Republican presidential candidates
demand the right to the same public
air time NBC gave another clown
It seems like an increasing number of Republican presidential candidates are now suffering from a pathological case of Trump Envy.
They are whining out of the mouths of their press agent that they want all the attention that Trump has received. Well, not the attention that he received everywhere. Just the attention he received when he was a guest on Saturday Night Live.
Or so we must believe if we read Variety, increasingly the newspaper of record concerning the orgy of showbiz and political miscegenation that characterizes the general Republican ethos these days. Well, the New York Times has also covered this, but the rest of the press? Hah! Anyway, back to the story:
As you may remember, Donald Trump appeared for twelve minutes and five seconds on Saturday Night Live l recently. Since Trump can be charitably regarded as an entertainer, although not really as either a politician or a serious presidential candidate, his appearance, for all of those twelve minutes and five seconds, made a kind of sense. He's a clown. The SNL cast clowned around with him.
But now some of Trump's rivals in the Republican clown car are demanding their own twelve minutes and five seconds of fame, too. That’s less than the 15 minutes of fame the late Andy Warhol said everybody would eventually enjoy. But it’s exactly, down to the last second, what the law says they’re entitled to.
Pause here to mention the five attention-hungry whiners. They’re George Pataki, John Kasich, Lindsay Graham, Mike Huckabee and Jim Gilmore. Jim Who? Well he’s on the ballot somewhere-or-other, so he’s entitled to twelve minutes and five seconds, too.
See under FCC rules…well, let Nick Cosanti of the New York Times explain it.
Federal Communications Commission regulations state that other candidates for president are entitled to “equal time” on the network when a broadcast event isn’t a “bona fide newscast,” “bona fide news interview,” “bona fide news documentarty” or “on-the-spot coverage of bona fide news events.
By law, NBC is not required to give [the candidates] exactly the same treatment as that received by Mr. Trump, meaning that there will probably not be a Mike Huckabee-hosted “S.N.L.” anytime in the neat future. The network is just required to give equal time for the candidates to reach a relatively equal audience.”
So Pataki the forgotten governor, Kasich the other governor, Mike the Huck, Lindsay the G, and Whatsisname may be negotiating a deal for free advertising time on various affiliate stations. The pressure is on NBC and its affiliates, but not on Saturday Night Live, which caused this headache for the people who broadcast their show.
Seems to me the broadcasters are passing up a huge opportunity here, the 21st Century equivalent of locking malefactors in the public stocks in the town square and letting people throw eggs at them.
The broadcasters should lean on SNL to put each on of these clowns on their show for exactly twelve minutes and five seconds. This would deliver just about precisely the same audience, in exactly the same time slot, which gets the fairness issue out of the way.
As a comedy show, SNL was able to dictate to Donald Trump exactly what it would or would not allow on its show. (Trump was free to accept or decline.) SNL should do the same with The Five Clowns. In fact, I like that concept.
For example, each of the whining Republicans could be required to wear a clown suit while appearing on the show. Costumes would be chosen by the producers of Saturday Night Live. And the skits?
Well, I think Mike the Huck should judge a wet T-shirt contest, during which some shapely women and Mike would be wetted down with hoses while the women dance. Mike would be entitled to preach about abortion and same sex marriage while the hoses are on him and the wet dancers are gyrating. Maybe we could get a few gay dancers in there, too.
Pataki’s clown suit act should include a dunce cap. He should be made to write on a blackboard 100 times, “I will not have the unmitigated gall to run for President again.”
Lindsay the G should be fitted with an elaborate Pinocchio nose, which grows longer as he recites his litany of complaints against President Obama.
John Kasich should be required to repeat his not-quite-famous lame “joke” about abolishing teachers lounges, while members of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers throw cow pies at him.
And Whatsisname could explain who he is.
What if the candidates refuse to accept? Well, they were offered equal time, to do comedy on the same program. The obligations of NBC, and for that matter of SNL will be discharged.
But I do hope SNL makes the offer. And I can’t wait to see who accepts and what the show looks like.