Is the absurdity of Donald Trump’s presidency killing satire? Or is he the comedy gift that keeps on giving? At first, Trump’s election seemed to have ushered in a new golden age of political comedy, from Alec Baldwin’s golden-wigged caricature in a newly resurgent Saturday Night Live to the righteous ridicule of Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert. But while we like to believe in the power of satire to challenge our leaders, Trump seems completely immune to ridicule.
He is subject to some of the most ferocious mockery in history, depicted every day as an idiotic charlatan with tiny hands, and yet remains relatively unscathed. Some have argued that the outlandishness of his administration has rendered satire redundant — how can you make fun of something already this ridiculous? Meanwhile here in the UK, our politics seem so bizarrely chaotic and dysfunctional that reality often seems to merge with parody. Our historic major political parties are led by Corbyn and Johnson — two figures who appall much of the public. How could any satirist dream up this mess?
So has satire lost its power in this new world of fake news and ‘alternative facts’ – when our leaders lie so blatantly and frequently, and still manage to get away with it? Or is humour a more important tool than ever to hold those in power to account? To unpack these questions, Intelligence Squared is bringing together some of the nation’s top names in comedy and politics — Armando Iannucci, Jess Phillips and Samira Ahmed. Join us on Tuesday 18th February, hear the arguments and laugh through your tears.
Speakers are subject to change.