Political Humor

Trump in the spotlight. His statement about McCain: “He was a hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Trump’s problems were
– that he let his feud with McCain get the best of him,
– that he was trying too hard to be funny,
– that he was speaking before thinking,
– that he was ignoring the fact that when you get shot down, it’s less a case of wrong-place at the wrong-time, and it’s more a case of having volunteered to be in a place of danger.
– that he shot himself in the foot, which does not make him a hero.

Advice to politicians:
– Think before you speak.
– Don’t be a humor terrorist. Bombing will get you nowhere.
– Avoid the humor penalty box. Issuing an apology one hour later is not good politics.
– When you’re rich and famous, your opponents will be waiting in line to attack you.
– The harder you try to be funny, the less funny you’ll be. That’s a rule of the improv stage.
– Unless you have the gift of instantaneous humor, plan your spontaneous humor remarks in advance, written by a staff of humor experts more talented than you. Late-night talk-show hosts don’t wing it when giving their monologues. They are among the most talented humor experts in the country, and they rely on a team of professional writers to make them look good.
– Look for opportunities to poke fun at yoursself. Self-deprecating humor rarely needs an apology. Reagan had a reputation for good humor. Many of his memorable lines were self-deprecating. In a debate with Mondale he made fun of his age: “I will not make age an issue in this campaign. I will not exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” When he was shot, his words to Nancy at the hotpital were: “Honey I fogot to duck.” Jokingly taking responsibility for getting hit. And to the doctors: “I hope you are all Republicans.” One of the most powerful leaders in the world, joking that the doctors had the power.
– Winging it may be fun and exciting, but it’s probably not the path to the White House.