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I’m With Stupid – February 17, 2017

by Todd Hartley

At the urging of my mother, who responded to last week’s column with, “I liked it better when you were less political and more funny,” I’m going to try to avoid talking about politics this week, and I will try to be funnier. That could be hard, though, because A) I can’t get any funnier, and B) right now, politics is what’s funny.

Oh, I know I should be concerned and all that. I know I’m supposed to be worried about the direction our country is headed and blah, blah, blah, but I just can’t help but find all of this a little hysterical. Maybe I’m laughing to keep from crying, or maybe I’ve gone off the deep end, but this stuff is really funny to me.

Every day, as I click on the link to Facebook, my exact thought is: “Let’s see what all my idiot friends are outraged about today,” and when I really need a laugh I go to the Fox News website to read the latest blather from Sean Hannity and the amazingly stupid comments his fans leave in response. I mean, that’s comedy right there.

Everyone seems to be getting how funny Kellyanne Conway and her “alternative facts” are (the video of Anderson Cooper laughing uncontrollably at Conway during an interview has been watched on YouTube 2.4 million times in three weeks), and thanks to Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy on “SNL” we’re all reaping the full comedic benefits of Donald Trump and Sean Spicer, but there’s so much more to it than just the Orange One and his two main mouthpieces.

I mean, if I were casting a dark comedy about some sort of Orwellian future and I needed someone to play a creepy, Hitler Youth, lickspittle underling, I could search the world over and never find someone better for the role than that Stephen Miller guy. He’s perfect. I can’t wait to see his head explode one day as he throws a conniption on live TV. You know that’s going to happen, too.

Steve Bannon reminds me of the zombie-esque Solomon Grundy from the old “Super Friends” cartoon, and I get a chuckle every time I think of him living in a swamp. Mitch McConnell couldn’t look more like a turtle if he had a shell and flippers. I love the vapid way Betsy “Grizzly Bear” DeVos smiles when she doesn’t understand what’s being said to her. I still giggle at the name Reince Priebus, and I don’t even know why. Everything about Vladimir Putin is funny.

What’s even funnier, though, is that some of you just read that last sentence and immediately launched into a pre-programmed inner monologue of, “How dare you say that about a dictator who kills puppies,” or whatever Putin did to piss people off this time. The predictability of the outrage from both sides about every little thing only adds to the humor.

And the scandals? Come on. Who could have dreamed this all up? If you tried to pitch a movie about the Russians rigging a U.S. election, it’d get rejected for being too cliche-riddled. And the very idea that “fake news” is a scandal — that it’s faking out so many imbeciles it’s affecting political tides — is downright laughable. Have we all really gotten so stupid that we fall for everything we read?

I know I seem a little jaded and sarcastic, and I know I didn’t even come close to avoiding talking about politics like I said I was going to do (sorry, Mom), but I think it’s important, in this era of uncertainty and upheaval, to keep a sense of humor about things. If we don’t find a way to laugh about this stuff, we could all go insane — if we haven’t already.

I’m not saying anyone should stop fighting for what they believe in and just accept things, and I’m not saying there isn’t legitimate cause for concern. I’m just saying don’t get so blinded by outrage that you can’t recognize the inherent funniness in so much of what’s going on right now.

So take a break from the fuming every now and then. Go ahead and laugh at Trump’s hair. Go ahead and laugh at Conway’s … well, go ahead and laugh at Conway. Revel in the fact that Trump’s reign is more scandal-ridden in its first month than most presidents’ are in two full terms. Soak up the silliness. It doesn’t make you a bad person; it only makes you a worse one.

Don’t worry, Todd Hartley’s probably even worse than you.

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