Intelligence Squared debate: Is Trump bad for comedy?

Donald Trump
President Trump greets members of the five branches of the military by video conference on Christmas Day, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018, in the Oval Office of the White House.
Jacquelyn Martin | AP

For our New Year's Eve broadcast, four humorists, satirists and performers debate this motion: "Is Trump bad for comedy?"

You'll hear political satirist P.J. O'Rourke, standup comedian Sara Schaefer, writer Kurt Andersen and Emmy Award-winning Billy Kimball.

The debate moderator is John Donvan.

DEBATE MOTION: "Trump is bad for comedy."

For the motion: P. J. O'Rourke, political satirist & best-selling author.

"I want to get honest with you: The real reason that I think Trump is bad for comedy is he's keeping me from making fun of you liberals."

Against the motion:

Kurt Andersen, host, "Studio 360" and best-selling author, "Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire."

"He is not bad for comedy because it's so easy to get under his skin. He gives comedy the power to unsettle him. And, comedy at his expense really does upset him, which strikes me as good for comedy and America."

For the motion:

Sara Schaefer, critically acclaimed stand-up comedian, writer and producer.

"I'm in a situation now where I've actually had to ask people to escort me to my car after shows every time I perform on the road, just in case. That's not good for comedy. To be actually afraid for your life is not good for comedy."

Against the motion:

Billy Kimball, writer and Emmy Award-winning supervising producer, "Veep."

"I would argue that Donald Trump, whether or not you think he's funny, uses comedy, particularly ridicule, very effectively. And so, in that sense, he's good for comedy."

Click the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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