Autopsy of a Failed Joke

I really liked this joke Trump tweet I created especially for Thanksgiving …

trump-tweet-turkeyI felt it was one of my best satirical pieces. I proudly posted it to this blog, linked to Facebook, sent it out via email to some non-social media friends and family, and then sat back and waited for the kudos to come pouring in. Instead, I spent time explaining, backtracking, and apologizing. What went wrong?

Well first, just a little less than half of ‘Murica will not like this “joke.” You know who you are. You are sitting there in your MAGA hat and cammo boxers, enjoying a pinch between your cheek and gums, while deciding how to display the Confederate flag on your clothing today. You don’t like that I poke fun at Trump. You want me to “give Trump a chance.” The only chance I would like to give Trump is the chance to survive a fall from the top of Trump Tower.

However, for my target audience of Trump-loathers, I thought this fake Trump tweet was spot on. Here’s what I really liked about it:

  • The first “sentence” was actually a sentence fragment. Very Trumpish.
  • I threw in a Trump trademarked “Sad!”
  • It misidentifies Turkey as a city rather than a country. Very possible/probable  with Trump.
  • It targets Muslims. ‘Nuff said there.
  • It panders to alleged patriots which thoroughly encompasses Trump’s campaign strategy.

The bottom line is that I really liked it and eagerly awaited the congratulatory bouquets. Rather than bouquets, I received nothing but brickbats.

Disaster struck first on Facebook. Outrage was the initial reaction, followed by anger. I was forced to revise my Facebook post to clearly identify that the post was satire which kind of defeats the purpose of a supposedly wickedly clever satirical post. Then the email outrage followed shortly thereafter. I lobbed back explanatory emails at the outraged. Further emails followed to explain how I made the tweet look so realistic. Have they not heard of Photoshop? I don’t even use Photoshop. I use Microsoft Paint, which is like using crayons to create the Mona Lisa.

What went wrong? I refuse to believe that my joke Trump tweet was not clever, funny or satirical. I don’t blame myself or my team of highly compensated joke writers. I don’t blame the outraged readers of the joke. Many are highly educated with advanced degrees. I blame Trump. Trump got himself elected by portraying a character that could be described as the resulting spawn of a ménage à trois between Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Captain America, sans muscles and honor. He has become so much of a living caricature of patriotic pandering that anything ridiculous is now possible.


Yes, even that Bill. Nothing can be discounted anymore. Trump has rendered the humorous device known as satire virtually impossible for me to employ anymore to amuse my fan(s). The following topics are untouchable these days with subtle satire:

  • Internment camps? Yes, quite possible.
  • Giant wall across Mexico? Yes, promised.
  • National registry for Muslims? Yes, being considered.

What can I do? Where do I go from here? Maybe I shelve the satire and try a different humorous device.

Insults? Trump is so dumb he wants to build a wall across Mexico. Nope, that definitely won’t work. That got him 103% of the vote in Montana.

Observational humor? What’s the deal with Trump’s hair? Nope, everyone has already asked that?

Slapstick? Maybe a well-placed banana peel at a press conference? That still may be too subtle. How about a pie in the face? I’m warming to that idea. No, not you? C’mon, let me try. All that I’m saying is give pies a chance.




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