The 2016 presidential election has gone so off script for acceptable behavior — by nominees, campaign staff, citizens, and media alike — sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s real. Part of me still expects, even hopes, for a Truman Show-like reveal: just kidding, they’ll say, this is a big satire of the American political process, a reality show take-over, a long-running, extremely elaborate gag. We all signed disclaimers with our 2015 tax returns.
While it was fun to watch Hillary on Between Two Ferns and scary to re-watch The Apprentice, you might find yourself needing a little breather after tonight’s presidential debate. If you want some old fashioned, light-hearted comedy that takes jabs at the political process without also taking a jab at your heart, then check out these shows, from a scheming high school student body president to a right-wing conspiracy theorist slash detective on the hunt for Obama’s roots in Kenya.
VEEP is proof that Washington D.C. is a comedic goldmine. (House of Cards also makes me laugh, but I don’t think that’s intentional.) Cap South was written by DCers about a group of ambitious young professionals who run the office of a fictional congresswoman, Gracie Todd Englewright. It’s garnered praise for capturing realistic, small details about life in our nation’s capitol, but you don’t have to be a political insider to appreciate the humor.
Oh America. The fact that these stories are fake but could often be real says more about the state of the country than the most sincere commentary from network pundits. As a longtime fan, it’s fun to get The Onion in a new format.
This satirical show is like Election for the Wizards of Waverly Place generation, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s the story of a crazy-ambitious student body president and his scheming chief of staff as they attempt to run their high school. The jokes riff on pop culture with a sprinkling of oldie- but goodie- teenager cliches.
If you’ve ever felt like laughing in the face of conspiracy theorists, you’ll have to move to Kentucky. But you can also watch this show, the story of Donald John, “private investigator and Obama’s worst nightmare” as he goes on a personal quest to Kenya to prove that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States. This funny 6-part series is the work of Osa Oyamendan, a Nigerian-born, Hollywood-based filmmaker, and gets bonus points for being filmed mostly on location in Nairobi.
Bassem Youssef was a heart surgeon in Egypt when the Arab Spring unfolded in 2011. Political events (and Jon Stewart) inspired him to start a comedy show called “Al Bernameg,” or “The Program.” It quickly became one of the most-watched shows in the Middle East, boasting about 30 million viewers each week. Youssef ended the show and moved to the US over safety concerns — suffice to say the government was not a fan of his political comedy — but luckily Fusion has picked up Youssef and given him this new series where he brings a funny outsider’s eye to American culture.
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