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Please, just make it stop

Published Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 8:25 AM EDT
Apr 26 2018

For the past 15 months, the monologues of late night television comedians has been full of almost nothing but jokes about Trump and his administration.

An argument can be made for this situation. As Saul Alinsky said, "Humor is essential to a successful tactician, for the most potent weapons known to mankind are satire and ridicule."

But those weapons are not especially effective against Trump. He's been the object of satire and ridicule for the past three decades, and he seems to thrive on it. Even those who voted for him grudgingly acknowledge he's a bozo.

Also, the jokes are just too easy. The punchlines for Trump's public statements are obvious, like mittens pinned to the sleeves of a child's jacket.

Stephen Colbert, the most prolific Trump basher, now has the highest ratings of any late night show. I attribute this to his audience's revenge fantasies. In the late late night category, Seth Meyers has dominated with routines that are funny but emphasize the seriousness and absurdity of our country's situation. Consider:

Politcal satire is nothing new. Its modern form pioneer was Mort Sahl, whom television host Steve Allen said was "the only real political philosopher we have in modern comedy." His social satire performances broke new ground in live entertainment, as a stand-up comic talking about the real world of politics in the 1950s and 1960s was considered "revolutionary." Instead of obvious, rapid-fire cheap shots, Sahl's routines were thoughtful, which made the satire even more biting:

I suspect many are like me: victims of "Trump fatigue."

Please. Mueller, Congress, somebody... just make it stop. This isn't funny anymore.


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Categories: Donald Trump, Mort Sahl, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, Steve Allen


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Quotes of the day: Steve Allen

Published Friday, December 26, 2014 @ 6:36 AM EST
Dec 26 2014

Stephen Valentine Patrick William "Steve" Allen (December 26, 1921 – October 30, 2000) was an American television personality, musician, composer, actor, comedian, and writer. Though he got his start in radio, Allen is best known for his television career. He first gained national attention as a guest host on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. He graduated to become the first host of The Tonight Show, where he was instrumental in innovating the concept of the television talk show. Thereafter, he hosted numerous game and variety shows, including The Steve Allen Show, I've Got a Secret, and The New Steve Allen Show, and was a regular panel member on CBS' What's My Line? Allen was a credible pianist and a prolific composer, having penned over 14,000 songs, one of which was recorded by Perry Como and Margaret Whiting, others by Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Les Brown, and Gloria Lynne. Allen won a Grammy award in 1963 for best jazz composition, with his song The Gravy Waltz. Allen wrote more than 50 books, has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a Hollywood theater named in his honor. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Asthma doesn't seem to bother me any more unless I'm around cigars or dogs. The thing that would bother me most would be a dog smoking a cigar.

God is by definition the holder of all possible knowledge, it would be impossible for him to have faith in anything. Faith, then, is built upon ignorance and hope.

Humor is a social lubricant that helps us get over some of the bad spots.

I do not understand those who take little or no interest in the subject of religion. If religion embodies a truth, it is certainly the most important truth of human existence. If it is largely error, then it is one of monumentally tragic proportions- and should be vigorously opposed.

I used to be a heavy gambler. But now I just make mental bets. That's how I lost my mind.

Ideas have consequences, and totally erroneous ideas are likely to have destructive consequences.

If God exists, his unlimited power can certainly redress imbalances in the scale of human justice. But if there is no God, then it is up to man to be as moral as he can.

If the Old Testament were a reliable guide in the matter of capital punishment, half the people in the United States would have to be killed tomorrow.

If there is a God, the phrase that must disgust him is- holy war.

If you pray for rain long enough, it eventually does fall. If you pray for floodwaters to abate, they eventually do. The same happens in the absence of prayers.

In a rational society we would want our presidents to be teachers. In our actual society we insist they be cheerleaders.

Is it bigger than a breadbox?

It is not hardness of heart or evil passions that drive certain individuals to atheism, but rather a scrupulous intellectual honesty.

No actual tyrant known to history has ever been guilty of one- hundredth of the crimes, massacres, and other atrocities attributed to the Deity in the Bible.

Old men miss many dogs.

One of the nice things about problems is that a good many of them do not exist except in our imaginations.

One social evil for which the New Testament is clearly in part responsible is anti-Semitism.

Ours is a government of checks and balances. The Mafia and crooked businessmen make out checks, and the politicians and other compromised officials improve their bank balances.

Religious believers of the world, you are free to continue to debate the simple, narrow question that divides you from atheists, but you have no right, in so doing, to treat the Humanists of the world with contempt. You owe them a deep debt of gratitude, for not only have they shed much light on a naturally dark world but they have very probably helped civilize your own specific religion.

The Bible has been interpreted to justify such evil practices as, for example, slavery, the slaughter of prisoners of war, the sadistic murders of women believed to be witches, capital punishment for hundreds of offenses, polygamy, and cruelty to animals. It has been used to encourage belief in the grossest superstition and to discourage the free teaching of scientific truths. We must never forget that both good and evil flow from the Bible. It is therefore not above criticism.

There are hundreds of millions who believe the Messiah has come. If he did, then it is unfortunately the case that his heroic sacrifice and death have had no effect whatsoever on the very problem his coming might have been expected to address, for history demonstrates, beyond question, that we Christians have been just as dangerous, singly and en masse, as non-Christians.

To those who wish to punish others- or at least to see them punished, if the avengers are too cowardly to take matters in to their own hands- the belief in a fiery, hideous hell appears to be a great source of comfort.

Totalitarianism is patriotism institutionalized.

We are entitled to make almost any reasonable assumption, but should resist making conclusions until evidence requires that we do so.

Without laughter life on our planet would be intolerable. So important is laughter to us that humanity highly rewards members of one of the most unusual professions on earth, those who make a living by inducing laughter in others. This is very strange if you stop to think of it: that otherwise sane and responsible citizens should devote their professional energies to causing others to make sharp, explosive barking-like exhalations.

"I want to give you the bad news first- this program is going to go on forever."
-Steve Allen on the first episode of "Tonight" (later, "The Tonight Show"), September 27, 1954.


(December 26 is also the birthday of Henry Miller )

Categories: Quotes of the day, Steve Allen, The Tonight Show, YouTube


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