And are you ready to stop watching that show, assuming you watch it in the first place?
Remember when Sean Spicer showed up at the Emmys in 2017? The professional liar became a living meme as Trump’s press secretary early in his presidency, pretty much because he was terrible at a very terrible job. Spicer was an amazingly bad liar for somebody whose entire job depended on lying, but he still approached it with gusto, swerving between contempt for the press and outright belligerence depending on the situation. He was a Trumpian ghoul who jumped ship early and then somehow landed a huge ironic applause break at the Emmys several weeks later. Dude sucked, and the Emmys sucked even more for booking him.
That set a precedent, though. It doesn’t matter how much late-night shows or SNL or The Daily Show or the plethora of other Resistance-era comedy shows that deal in political jokes lambasted Trump and his self-serving underlings: they were still totally cool to bring them on for a laugh once they left the administration. Their punishment for lying on behalf of a bigoted and incompetent president was to damage control their reputation by seeming cool and with-it enough to make fun of themselves.
The news came down late today that Spicer’s current successor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is resigning from her post. Her tenure as press secretary was notable for both the White House’s reluctance to hold actual press briefings—they’ve essentially become a thing of the past over the last couple of years—and for her brazen lies and attacks on the press on behalf of Trump. Sanders is not somebody who needs to be rehabilitated by the media. She needs to be ignored and forgotten about, disappeared from public life due to her work on Trump’s behalf, and remembered solely for her role as one of Trump’s chief in-house propagandists as a warning against letting this kind of presidency happen again. She absolutely shouldn’t be telling us what night it is on an SNL cold open, or taking a selfie with Jimmy Kimmel during an interview.
Even if the plan is to hit her with a true hard-nosed interview, as somebody like Seth Meyers or Trevor Noah might attempt to do, it’s still a weird disconnect to have a partisan hack and liar appear in the same context as the star of a new movie or sitcom. It still legitimizes her in a way she doesn’t deserve, while also playing into the right-wing’s grievance narrative of a biased entertainment industry always out to attack them.
There are simply no upsides to any show booking Sarah Sanders, and yet it’s impossible to think she won’t soon wind up on a familiar TV stage, ready to poke the slightest bit of fun at herself while still sticking up for Trump, and all in hopes of a clip that helps that show win the biggest share of the viral video attention space the next morning. That’s validation and support that she doesn’t deserve and that no show should be willing to provide her with.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Daniel Fienberg put it best on Twitter earlier today:
Don’t be that show. If you do, you deserve to lose your audience.