Political Satire in Late Night TV
By Tommaso DiBlasi 09/19/2017
When President Trump took office, Eric Drysdale began questioning whether or not he could keep writing political satire. Then he won an Emmy.
Drysdale was recognized for his work on Samantha Bee’s “Not the White House Correspondents Dinner” for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series.
The comedian has won over 10 primetime Emmys, but winning the award in 2017 was different. He was working with a diverse group of comedy writers in the Trump era. Some believe the TBS special was one of late night television’s biggest attempts to undermine President Donald Trump. Drysdale spoke to WEBN about his experience writing for Samantha Bee’s show after the past Election Day.
“It’s not easy for comedians. I really had been in a daze since the surprise of the Trump Election and in the rewrite room I said, ‘Jokes don’t write themselves, Jews write jokes, and we’re scared.’ It was the first time that I smiled or laughed since it happened. I think it was the only joke I got on the show that night, but there was a 20 hour period where I thought maybe I wasn’t going to do the job anymore, but that laugh kind of gave me the life and what I needed to carry on,” he said.
When Drysdale spoke about his award-winning Variety Special, he candidly expressed his frustrations, and gratitude towards journalists. He said, “I’m really glad that people think a comedy show can keep the press accountable. When we can approach something in a super silly way it is always a great relief.”
All of the proceeds from the “Not the White House Correspondents Dinner” went to the Committee to Protect Journalists in an attempt to support the protectors of the freedom of the press on the same night as the actual White House Correspondents Dinner. Even though “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” has taken a strong stance against President Trump, Drysdale says that the show’s sole goal is to make people laugh.
He said, “The only thing we can do is call attention to the things that we are passionate about – concerned about – that we also find funny, and make people feel that they are not alone.”