What Went Right With… The President Show?

What Went Right With... The President Show? A review of the political satire by What Went Wrong Or Right With...?

‘The President Show’ is a new satirical comedy show created by and starring Anthony Atamanuik lampooning the current President Of The United States Donald Trump. Taking the form of a late night chat show presented by the 45th President himself, Atamanuik does a fantastic impression of Trump, whom the entire show revolves around. ‘The President Show’ parodies late-night talk shows very well, referencing the chat show format with an Andy Richter-style sidekick (Vice President Mike Pence played by Peter Grosz). The show also sports monologues, desk and video segments, and a trip to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in the second half for the interview portion of the show. From the first scene of the first episode with Trump declaring “I’m the president and I’m also the show!”, the programme is hilarious, three episodes in and I’m hooked.

Of course mocking Donald Trump is contemporary television’s go-to subject matter these days but the majority of the jokes directed at him sound hackneyed and unimaginative. ‘The President Show’ is a different thing entirely, this is a programme that’s 100% dedicated to satirising the president and it does this very well, it doesn’t pretend to be anything else so it’s a truer and more veracious show. This is a genuine slice of satire, political satire done right, you know exactly what you’re getting before you even tune in, and when you do you’re never disappointed. ‘The President Show’ is not hollow or insincere like other late night programming which let’s face it, would be taking cheap shots at Hillary Clinton if the outcome of the election was different.

When someone like Jimmy Fallon jests about Donald Trump in his opening monologue, it’s a quick and forgettable impression with an obvious punchline, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers’ jokes sound very safe and slightly limp for my tastes. And let’s not forget that when Fallon actually had the chance to meet and interview Trump he chummed up with him, the only thing I remember him doing was ruffle his hair rather than ruffle his feathers. ‘The President Show’ is a different beast, this feels much more genuine and focussed, this is unashamedly anti-Trump without any wishy-washy, wavering opinion.

‘The President Show’ reminds me of the faultless and relevant comedy characters of yesteryear, comedy characters such as Dennis Pennis or Shirley Ghostman which were created for one purpose, to ridicule a particular person or group of people. This show is also a noteworthy creation in the same vein as Paul Kaye and Marc Wootton’s work due to the well crafted and nuanced impression of Trump by Anthony Atamanuik. This is different to other throwaway impersonations because time and effort has been put into mocking every inch of Donald Trump’s persona; his voice, his mannerisms, his posture, his facial expressions, his opinions, and of course his “Trumpisms”. Even the set and costume are carefully thought out, from the small details like his flag lapel pin being worn upside down, the Russian dolls on the desk behind him (the desk which contains only photos of Trump showing his narcissism) everything is meticulously crafted.

The first episode kicked off with a great gag about F.D.R. (or as Trump called him “Franklin Eleanor Roosevelt”) showing Donald’s ignorance and uninformed knowledge of history. Trump introduced his co-presenter Vice President Mike Pence as “America’s answer to white rice with no salt” which was an accurate description (although I’ll point out that Grosz’ impression is not in any way close to looking or sounding like the real Pence). The “Lap Of Luxury/Trump’s New York” segment which was also part of the first episode was superb, with Trump having problems with sidewalks and his truck rant veering off the topic straight into mental illness.

Each episode ends with the President’s “Farewell address” and in the first episode which focussed on his campaign slogan “America First” this address was just brilliant; “I’ve ruined everything I’ve ever touched; companies, cities, marriages, toilets. I will use this office to enrich myself and my weirdo family…. I have the power to destroy any country on earth but I promise you it will be America First”.

The second and third episodes showed that the writers (Anthony Atamaniuk, Peter Grosz, Jason Ross, John Gemberling, Mitra Jouhari, Christine Nangle, Rae Sanni, Evan Waite, Neil Casey, and Emmy Blotnick) could deal with recent news. They incorporated relatively new stories like the Obamacare Repeal Act and the firing of James Comey and made them comical (although in some ways everything Trump does is already comical albeit serious). The second episode concerning healthcare contained some sharp wit and even some word play with Atamanuik saying “I said you’re gonna get sick of winning, and now that we’re winning you’re definitely gonna get sick”.

The best part of the show of course in Atamaniuk’s impression of Donald Trump, which is far superior than others out there, much better than Alec Baldwin and the aforementioned Jimmy Fallon. Even my favourite Funny Or Die film ‘Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie’ starring Johnny Depp which I thought was very amusing, comes second place to this TV gem. It’s safe to say that the success of the show is largely due to Anthony Atamanuik.

The first episode of the show was almost flawless, the second and third not as much (the Andrew Jackson hallucination wasn’t that great) but the series has a sense of unwavering consistency. Granted I’ve only watched three episodes but so far it’s a brilliant piece of satire and it’s shaping up to be one of the funniest comedy shows on television right now. ‘The President Show’ is better than most other things showing on Comedy Central UK these days, with the schedule containing re-runs of ‘Live At The Apollo’ and ‘Lip Sync Battle’, this is the only reason to watch the channel these days. Tune in every Saturday at 11pm in the UK to watch (Thursdays at 11:30pm EST in the US), you won’t be disappointed. If you can, you should watch the first episode on demand, it sets the tone for the show and is the best episode so far.

With all the hilarity and relevance of ‘The President Show’, I don’t understand the low ratings on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes (58% and 56% respectively) maybe the MAGA crowd are down-voting the show, who knows? With another four or potentially eight years of Donald Trump’s presidency, the jokes about him, his administration, and his policies aren’t going away any time soon, so that being the case, this show could potentially run for the entire length of his term (or terms) as president. With such an odious moron in the White House, you have to look on the bright side of things, just like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher led to some uproarious comedy during the 80s, the current president and leader of the “free” world is at least inspiring comedians to write and create shows like this. I guess the one good thing about Donald Trump is that he’s…

Making American Comedy Great Again.

Writing: 6/10

Impression: 9/10

Overall: 7/10

1 reply »

  1. After the third episode, The President Show has become slightly less enjoyable and a little too formulaic. The last few shows have not been as funny as the first few episodes, therefore I have revised the “Writing” rating, changing it to 6/10 from 7/10. It’s still a decent show but the first episode was by far the most entertaining.

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