Remember when Trump turned what was supposed to be a press conference in the Rose Garden into a de facto campaign rally? Okay, yes, that sounds like something that’s probably happened like a thousand times by now—this dude would turn his mom’s eulogy into a stump speech—but the one I’m talking about was just a couple of days ago. It got a lot of attention at the time. It sucked. Of course.
That rambling, embarrassing, perfectly Trumpian display is the entry point for Seth Meyer’s latest Closer Look. The Late Night host, looking as exhausted and bedraggled (well, at least spiritually) as somebody living in the era of Trump and COVID should, serves up another sharp, sarcastic summary of the latest indignities forced upon this country by its destructive leadership, and hey, it might make you laugh a little bit.
Here’s sort of the key quote:
It is impossible to watch what is unfolding right now under this administration and avoid the conclusion that America is in free fall.
Okay, so I know that stuff like late night political comedy is ultimately pointless. Historically its greatest value is as momentary catharsis—a brief blip of relief that somebody on TV is actually acknowledging how corrupt and unconscionable things can be. Jon Stewart made a whole career out of that, and years later he still gets to make movies that look like they came out when Jon Stewart was still young and cool. I’m not saying this to praise Meyers or elevate him above Late Night’s previous hosts, but solely to demonstrate how much that job has changed in the last few years: try to imagine David Letterman or Conan O’Brien having to make a serious comment about how our country is literally falling apart in-between telling jokes at their desks. And yet that’s basically now a fundamental part of hosting a dumb, ephemeral, entertainment-based talk show in 2020. You can’t do that job without having to acknowledge how terrible everything is, so you might as well dive all the way in and make it the whole focus of your monologue every night, as Meyers does.