Conan O’Brien appeared Kara Swisher’s New York Magazine podcast (via Insider) and criticized Donald Trump for hurting comedy. The former late night host joked, “I’m really going on a limb here saying: That’s his greatest crime, that I think he’s hurt political comedy by being so outlandish himself. I think the January 6 thing is a blip compared to how much he’s hurt comedy.”
Jokes aside, O’Brien noted that “when Trump came along, what a lot of people have to revert to is: ‘Doesn’t he suck? I hate that guy. He’s an asshole.’ And those aren’t jokes.”
O’Brien compared trying to make jokes about Trump to trying to parody The National Enquirer.
“If you go and buy a real National Enquirer, it says, ‘Elvis sighted in UFO; he has tentacles for arms. Ghost baby turns into vampire and attacks Michael Jackson’s ghost,’” O’Brien said. “There’s no way to parody that. You can’t parody something that already has that crazy, irregular shape. It’s not possible.”
Back in 2019, O’Brien told Rolling Stone that “Trump’s superpower is constantly believing in the infallibility of Trump.” He added: “Humility is a weakness to him. Having performed two different White House Correspondents’ Dinners and seen Clinton and Obama sit there and laugh at themselves, I don’t think Trump can do that. Look at how Dana Carvey was able to lampoon George H.W. Bush and then George H.W. Bush invited him to the White House and they became friends. That was someone who was comfortable enough in his own skin to be mocked.”
“Growing up, you always put the president up on a pedestal,” he added at the time. “The minute the president is someone that you know, you think, ‘That guy can’t be president. I know that guy. I saw that guy steal towels at the gym. He can’t be president.’ That’s the feeling I think a lot of us have [about Trump.]”
Listen to O’Brien’s recent appearance on Kara Swisher’s New York Magazine podcast here.