Sitting at his writer’s desk, tapping his quill against his graying temple, frustrated political satirist John Oliver realized last night that there was no more satirical material left on the 2016 presidential election. “It’s the worst case of writer’s block I’ve ever had,” said Oliver. “The ideas…they’re all gone. The Drumpf bit was alright, but it was the last drop of oil in the tank.”
Sources confirm that Oliver isn’t the only satirist out of material. Despite his best efforts, The New Yorker humorist Andy Borowitz is at a loss as well. His attempts at political wit, including his less-than-inspired headlines—“Trump’s Debate Performance: A Toooootal Disaster” and “Gary Johnson Forgets His Wife’s Name in Bed”—have fallen flatter than a gluten-free pancake. “Not that I’ve ever been particularly funny,” confessed Borowitz, “but these are lean years indeed.”
Theories explaining the sudden lampoon swoon abound. Some experts surmise the media is to blame, citing the persistent and, one has to assume, unintentional use of irony in political broadcasts. “When Fox and Friends and PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton provide more lols than a Saturday Night Live sketch, you know you’re in trouble,” mused SNL producer Lorne Michaels. “We’re barely getting by on fart jokes and…Leslie Jones. Yeah, we’re screwed.”
Others suspect that the current political climate is unspoofable. A caricature of itself, the 2016 election season has become political parody, its own greatest cultural critic. How else can you explain this hilarious assortment of faces?
Others yet pin the rapid derailing of political ridicule on foreigners, claiming that domestic funnymen are being displaced by the hilarious material coming out of Al Jazeera and the BBC. Cultural critics Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart have both called on government to block access to international web humour. “We’re going to build a firewall,” promised Stewart. “And the foreign press is going to pay for it.”
Whatever the reason for this farcical freefall, it’s clear that times are tough for political comedy. Writers are losing work left and right, and comedians are threatening to form a new and utterly sad-clownish underclass in American society. In a state of emergency, perhaps the government can provide a jobs program for the newly unemployed humorists. A transition to political speechwriting wouldn’t be too far off.