesn’t ever sound joyful or delighted.  It always has dark, threatening notes to it.

Perhaps it’s because of what exactly those people are laughing at.  For one thing — it’s never themselves that they’re laughing at.  That’s a tell.

People incapable of laughing at themselves are people without an actual sense of humor.  Not all laughter is caused by things that are funny.

If you think about last night’s SNL — and why it was so funny to so many people — it’s because it was aiming squarely at things we all know are TRUE.  It’s the way they attacked the Truth that made us all laugh.  TRUTH lies at the core of comedy.

(Often) painful Truth.

But a person laughing at, say, another person’s physical disability or handicap — isn’t laughing so much at a ‘truth’ as at the person with the disability or handicap; they’re not laughing at how unfair the universe is, they’re laughing at the fact that this person has this problem — and they don’t.  They’re laughing AT ‘the other’ — a person ‘unlike’ them for whatever reason.

When a group of people — with no sense of humor — begin laughing at ‘the other’ you get mobs.  You get fascists.  You get Nazi Germany.  You get white supremacists.  You get Donald Trump.

Want to know who’s who & what’s what in America today?  Look at who was laughing at SNL last night.  Who was laughing with it.

And who wasn’t laughing at all…

Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump Holds Election Night Event In New York City
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 08: People cheer as voting results for Iowa come in at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown on November 8, 2016 in New York City. Americans today will choose between Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as they go to the polls to vote for the next president of the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)