Per Variety, Sean Spicer will be a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! next week. To be clear, that’s Sean Spicer, former White House Press Secretary, noted liar and gum-chewer, spokesman for white nationalism and hider-in-the-bushes. This is the guy who, when Jimmy Kimmel went viral mere months ago with a heartfelt speech against the ACA repeal, responded that President Trump is on Kimmel’s side:
At the risk of, uh, stating the obvious, Sean Spicer is a bad guy. He’s done bad shit that hurt good people. He’d be doing worse shit right now if he hadn’t quit over a chain-of-command issue. But he did, and he has an agent now, and he wants to hang with the cool kids again.
The cool kids should not hang with Sean Spicer; the cool kids do not have to hang with Sean Spicer. The cool kids would be just as cool—perhaps even cooler!—if they threw Sean Spicer to the wolves. But the cool kids, sure as God wears sandals, are going to hang with Sean Spicer and then they’re going to hang with every piece of shit that follows him out of the White House. To the cool kids, Sean Spicer and his ilk are cool kids too.
Is this all just a game to the rich and famous? This is all just a game to the rich and famous. Talk shows celebrate celebrity and Sean Spicer is a celebrity. Perhaps he would not be such a celebrity had Saturday Night Live not invited a celebrity to play him—to turn him into a TV character—but here we are. Ten bucks says Kimmel asks about the SNL impression and they share a big ol’ laugh before reading some mean tweets. Twenty bucks says Spicer is on SNL before December. This is the safest bet you can make because when it happens I will die immediately of a stroke, and you can take as much of my money as you wish.
Sadly it is the job of a TV show to get watched, just as it is the job of a headline to get clicked. This particular programming decision is one in a long string of reminders that politics matters to most late night hosts only insofar as it will get viewers to tune in. Anthony Scaramucci did it for Stephen Colbert, Glenn Beck did it for Samantha Bee, Tomi Lahren did it for Trevor Noah and Donald Trump did it for Jimmy Fallon, which apparently nobody but Seth Meyers remembers anymore. Have you seen The President Show’s Anthony Atamanuik desperately currying favor from the likes of Scaramucci and Roger Stone? It is a thing to behold:
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
Kimmel’s guests this week are actors, comedians and musicians. If he cared about the issues that affect people, he could easily interview, say, a DACA recipient or a community organizer or Heather Heyer’s mother or Colin Kaepernick. No, it’s not his job to change the world, but he has immense power to create more empathy within it—his monologue about his son is proof of that. I wish he would use that power more often, but I’ll settle for a viral video every six months or so.
The least Kimmel can do, however, is the thing he does every night but next Wednesday, which is extremely fucking simple: not put Sean Spicer in the goddamn spotlight.
Seth Simons is Paste’s assistant comedy editor. Follow him on Twitter.