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PopPolitics: Why Late Night Is Thriving in the Trump Era (Listen)

Variety logo Variety 2/21/2017 Ted Johnson
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In the first two weeks of Donald Trump’s administration, four late-night talk shows told 195 jokes about the new president, exceeding even the level of humor about him during the campaign.

Robert Lichter, the director of the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, tells Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM that “it doesn’t seem to hurt anybody’s ratings to be at war with Trump, and I suspect that in the entertainment industry now and in the L.A. area in general it is kind of a badge of honor if you are on the Trump enemy list.”

In short, he says, “They have nothing to gain from going soft on Trump.”

The Center for Media and Public Affairs’ figures are of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” and “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah.”

Colbert’s ratings in particular have gotten a boost in the first week of Trump’s presidency, as he has been beating “The Tonight Show” in total viewers and closing the gap in the 18-49 age group.

During the campaign, he said, Trump was the target of an average of 40 jokes per week by the late-night hosts; now he’s nearly at 100 quips.

“He is overshadowing every other political target,” he says.

He said that Trump is a contrast to President Barack Obama, who was less easy to craft humor around.

“In a way, this is professionally what all these comedians have been waiting for — when they have a target, they are not afraid to go after that target,” he says.

Listen below:

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Listen below:

“PopPolitics,” hosted by Ted Johnson, airs Thursdays from 2-3 p.m. ET/11-noon PT on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS. It also is available on demand.

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