Finally, something egomaniacal President Donald Trump made happen for which he will not take credit.
When Emmy nominations were announced today, the comedy performers, comedians and late night hosts who have done the most hilarious, hard-hitting, sometimes savage comedy about the current President came out on top of the list – while those like Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, who has been seen as soft on Trump, were left off the list.
Leading the list of this year’s coveted Primetime Emmy nominees is NBC’s Saturday Night Live, with 22 nods, including Outstanding Variety Talk Show, after winning some of the highest ratings in its 42-year history by doing show after show with high profile politically-charged skits that relentlessly ridiculed Trump and company.
Making the biggest splash on SNL was Alec Baldwin, nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, for his over the top portrayal of Trump which became a national obsession.
The respected show business industry site Deadline Hollywood declared today that, “Baldwin’s Trump became the gold standard by which other Trump impersonations were judged.”
Gold Derby, which has an excellent record predicting who will win major Hollywood awards, has made Baldwin a heavy favorite to win the Emmy.
“He’s been such a water-cooler sensation on SNL that we were predicting him to win as of the morning of the nominations,” writes Gold Derby.
Why won’t Trump be congratulating SNL and Baldwin? Consider this tweet, one of several blasting the long-running late night comedy show and Baldwin for playing POTUS to great comic effect:
Just tried watching Saturday Night Live – unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can't get any worse. Sad
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2016
Joining Baldwin at the top of the Emmy leader board is Melissa McCarthy, nominated for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, for her gender-bending comic brilliance as Trump’s aggressively bumbling press secretary Sean “Spicey” Spicer.
McCarthy’s portrayal was even credited for a changing of the guard in the White House press room:
“Her performance so rattled the White House,” reports Deadline Hollywood, “it began to pull Spicer from his role as question-taker at press briefings with Sarah Huckabee Sanders often filling in. Then, the White House went even further and began to not televise the briefings, lest SNL cast someone in the Sanders role.”
Another SNL performers who scored a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy series was the versatile Kate McKinnon, who at times played both Hillary Clinton and Trump’s wind-up doll spokesperson Kellyanne Conway.
While SNL’s triumph was big news elsewhere, Fox News barely mentioned the show or Baldwin in a brief round-up of Emmy nominations today.
Another show can thank Trump for providing so much fodder for humor. After a slow start in 2014, Stephen Colbert’s Late Show on CBS has gone all out mocking Trump. As a result, Colbert’s show has come from the back of the pack to win high ratings in late night, and now a trio of long-anticipated Emmy nominations.
Colbert, who is going to be the host of the Primetime Emmy Awards telecast on CBS on September 17, also got three nominations for his election night special on Showtime, Stephen Colbert’s Live Election Night Democracy’s Series Finale: Who’s Going To Clean Up This Shit?
Another comic who has gotten a major Trump bump is Samantha Bee, whose show Full Frontal on TBS got a writing nomination, and her special Not The White House Correspondents Dinner got four Emmy nods, including Best Variety Special.
Other comedians who are nominees in the Best Variety Special who have become major Trump critics are Real Time With Bill Maher, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show failed to earn an Emmy nomination for the first time since it premiered in 2014. Fallon was knocked for his softball interviews with Trump, especially one two months before the 2016 election where he touched the Republican candidate’s strange fluffy orange hair.
“Fallon has been accused of going soft on Trump,” wrote Gold Derby, explaining why he didn’t make the Emmy list this year.
Fallon has tried lately to be tougher on Trump, but it seems to be too little too late for an audience hungry to hear someone joke about the on-going nightmare in the White House and his latest outrageous moves.
Some late night shows that bash Trump like The Daily Show with Trevor Noah did not get nominated this year – but have also seen rating improvements since they got serious about making fun of the president.
“The late-night talk shows have all been feeling the Trump effect since the former Celebrity Apprentice host was elected president on Nov. 8, 2016,” reports The Hollywood Reporter today. “And now the Emmys are feeling the Trump bump too.”
Trump recently said he is too busy to watch TV anymore, although he apparently is a regular viewer of his friends on Fox News, and from his reactions is sneaking in an occasional look at his nemesis, CNN.
So we are going to guess he will tune in at least for the opening monolog on the Emmys to see how Colbert brings his Trump-bashing comedy stylings to the second most important awards show (after the Oscars).
Based on the ratings boost The Late Show has gotten, and all the nominations, Colbert could also be the first major network late night host to win an Emmy for Best Variety Show since David Letterman did it more than a dozen years ago.
Since then the Emmys have mostly gone to stars on Comedy Central – most notably The Daily Show when Jon Stewart was cracking the jokes. Since then many Daily Show regulars like Colbert and Bee have moved elsewhere.
There should be plenty for Trump to grump-tweet about on September 17th, and lots of laughs for the rest of us to offset the horrors in policy, legislation, scandals and lack of positive leadership that has made Trump the least liked American president – and most likely to be the target of comics – since Will Rogers took on President Coolidge.
Then as now, politics lent itself to a comic treatment when the president was out of tune with most voters, for a reason Rogers certainly understood:
“If you ever injected truth into politics,” said Rogers, “you have no politics.”