Kellyanne Conway Does Stand-Up in a 1998 Tape, and Yes, It’s as Bad as You Think

Politics Features Kellyanne Conway
Kellyanne Conway Does Stand-Up in a 1998 Tape, and Yes, It’s as Bad as You Think

Holy cow.

Below is a live blog of my very first impression of the video, with intermittent pauses to Google 95% of her jokes in order to figure out who the hell she’s talking about. A lot of this is very inside-D.C. stuff, so it’s tough to hit her too hard for how bad this is, considering the only people who really get her jokes are in that room. The only consistent laughs she elicits have to do with Bill Clinton, which in 1998, were as easy as a Donald Trump jokes are in 2017. That said, it was empirically bad. She was laughing at every turn, and blowing up her set like she was sent from the future to warn us about Jimmy Fallon.

0:26 – Ralph Hello article? Rawel Fellow article? Her opening joke is so inside-the-beltway that you need to learn a new language just to know what she’s referencing.

0:40 – “What happened to your leg? I’m like well everyone heard I was going to be in this comedy show, and they’re like ‘break a leg’…so I did.”

Oh no, corny Leno jokes with an awkward “blondes are dumb” punctuation to open with? I’m guessing the average age in the crowd is 62, and the male to female ratio is 60-1.

1:10 – Susan Estrich, Jennifer Lazlo, Chris Matthews, Jerry Nadler. It’s like going through the credits of a terrible 90’s sitcom.

1:52 – This video is why I googled “Fred Thompson foot fetish.” Just want to point that out for whomever has to clear my browser history after I die.

2:28 – Kellyanne lands another blow, as it’s 1998 and any joke tangentially connected to Monica Lewinsky induces a cocaine-like high in the brains of D.C. Republicans. A lone “woo!” from the back confirms that Conway is not the only woman at this gig, making this the 2nd-most diverse Republican gathering that day in Washington—only behind wherever Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell happened to be.

2:50 – Saying “Norm Ornstein” doesn’t sound like the name of someone who would be funny sounded like the setup for a bad Jew joke at first, then she called him a baby, and now I am just very very very confused.

3:09 – “I’m what they call a ‘Pundette.’”

Oh no.

3:14 – “What’s the definition of a Pundette?” “A lightweight lightweight.”

*covers eyes*

3:29 – “It’s someone who goes on TV constantly and just says the same thing over and over and over and over again…but never wears the same outfit twice.”

*turns into seething rage-monster*

4:00 – She then pulls out a semi-automatic filled with Pundette jokes that either come off as sexist or outright implies that everything “Pundette’s” do is complete and total horseshit. Right as I was ready to punch a hole through my computer, she defused the situation with a pretty good “Ally McBeal is on a major network but female commentators aren’t” slam.

4:48 – She dismisses media polling by comparing it to a “small Jewish wedding on Long Island.” She’s all over the place, so I’m going to chalk her running up against some sexist and bigoted guardrails up to nervousness and the D.C. bubble. For now. Lotta time left.

5:19 – A cross burning joke about bailing MSNBC viewers! This may be the first time I’ve ever seen a Republican admit on camera that some of their support comes from Nazis.

5:54 – A Larry King ex-wife joke! Those are so played out that it couldn’t even muster a single chuckle in 1998. Conway is like Usain Bolt trying to sprint away from that delivery into the next line.

6:12 – She compares dating in Washington to studying for the bar, which might be the biggest moment of clarity in this whole clown car of sadness.

6:38 – I’m not going to do lawyer jokes, so here’s a lawyer joke!

7:17 – “Your Honor, please don’t make us live with mommy cause she beats us.”


7:30 – “Your Honor, we can’t live with daddy because daddy beats us. So the judge says ‘done. Go live with the Redskins because they don’t beat anybody.’”

Washington D.C. everybody. I’m all in favor of pushing the boundaries of comedy to make a point, but a child beating/over-told sports joke doesn’t really seem worth it to me. But hey, what do I know—I’m no Pundette.

8:12 – Al Gore isn’t edgy! George W. Bush was forced upon us! Some things are timeless.

8:45 – “I’m going to end with a song tonight.”

You’re what now?


10:04 – Bill Clinton non-jokes. Something about pundit blues. I think I’m having an aneurysm.

10:12 – “Only guy in my life is…Chris Matthews.”

Well this just got dark.

10:33 – “Lead story now is Saddam Hussein. [high pitched voice] ‘and I dunno nuthin’ about that! But they’ll still invite me to chat! As long as I’m blonde and I’m not too fat!’”

I…I mean, what…what is happening? What is this?

10:58 – So what Conway got out of the Starr report is that Bill Clinton’s sex life is better than hers. This is veering towards a therapy session. She needs to wrap it up ASAP.

11:24 – “No reason to sob, I’m different from the other Pundettes. I have a day job.”

You think Kellyanne Conway is watching this video today and wondering if she would be better off abandoning that day job? I doubt she’d have lasted last long as a comic, but at least she wouldn’t have spearheaded the campaign to end Western Civilization.

Jacob Weindling is Paste’s business and media editor, as well as a staff writer for politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.

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