If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at? Certainly not the president-elect.
While most Democrats and a number of Republicans (even some who voted for him) are wary of Donald Trump for a number of reasons, including his coziness with Russia, mocking of a disabled reporter, etc., my gripe is a bit different.
As someone who started his career writing for Rodney Dangerfield, a man who made a living joking about the lack of respect he got, I’ve always been suspicious of those who can’t laugh at themselves.
A great example of someone who can’t take a joke or any criticism is Russian President Vladimir Putin. When the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot tried to make a satirical video titled “Putin Will Teach You to Love the Motherland,” some band members said the Cossack militia beat them with whips.
That type of behavior is foreign to us. Going back to Mark Twain, satire is as American as apple pie. Whether in politics or friendships, the ability to take a joke means something, and being thin-skinned is frowned upon.
“Saturday Night Live” has been mocking our presidents for decades, and most have been good sports about it.
Chevy Chase made a name for himself playing President Gerald Ford as a total klutz, doing clumsy pratfalls in a more extreme satire than Alec Baldwin’s impression of Trump.
But in a recent “SNL” sketch about Trump’s impulsive tweeting, our president-elect instantly tweeted, “Unwatchable! Totally bad! Not funny!” Irony, anyone?
Trump actually can be humorous, which helped his campaign. Unfortunately, that sense of humor doesn’t seem to extend to himself. So here’s some unsolicited advice: People soon tire of those who seem like they can give it, but can’t take it.
Mr. President-elect, after you mocked President Barack Obama and both Clintons, not to mention GOP primary opponents, including Rick Perry (“he puts on glasses so people will think he’s smart”) and Mitt Romney (a “choker” who “walks like a penguin”), you should know that’s part of the deal. You “don’t get no respect?” Welcome to the club!
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.