I have always found the ‘truth’ to emanate from two groups of people: stand-up comedians and Islamic scholars. People like Bill Hicks and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf have in their own ways shown me the light in many moments of darkness. Another comedian I have been following closely for a few years now is Bill Maher.
Maher is arguably America’s foremost political satirist. He is on the front line on the “laughtivism” movement that sprang up ever since Trump hit the political scene. Aside from being quoted in many of my blog posts, Maher is a devout atheist who has made numerous comments about Islam over the decades. Some comments I agree with tentatively, some not at all, and some wholeheartedly. Here’s an example of one of the more tentative ones:
I’m not fond of any religions, but if this were the 14th century when the Catholic Inquisition was going on and they were burning witches, I would be criticizing Christianity as the religion that was way too violent and took itself way too seriously. But this is not the 14th century, and it’s not the 16th century when Catholics and Protestants were slaughtering each other the same way Sunnis and Shiites are now. It’s the 21st century, and in the 21st century, the problem is more about Islam than it is about any other religion. – Bill Maher, from an interview with Newsweek
Harsh but somewhat fair. More recently Maher delivered a 5 minute monologue that really resonated with me. The central refrain was a simple heartfelt request: please fall in love with knowledge again. As soon as I heard this alarm bells started ringing in my mind. Here’s why.
You need not look too carefully to know there is craziness on both sides of the ideological spectrum. On the Muslim side we still have groups like Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Shabab, the Taliban, and the rest. We also have bombs going off in Iraq, Egypt, and Pakistan. We still have Muslims killing Muslims in Syria and Yemen. We have many a warrior scholar such as the late Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki making comments such as:
The West will eventually turn against its Muslim citizens! – Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki
And we also have recent events such as the awful Rotherham court case I mentioned in a previous blog. An even earlier blog asks for us Muslims to take an honest look at the bogeyman in the mirror as many of our problems are self-generated, many of our wounds are self-inflicted.
To see the craziness on the other side of the aisle, just watch the constant stream of nerve shredding breaking news on CNN, or have a look at websites like alternet.org and salon.com. There you will see talk of Muslim travel bans, Russian hacks, and warrior advisor Steve Bannon’s attempt to instigate a holy war. You can add to this list the recent comments concerning The Madness Of King Donald. Despite the apparent differences between the two sides, they actually have more in common than you may realise:
You’d think, given the harsh anti-Muslim Trump administration in Washington, that the Arab kings and dictators would be lining up to condemn the ruthless sectarian laws being drawn up by an American President who approves of torture. All that claptrap about “bad dudes” and “Islamic terror”. Pretty sinister stuff. Not a bit of it…If Trump toured those Arab dictatorships not currently at war, he’d feel very much at home. Great security, fantastic police, lots of torture, extremely dodgy elections and massive economic projects which damage the environment but prove absolutely useless. – Robert Fisk
Whilst we cannot do much to alleviate the craziness on the other side, we Muslims surely can do something to tone down the craziness on our own side. I firmly believe that one of the many things we Muslims can do in that endeavour, indeed must do, is to fall in love with knowledge again, specifically the knowledge of the Qur’an and knowledge of the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Why is it important for Muslims to fall in love with knowledge again? The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to make the following supplication to God:
O Allah! Show us truth as truth and give us the ability to follow it, and show us falsehood as falsehood and give us the ability to avoid it. – the Prophet Muhammad
If someone of the stature of the Prophet, the Islamic ideal of the perfect human, is asking for God’s help in trying to sift the facts from the alternative facts, then surely people like myself need even more help, especially in the current environment. Today, more than ever in our lives, we Muslims need to make sure we see truth as truth and falsehood as falsehood. We need to know our own truth because the more we know and understand our own truth, the better we can handle their ever increasing lies. We need to stop moving away from the true nature of Islam, our else it will only get worse for us:
We were a disgraceful people and Allah honoured us with Islam, so if we seek honour from other than Islam, then Allah will humiliate us. – Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab, 2nd Caliph of Islam
And, as is being pointed out more and more, the ‘truth’ coming from the other side is getting stranger and stranger, a strangeness that seems to be suggesting there is a holy war a-coming, something that Bill Maher himself mentioned recently (remember, he is an atheist):
The counterweight to radical Islam is secularism. In Steve Bannon’s world, it’s Christianity. He’s super Christy on this stuff…And know that the counterweight should be secularism. It shouldn’t be that they want to make this a battle between the two religions who, by the way, have been going at each for over a thousand years. This does go back to the crusades. I mean, it ebbed and flowed in history, but that’s the one thing we do not want. And of course it’s the dumbest thing, Trump’s going to do it. – Bill Maher, interview with CNN’s Van Jones, Feb 2017
Anyways, I leave you with more wise words from Bill Maher. Apologies for the somewhat rude and risqué comments, but the overall point still remains. As always, enjoy!
New rule. With Valentine’s Day coming up everyone must take a minute and remember their first love. I shall remember mine. I went off to college at 18 and I fell hard. Not for a girl, that would have been my first choice, but I was a slow developer socially. You know those letters that college guys send to Penthouse magazine? It begins “I never thought this would happen to me.” Yeah, well that never happened to me. But I did fall. I did fall in love. With books. And ideas. And knowledge. And also my hand, that’s true.
But there is no doubt that it is a truly a kind of love affair when you go off to a place where you have intellectual epiphanies because learning is so revered, and the celebrities are the smartest people. I might not have been able to get a blowjob in college but I got my mind blown on a regular basis.
But you know that was another country. One of the saddest things about the one we live in now is we don’t seem to want smart people in our lives anymore. Smart presidents? Can’t have that. Scientists? What do they know? Newspaper editors? Liars! Fake news!
You know, people used to get their news from newspapers, because professional newsrooms took separating fact from fiction seriously, and employed people who had studied how to do that. But now people get their news on Facebook by sharing, or as it used to be called, ‘hearsay.’ Instead of all the news that’s fit to print you click on a link from your cousin Jodie who runs the tilt-a-whirl.
Why waste money on that subscription to a newspaper when they would just blow it on war correspondents? Gone are the Ben Bradlee’s of the world who brought a president to his knees way before Monica Lewinsky did. A student in a social media focus group once said “If the news is important it will find me.” Except it doesn’t and that’s how we wound up with President Bannon and his dummy Donnie. It’s not surprising that it can’t find you since on social media news competes with videos of Russian car crashes, creepy clowns, and a rabbi doing the mannequin challenge.
And you know how they say you can’t make this shit up? Turns out you can. By Election Day last year the top fake news on Facebook was getting more shares, clicks, and comments than the real news. Millions of people believed some straight-up bullshit that the Pope had endorsed Trump, when in fact after Trump won what the Pope said was “I’m praying for his enlightenment.” To which God said: I’ve done a lot of miracles but give Me a fucking break.
We used to respect scientists. That’s why every stoner in the seventies had a poster of Einstein on the wall, right next to one of the naked black chick with huge Afro. But now only thirty-six percent of Americans say they have a lot of trust that information from scientists is reliable. Well ninety-eight percent of scientists say humans evolved over the millennia but that view is shared by not nearly as many real Americans. Trump supporters don’t think species can change over time. But they do think Trump used to be all about himself but now he’s working for us.
This Valentine’s day can we please fall in love with knowledge again? You know, under President Obama the Secretary of Energy was first a Nobel Prize winner and then a nuclear physicist. Not that Trump’s pick for the job doesn’t have impressive credentials. [Plays clip of Rick Perry dancing on the TV show Dancing With The Stars]. How did it happen? We went from being led by the smartest person in the room to the biggest jackass on Twitter. – Bill Maher, Feb 2017, New Rule: Make America Learn Again, from his TV show Real Time With Bill Maher
Look around you. There are literally dozens of reasons why you could so easily be down in the Trumps right now. Now watch the news. CNN is rather good. And there you have dozens more reasons to really be worried about the fate of humanity. Out of all of these here are two reasons as to why I am, like many others, feeling a wee bit pessimistic about current events.
Firstly, I came across this quote from Russell Razzaque that to me perfectly describes the actions of Team Trump:
The most dangerous people are those who cannot locate their demons within themselves and instead see them everywhere they look. – Russell Razzaque
While this sentence is rather disturbing in its own right, the sentence that immediately follows is even scarier:
The frenetic activity we are experiencing from the Trump administration is already feeling to many like a prelude to something altogether more grave. What we are witnessing is a drum beat. – Russell Razzaque
This drum beat is something that the brilliant Frankie Boyle also alludes to in a recent Guardian article:
Trump cares about the same things a member of noughties rap outfit G Unit cares about: women, money and vengeance. Yet, random though it seems, his fight with the judiciary could well be tactical. He will blame them for the next act of terrorism that occurs then declare a state of emergency where everybody has to stay indoors while his tweets are read out over a Tannoy. – Frankie Boyle
For those who cannot hear the drum beat or say there isn’t one, I give you the following succinct point from Ted Rall:
If you’re not scared, you’re not paying attention. – Ted Rall
And this video may help others visualise how I have been feeling ever since the recent presidential election:
Just when I thought I could not negatively overthink things any further, along comes this horrific story. Earlier this month in Rotherham six Muslim men were found guilty and sentenced to a total of 81 years in jail. There offences included rape, indecent assault, and false imprisonment, after the systematic grooming of underage girls. The fact that these men are Muslim is bad enough, but what makes this story exceedingly vile is that two of men shouted ‘Allah-hu-akbar’ as they were being sentenced.
Incidents like this make it obvious to me that those who dislike Islam and wish to denigrate it do not need to lift a finger in their attempts, as clearly we Muslims are doing a damn fine job of it ourselves.
So what to do when faced with such magnitudes of depression? Rather than sit here feeling infuriated, I thought what better way to cheer myself up then to lovingly collate 23 hand-chosen funny and/or clever quotes that will hopefully make you laugh and/or think. As always, enjoy…
Trump’s decision to ban immigrants from seven countries is the most flagrant breach of America’s core values I have witnessed in my lifetime. The foundation on which my country was built is being gleefully shredded by an impetuous, whimsical tyrant. It is in times like these that we Americans need to pull our loved ones close, give them a hug, and remind them that – Trump aside – the US is still a place where people of all faiths, colours and personal beliefs are welcome to acquire a handgun and fire willy-nilly at other persons of faith, colour and personal belief. – Rich Hall, Feb 2017
An Inuit hunter asked the local missionary priest: “If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?” “No, not if you did not know” said the priest. The Inuit asked earnestly “Then why did you tell me?” – Annie Dillard
Colin had his neck brace fitted years ago and since then he’s never looked back. – Alfie Moore
Did you know if you count the number of stars in the universe and compare that to the number of grains of sand on a beach, you can ruin a holiday? – Tom Neenan
Feminism is not a fad. It’s not like Angry Birds. Although it does involve a lot of angry birds. Bad example. – Bridget Christie
Husband: Quick! Call an ambulance, I think I’m having a heart attack…Wife: [takes husbands mobile] Tell me your password…Husband: It’s okay, I’m feeling better now, thanks. – Anon
I asked all of my black and minority ethnic friends if they thought I was racist or not and they both said that I wasn’t. – Bridget Christie
I thought Usain Bolt was amazing. I mean, beating the world record and slowing down at the end. How galling has that got to be for the other athletes? I have never managed to do anything in 9.69 seconds. In fact, it took me 10 seconds just to watch him do that. – Frankie Boyle
I was on tour and I was in Sheffield and I was walking along the main street in Sheffield, Fargate, and I saw two guys holding up big cardboard placards and one of them said, “Would you like to download thousands of films now from Sky?” And the other one said, “Would you like to learn the truth about Islam?” And I thought, “Oh, decisions, decisions.” – Stewart Lee
If the team you’re rooting for fails, it’s all their fault. If they are victorious however, it’s because you screamed loud enough at a TV. – Sam Grittner
If you don’t know what introspection is, you need to take a long, hard look at yourself. – Ian Smith
In the Bible there is only one reference to man-on-man action, and that’s in the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament. One reference in Leviticus. There are 28 references to not eating shell fish. It does give you some perspective on the whole thing. And which one creates the most moral panic? I would say scallops. – Susan Calman
Irish people love Muslims. They have taken a lot of heat off us. Before we were “the terrorists”, but now we’re “the Riverdance people”. – Andrew Maxwell
Jokes about white sugar are rare. Jokes about brown sugar, Demerara. – Olaf Falafel
Last night an insect flew into my kitchen and exploded…it was a jihadi long legs. – Anon
Marriage is really tough because you have to deal with feelings and lawyers. – Richard Pryor
Mariah Carey bombed so hard at her 2016 new year eve’s party that ISIS took credit. – Trevor Noah
My father was a magician. Well, not a magician, he just disappeared a lot when we were younger. – Alex Edelman
My workplace is forcing me to take part in Secret Santa. Jokes on them. Linda from HR is getting a copy of the Quran and a Hijab. – Twitter comment from @Irfan_Aliii
Right now I’m having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I’ve forgotten this before. – Steven Wright
Social media is like a baby screaming and throwing tantrums…which is then soothed by a picture of a cat. – Caitlin Moran
The most famous sectarian thing outside Northern Island are the two football teams in Glasgow. There’s Celtic and they are Catholic, and there’s Rangers and they are Protestant, and they hate each other. And this sectarianism is in America now. The Rangers-Celtic thing is huge in America. It’s massive. There’s the Boston Celtics and the New York Rangers, but they rarely play against each other because one of them is a basketball team and the other is an ice hockey team. Some say it’s too slippery, some say it’s too bouncy. That’s religion for you. – Andrew Maxwell
Andy: I’ll tell you what else makes perfect hard-boiled egg scientific sense John and that is curtailing civil liberties.
John: Right, you’re going to have to explain that.
Andy: Right, OK, now the terrorists hate our freedoms, that’s really all that gets them out of bed in the mornings, so our governments have been bravely removing those freedoms, thereby giving the terrorists less to hate.
John: Oh! Its brilliant…[AUDIENCE CLAPPING]
John: …it’s absolutely brilliant…
John: …thus completely defusing terrorism.
Andy: Touchdown! – John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman, from the stand-up comedy show John Oliver: Terrifying Times
I know, another Trump blog post. I just can’t seem to get this guy out of my system. Every week, every day, he says or does something that just beggars my monotheistic beliefs. It truly is exhausting trying to keep up with the news of what Trump and Team Trump are up to, and he’s only been president for 2 weeks!
One of his more recent absurdities is this travel ban, which officially is not a Muslim ban but certainly feels like one, and it also feels like the start of much worse to come. I have no doubt it will extend to all countries, and it will change from temporary to indefinite to permanent.
Rather than focus on the legion of negatives surrounding this ban and all that it entails, I thought it better to try and find positives to uplift the soul and gladden the heart. In that mind the crumbs presented below will hopefully leave you feeling a wee bit more positive than you perhaps feel now. Or maybe it’s just me because yes, I know I recently did a blog post about positive things, yet here I am again trying to come up with some more, so I reckon this maybe more for my own spiritual sanity than for any other reason.
My sanity started to wane long before Trump said “Islam hates us”. After this he repeatedly mentioned his mantra of “radical Islamic terrorism”. Taken together these two statements mean that Trump thinks all Muslims are radical due to their inherent hatred of all things non-Islamic. He therefore feels justified in stopping Muslims coming to the USA. Once he has stopped Muslims coming in, he will then no doubt deal with the ones already here, and Allah alone knows what he plans in that regard. There is an irony to having this world view, as satirically pointed out by Mark Steel:
The argument the Jihadists make, is the West sees all Muslims as the enemy. So the best possible way to ensure that nonsense gets no support amongst Muslims is to ban everyone from Muslim countries from entering the country, on account of all Muslims being the enemy. To be fair Trump has proved himself liberal in some ways, by making exceptions to his ban, such as Saudi Arabia. This must be because it’s a whole 15 years since anyone from that country knocked over any towers, so it makes sense to let them off. – Mark Steel
What Trump and his cohorts do not realise about the term “radical Islamic terrorism” is that, as observed by Chandra Muzaffar, “the term itself is offensive since terror has no theological justification. It is condemned in the Qur’an as it is condemned in other religious texts.”
Since we are on the subject of slogans, I will let Bernard-Henri Levy shed some historical light on the incantation of another famous Trump slogan, “America First”:
Then there is that slogan, “America First.” It is astounding that those words have not turned stomachs across the American political spectrum. After all, as anyone with a modicum of historical and political awareness should know, “America First” was American Nazi sympathizers’ slogan in 1940, during Lindbergh’s time. It was the response thrown back at those who wanted the US to resist Hitler’s Germany. It was used to denounce the Jewish “warmongers” who were accused of placing their interests over the national interest. – Bernard-Henri Levy
Anyways, as much as one can, please enjoy…
Because of Trump the daughter of former president George W Bush recently reminded us of her father’s kind words about Islam…
Jenna Bush Hager, an NBC anchor and daughter of former President George W Bush, recently wrote a tweet referring to the kind words her father made on 17th September 2001, a few days after the tragedy of 9/11. Despite suffering the biggest terror attack in American history, the then president went to the Islamic Center of Washington DC and said the following:
The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war. When we think of Islam we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. Billions of people find comfort and solace and peace. And that’s made brothers and sisters out of every race — out of every race. America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads. And they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect. Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes. Moms who wear cover must be not intimidated in America. That’s not the America I know. That’s not the America I value. I’ve been told that some fear to leave; some don’t want to go shopping for their families; some don’t want to go about their ordinary daily routines because, by wearing cover, they’re afraid they’ll be intimidated. That should not and that will not stand in America. Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don’t represent the best of America, they represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior. – President George W Bush, 17th September 2001, at the Islamic Center of Washington DC
Some may argue that these words proved to be historically hollow as Bush, along with his British poodle Blair, went on to kill hundreds of thousands of Muslims in several Muslim countries, but at least this initial reaction by the then president was way more dignified than the behaviour of the current president, a president who clearly represents “the worst of humankind.”
Because of Trump people like Reza Aslan and J K Rowling are pointing out the blatant hypocrisy of some Republicans…
The Harry Potter author J K Rowling recently commented on the blatant hypocrisy of vice president Mike Pence. She reminded her Twitter followers that Pence in 2015 tweeted the following:
Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.
Expeliarmus indeed. Similarly Muslim author Reza Aslan recently reminded Senator Paul Ryan of his hypocrisy in the following emotionally defiant video message:
Dear speaker Ryan. I’m addressing this message to you because, from what everyone tells me, you seem to be a pretty reasonable guy. You’re smart, educated, you clearly love America, you’re a faithful person. I’m old enough now that I pretty much only judge people based on their relationship with their kids, and you seem to have a beautiful relationship with your kids, you have a wonderful family. And so I feel like I could maybe reason with you. When the big top is on fire you don’t complain to the clown, you complain to the manager. You’re the manager and the big top is on fire. Last year when you thought that Donald Trump was a con artist, a sexual predator who had no business being in the White House, you said that you would never tolerate something like a Muslim ban. You said that it would violate everything that America stands for. Well now the Muslim ban is in place and you were literally the first person in Congress to come out and support for it. And that got me thinking. See, I know a little bit about you. I know that your great-great-grandfather Jack Ryan and your great-great-grandmother Katherine Shea came to the United States from Ireland trying to escape the Irish famine. They had been living through it for six long years. They came to America to avoid starvation and death, and the country that they came to was profoundly anti-Irish and anti-Catholic. The Irish were called alcoholics, they were called illiterate and uneducated, filthy, dirty, untrustworthy. People said that you couldn’t possibly have loyalty to both the pope and the president. You couldn’t have loyalty to both the Vatican and the United States. The Irish were so untrustworthy that an entire political party was formed in the United States, the Know-Nothings. They ran for Congress, they even ran for president, basically on a platform of anti-Catholic and specifically anti-Irish sentiment. You know what their slogan was? It was “America First”. And yet your great-great-grandparents were allowed into this country. They faced bigotry, they faced xenophobia, but they had the constitution on their side. Their rights were protected, their political rights, their religious rights. And a few generations later out came you, the third most powerful man in America, the adult in the government. Well, not much has changed right now. Yeah, the refugees are different but they’re still trying to find a home, still trying to flee starvation and death and persecution. They’re people exactly like your great-great-grandparents, they’re people like my parents and like me, who came here so that we could have a better life, so that we wouldn’t be killed by our own government. And it seems like you’ve forgotten something, not just your words from last year, but you forgot your own identity, you forgot where you came from. I’m as American as you are, it’s just it took me 23 years to become American. And I remember so clearly when I took that oath, that vow of citizenship. I was asked a very simple question: will you protect this country from all threats, foreign and domestic? And I vowed that I would. Well, there is a threat to this country right now and he’s in the White House, and I’m asking you as a Christian, as an American, as a good man: what are you going to do about it? The pope just said that you cannot call yourself a Christian and turn away refugees, and turn your back on the hungry, and the weak, the orphaned, the needy, people like your great-great-grandparents. What’s your answer to that? I’m waiting, the entire country is waiting to hear from you. – Reza Aslan
Because of Trump many Muslims are working closer with non-Muslim groups than ever before…
Manal Omar, an American Muslim activist, on the Al Jazeera news channel recently spoke of a positive impact of Trump for us Muslims. She said there is now an overwhelming solidarity and intersectionality that has emerged directly in reaction to Trump and his executive orders. Omar said that the Muslim community has connected with Black Lives Matter, with scientists on climate change, with the women’s movement, and with the LGBTQ community, all in ways it never had done before.
This united front seems determined to protect American values through this much stronger intersectionality, both within the Muslim community and with those outside the Muslim community. Omar also went on to say that “the amount of solidarity that we have seen is from all across the board, it’s from every social movement, it is not restricted to Arabs and Muslims, and every fight that we have with the White House will represent all the intersectionality of the American people.”
Because of Trump many non-Muslims are publicly declaring that “we are all Muslims”…
In 2015, shortly after Trump announced his Muslim “shutdown”, Michael Moore wrote an open letter to Donald Trump in which he said:
I was raised to believe that we are all each other’s brother and sister, regardless of race, creed or color. That means if you want to ban Muslims, you are first going to have to ban me. And everyone else. We are all Muslim. – Michael Moore
This sentiment of now openly supporting Muslims has extended vastly, especially since the recent executive order. A recent example of this is from Norman Pollack:
We are all Muslims. Either that, or we shall be torn apart as a nation, given over to Trump-Republicans’ vomit of hate for all that defines human rights and a free society. – Norman Pollack
This point is further analysed by Bruce Feiler in a rather interesting CNN article:
Lost in the turmoil is one critical but overlooked benefit to all this upheaval: The president’s action — and the backlash that followed — are the biggest boon to interfaith relations in decades. The idea that thousands of people would take to the streets in impromptu, grass-roots protests to defend not their own religious traditions but those of a beleaguered minority is relatively unheard of in the long history of religion. That the religion being defended is not just any tradition, but one widely disparaged in recent years from pulpits and campaign platforms as evil incarnate makes it even more remarkable. Just look at the signs the protesters have been carrying: “FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE MUSLIMS…THIS TIME WE SAID, ‘HELL NO!'” “TODAY WE ARE ALL MUSLIM.” “STOP PRETENDING YOUR ISLAMOPHOBIA IS PATRIOTISM.” “JESUS WAS A REFUGEE.”…It would be hard to overstate how rare this ecumenical unanimity is. Religious leaders are not used to rallying to the defense of their rivals. – Bruce Feiler
Just like Muhammad Ali went from being one of the most hated figures in America to one of the most revered, it seems like Islam and Muslims has gone from being hated after 9/11 to now being supported and defended.
Because of Trump non-Muslims are being nice to Muslims like the comedian Hasan Minhaj at JFK Airport…
There are many times when people like Trump will try their utmost to lie, cheat, deceive, and hoodwink. They will try and do this through their various plots, plans, and schemes, which they cleverly relabel as ‘campaign promises’ or ‘executive orders’ or ‘bills’ that need to go through Congress.
To counteract this the Qur’an in various places speaks of how “Allah is the best of planners” (for example 3:54 and 8:30). In other words, people may wish to achieve a certain outcome but God, through His many mysterious ways, actually makes the outcome somewhat unexpectedly different.
An example of this is Trump’s desire to demonise Islam and Muslims. That was his aim but who would have thought that so many people would instead support Muslims, be they American born or refugees, as a direct result of Trump’s attitude towards Islam? Who would have thought that support for Muslims would extend to Jewish people giving Muslims the key to their synagogue after the town’s mosque was burnt down?
Whilst Bruce Feiler, in the quote above, spoke of an “overlooked benefit”, Hasan Minhaj similarly speaks of a “beautiful irony” in the following Daily Show clip:
Trevor: To comment on President Trump’s immigration ban, please welcome Hasan Minhaj, everybody! (cheering and applause) I’m sorry, Hasan. I’m just…I’m…Like, right now, I can’t even talk. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to all of a sudden have the United States label Muslims as inherently threatening, man.
Hasan: (chuckles) I’m not surprised. You know, in the past, America has had lots of issues with Muslims and immigration. You know, President Carter banned Iranians, Bush built a registry of immigrants from 24 Muslim countries, Obama suspended refugees from Iraq. But Trump is taking this thing to a whole new level. I mean, those other presidents were just dipping their toes in the pool. Now Trump straight-up did a cannonball and then felt up the lifeguard. And by the way, shout-outs to all my Republican friends who promised me Trump would never do this.
News clips of various Republicans: I don’t think any of the people who are screaming at the top of their lungs thinks for a moment that a literal interpretation would be Muslims…That’s not a real proposal. It’s not something that’s going to happen….I don’t think you can take a lot of that seriously…He’s not gonna ban all Muslims.
Hasan: What the (bleep)?! So we are getting banned?
Trevor: Well, Hasan, technically you’re a citizen, so this ban doesn’t affect you.
Trevor: Yet! We’re on day 11, man! That’s it! Where do you think this is gonna go?! It’s like watching the first episode of Breaking Bad thinking, “Oh, it’s just a science teacher cooking meth. It can’t get any crazier.” But it does!
Trevor: Well, Hasan, now, jokes aside — and this is completely true — you actually flew into JFK Airport this weekend, as Trump’s executive order was being implemented.
Hasan: That is correct. And I was scared that I wouldn’t be allowed back in.
Trevor: Wow. Where were you flying in from? Were you flying from Iran, Iraq or Syria or…?
Hasan: Sacramento, California, the Syria of the West.
Trevor: (laughing) Jokes aside though. On the real…you’re a Muslim person. You’re seeing this happening, You must really hate President Trump right now.
Hasan: Well, actually Trevor, I’m not sure. No, because usually being a Muslim in an airport sucks, but this weekend it was like I was The Weeknd. I mean, I land at JFK, I get to the arrivals section. Literally, three white people run up to me, hug me and say, “Thank you for being Muslim.” I’m 31 years old. That’s the first time anyone has thanked me for being Muslim.
Trevor: And what did you say to them?
Hasan: I said what any Muslim would say to them in that situation. “Do you know where Baggage Claim 5 is?” But how can I hate Trump right now? How do you do it? Just look at what he’s done at the airport. White women were turning their scarves into hijabs. Muslims were publicly praying, and people were cheering them on! Do you understand? Muslims publicly praying at the airport! Think about how crazy this is! (cheering and applause) Because of Donald Trump, people were being nice at the airport! Here’s the beautiful irony. For years, Donald Trump has been terrified about the spread of Islam in America. Well, congratulations Mr. President…(photo below is shown)
Hasan: …Mission accomplished.
Trevor: (laughter) Thank you, Hasan. Hasan Minhaj, everybody!
Ever since I can remember I have always been into movies. Bollywood movies never really caught my fancy, but I would watch Hollywood movies day and night. And I do mean day and night. It was not uncommon for me to watch 5 or 6 movies in a weekend. Then in my teenage years another obsession was added to the list, stand-up comedy, with Bill Hicks being my favourite (he still is). Later in my mid-twenties, shortly after 9/11, I found Allah, so my list of heartfelt obsessions now numbered three.
I have blogged many, many times about all three subjects, including various overlaps between them. However, from an Islamic perspective one must be careful when watching movies dealing overtly with religion. In Islamic theology we are encouraged not to tolerate any real, physical depictions of our prophets for various reasons, so watching movies like The Passion Of The Christ (2004), Noah (2014), and Exodus: Gods And Kings (2014) is a strict theological no-no. A better way of explaining this concept is done by Imam Nouman Ali Khan:
You don’t have to look very hard on YouTube to find Imam Nouman and other scholars talking disparagingly about Hollywood and Bollywood. So where does all this leave a religious movie nut like myself? If I want to get my movie-religion-overlap fix I have to do it in other ways. I have to get it through more conventional non-religious movies such as On The Waterfront (1954), Cool Hand Luke (1967), and Good Will Hunting (1997).
Below are 4 clips from these movies, clips that I think have good, positive religious messages. Where possible I have tried to add my own analysis and understanding of what these clips mean to a practising Muslim like myself. Not to make too obvious a point, these clips are better understood in the context of the full movie, so if you’ve not seen these movies I urge you to do so as they truly deserve the merit of ‘classic’. As always, enjoy!
LOVE OF A LOUSY BUCK
On The Waterfront (1954) is a multi-Oscar winning movie that redefined the genre of acting. Brando was a tour de force in his portrayal of simpleton Terry Malloy, with his performance still being talked about with the utmost respect among fellow actors, especially the scene with his brother Charlie in the back of the taxi.
He won his first Oscar for Best Actor thanks to this movie (his second would come some 16 years later in 1972 for The Godfather). At the time of release the movie had more political undertones due to the McCarthy witch hunts that were taking place, especially in media circles, but over time the religious aspects of the movie have come through in spades.
The scene below is of Karl Madden as Father Barry, giving an off-the-cuff sermon in the waterfront docks to anyone who will listen, after the murder of an innocent dock worker who dared to stand up to the corrupt officials. Here’s an analysis from the blog Reel Christianity:
Speaking up for wrongdoing, especially in a corrupt place, is the kind of thing Jesus did constantly in his ministry. He never shunned sinners, but he called out those in the church that did not minister to those in need. And even before Jesus was doing his ministry on Earth, the Bible talks about caring for those who need it most. Proverbs 31:8-9 reads, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” This is what, in a sense, Joey Doyle, Kayo Dugan, and Terry Malloy all attempted to do—and what Terry was able to do in the end. He helped put an end to corruption on the waterfront, and believers can also fight for injustice in our own way. Whatever that way is, I pray that you and I would find guidance from God and serve Him in what we do. – Sean O’Connor
POP: He don’t need a doctor…he needs a priest.
FATHER BARRY: I came down here to keep a promise. I gave Kayo my word that if he stood up to the mob I’d stand up with him. All the way. And now Kayo Dugan is dead. He was one of those fellas who had the gift of standing up but this time they fixed him oh they fixed him for good this time. Unless it was an accident like Big Mac says. Some people think the crucifixion only took place on Calvary. Well they’d better wise up. Taking Joey Doyle’s life to stop him from testifying is a crucifixion. And dropping a sling on Kayo Dugan because he was ready to spill his guts tomorrow…that’s a crucifixion. And every time the mob puts the crusher on a good man, tries to stop him from doing his duty as a citizen? It’s a crucifixion. And anybody who sits around and lets it happen, keeps silent about something he knows has happened, shares the guilt of it just as much as the Roman soldier who pierced the flesh of our lord to see if he was dead.
[Somebody throws something in Father Barry’s direction. He ignores them]
TRUCK: Go back to your church father.
FATHER BARRY: Boys, this is my church! And if you don’t think Christ is down here on the waterfront you’ve got another guess coming.
[Tillio throws a banana at Father Barry. The banana splatters him, but he ignores it.]
SONNY: Get off the dock, Father.
TERRY: Tillio, don’t do that.
TILLIO: Whose side are you on, boy?
TERRY: Let him finish.
FAHTER BARRY: Every morning when the hiring boss blows his whistle Jesus stands alongside you in the shape-up. He sees why some of you get picked and some of you get passed over. He sees the family men worrying about getting the rent and getting food in the house for the wife and the kids. He sees you selling your souls to the mob for a day’s pay.
[Somebody else throws something at Father Barry.]
POP: The next bum that throws something deals with me! I don’t care if he’s twice my size!
FATHER BARRY: Now what does Christ think of the easy money boys who do none of the work and take all of the gravy? And how does he feel about the fellas who wear a hundred-and-fifty dollar suits and diamond rings on your union dues and your kickback money? And how does he, who spoke up without fear against every evil, feel about your silence?
TILLIO: Shut up about that. Just watch this.
[Tillio is about to throw something else. Terry punches him.]
TRUCK: [Speaking to Terry’s brother Charlie] You see that?
FATHER BARRY: You want to know what’s wrong with our waterfront? It’s the love of a lousy buck. It’s making love of a buck, the cushy job more important than the love of man! It’s forgetting that every fella down here is your brother in Christ. But remember Christ is always with you. Christ is in the shape-up, he’s in the hatch, he’s in the union hall, he’s kneeling right here beside Dugan. And he’s saying with all of you: “If you do it to the least of mine you do it to me.” And what they did to Joey and what they did to Dugan they’re doing to you. And you, you, all of you! And only you, only you with God’s help have the power to knock ‘em out for good. [Turns to the corpse of Kayo] Okay, Kayo. [Turns back to everybody else and says harshly] Amen. [Makes the sign of the cross and walks away.] – from the movie On The Waterfront (1954)
IT’S ABOUT TIME WE HAD A LITTLE TALK
Whilst Father Barry is certain of his faith, the prisoner Luke Jackson is riddled with doubt. Luke is the quintessential lone individual challenging authority and conformity, unsuccessfully in this case (similar to Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975).
Luke, without perhaps realising it, ends being a Christ like figure in prison, mainly depicted through his devoted disciples who believe in him and will do anything for him. He even seems to resemble the Christian artistic version of Christ after the famous egg eating scene, splayed out in a simple white rag.
Luke, as an unusual Christ Figure, brings a sense of liberation to his fellow prisoners and strikes fear in the hearts of those who use fear and force to prop up their harsh authority. Tyrants, whether they rule a nation or a small prison camp, fear the loss of authority or power, these being the only things which distinguish them from those they regard as scum. Luke is a Christ Figure, not in any moral sense, but in that his life and death serve to liberate his fellow prisoners from this fear of the guards and the unquestioning acceptance of their captor’s authority. – Ed McNulty
[Discussing God whilst walking in the rain. Looks to the skies at the torrential rain.]
Luke: Let Him go. Bam, bam.
Dragline: Knock it off, Luke. You can’t talk about Him that way.
Luke: Are you still believin’ in that big bearded Boss up there? You think He’s watchin’ us?
Dragline: [Gesturing to the prison van] Get in here. Ain’t ya scared? Ain’t ya scared of dyin’?
Luke: Dyin’? Boy, He can have this little life any time He wants to. Do Ya hear that? Are Ya hearin’ it? Come on. You’re welcome to it, Ol’ Timer. Let me know You’re up there. Come on. Love me, hate me, kill me, anything. Just let me know it. [He looks around] I’m just standin’ in the rain talkin’ to myself. – from the movie Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Luke: Anybody here? Hey, Old Man. You home tonight? Can You spare a minute? It’s about time we had a little talk. I know I’m a pretty evil fellow…killed people in the war and got drunk…and chewed up municipal property and the like. I know I got no call to ask for much…but even so, You’ve got to admit You ain’t dealt me no cards in a long time. It’s beginning to look like You got things fixed so I can’t never win out. Inside, outside, all of them…rules and regulations and bosses. You made me like I am. Now just where am I supposed to fit in? Old Man, I gotta tell You. I started out pretty strong and fast. But it’s beginning to get to me. When does it end? What do You got in mind for me? What do I do now? Right. All right. [Gets on knees, closes eyes and begins to pray] On my knees, asking. [Peeks up with one eye, waits. Then opens eyes and crosses arms] Yeah, that’s what I thought. I guess I’m pretty tough to deal with, huh? A hard case. [Clicks tongue] Yeah. I guess I gotta find my own way. [Headlights shine through windows, backs up]
Luke: [Shakes head and smiles] Is that Your answer, Old Man? I guess You’re a hard case, too. – from the movie Cool Hand Luke (1967)
YOUR MOVE, CHIEF
The Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 1998 was presented to Matt Damon and Ben Affleck for their movie Good Will Hunting. This movie was something the two best friends were working on for several years before finally taking the plunge and making a classic of American cinema, and arguably one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.
The scene below is basically about theory versus practice, a young Matt Damon who reads books and only knows theory, versus the older Robin Williams, who has been there and done that. In Islam there is a concept of someone who has knowledge, someone who owns books, being compared to a donkey carrying great works of literature. In other words, you talk the talk but you are yet to walk the walk. This dichotomy is highlighted by the elder to the younger in the following scene:
[Sean and Will sit on a bench at the mostly empty park. They look out over a small pond with swans, in which a group of schoolchildren on a field trip ride the famous Swan Boats. Will doesn’t look at Sean throughout the speech; he looks away. The scene ends with Sean walking away, leaving Will still sitting there, bewildered, contemplating Sean’s words.]
Will: So what’s this? A Taster’s Choice moment between guys? This is really nice. You got a thing for swans? Is this like a fetish? It’s something, like, maybe we need to devote some time to?
Sean: I thought about what you said to me the other day, about my painting. Stayed up half the night thinking about it. Something occurred to me and I fell into a deep, peaceful sleep, and haven’t thought about you since. You know what occurred to me?
Sean: You’re just a kid. You don’t have the faintest idea what you’re talking about.
Will: Why, thank you.
Sean: It’s all right. You’ve never been out of Boston.
Sean: So if I asked you about art you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo? You know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientation, the whole works, right? But I bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling, and seen that. If I asked you about women you’d probably give me a syllabus of your personal favourites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid. I ask you about war, and you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right? “Once more into the breach, dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap and watched him gasp his last breath, looking to you for help. And if I asked you about love you probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable, known someone that could level you with her eyes. Feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you, who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel and to have that love for her to be there forever. Through anything. Through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in a hospital room for two months holding her hand because the doctors could see in your eyes that the term visiting hours don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself. I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much. I look at you, I don’t see an intelligent, confident man. I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you’re a genius, Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine and you ripped my fucking life apart. You’re an orphan right? Do you think I’d know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally, I don’t give a shit about all that, because you know what? I can’t learn anything from you I can’t read in some fucking book, unless you want to talk about you, who you are. And I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t want to do that, do you, sport? You’re terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief. – from the movie Good Will Hunting (1997)
The inauguration speech of El Prez Numero 45 only worsened my delicate Muslim sensibilities. In the speech (a speech traditionally used to promote unity nationally and internationally) he mentioned he would wipe “radical Islamic terrorism” off the face of the earth:
We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilised world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth. At the bed rock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America and through our loyalty to our country we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is United, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear. We are protected and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. And most importantly we will be protected by God. – Donald Trump, 20 Jan 2017, from his inauguration speech
So many questions arise from this small soundbite alone. Are Muslims part of “God’s people”? Are only Christians “protected by God”? Do new alliances to be formed include a northern-hemisphere-right-wing-Christian alliance, stretching from Trump in America to Putin in Russia, and in the middle you have right wing governments all across Europe? Do old alliances refer to a strengthening of relationships with Israel?
In true Trump style he arrogantly said the ‘what’ but left out the ‘how’, a contradiction pointed out by journalist Paul Green:
Trump’s linguistic presentation is a strange series of soundbites that he believes to be poetry, philosophy and unprejudiced patriotism. He delivers heady promises, rather than practical solutions. A prime example is the way his great notion of “eradicating Islamist terrorism” was uttered in almost the same breath as a remark withdrawing America from its role as policeman of the world, secure inside its own borders. How can he square this circle? – Paul Breen
This issue of “radical Islamic terrorism” is something I have blogged about previously (here and here). It is also an issue the brilliant journalist Robert Fisk alluded to in a recent article:
A bad day for Muslims, I’d call it. The only mention they got in the inaugural tweet was pure Hollywood, and very dangerous. “Radical Islamic terrorism we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth”. Shorn of its Biblical reference – the face of the earth comes from Genesis, does it not? – it was the biggest threat Trump could offer his people. Quite apart from the fact that he can’t eradicate terrorism without looking at why it flourishes (something Donald Trump showed he had no interest in, for this was the most nationalist, selfish inaugural in US history), his 20-minute commercial for Trumpism is likely to be the finest rallying cry the cultists of Isis have received since they started chopping off heads, blowing up monuments and destroying the beliefs of their co-religionists. – Robert Fisk
The anti-Islam vibe was strongly prevalent throughout the inauguration (as it has also been throughout the Trump campaign). This vibe was extenuated by the Reverend Franklin Graham, who was invited to read some parts of scripture on inauguration day. Graham, who supports a president who thinks “Islam hates us,” is an evangelical pastor who thinks Islam is “evil.”
A month after the 9/11 terror attacks, Graham, speaking at the dedication of a new chapel, told the audience that Islam “is a very evil and wicked religion.” Pressed to clarify his comments by NBC, Graham said, “It wasn’t Methodists flying into those buildings, it wasn’t Lutherans. It was an attack on this country by people of the Islamic faith.” In 2014, when asked by Christian Today if his views on Islam had changed since those 2001 remarks, Graham said “I have not changed my opinion at all.” Well, good for you!
Whilst things are confusing and fearful for Muslims over in the States, here in the UK us British Muslims are not faring much better. It is indeed an interesting time to be a Muslim in Britain because on the one hand we have the recent Casey review saying we Muslims do not integrate enough. On the other hand we have American author Janie Johnson saying “London is gone – all Islamic.” And there I was just getting over the fact that Birmingham recently became a no go area for non-Muslims.
With all this going on I thought it would be a good idea to say a few positive things about Islam, something that I have tried to do before. As best as one can, enjoy!
It is hard to be entirely despondent when we live in a country where the Muslim community is integrated enough to produce the mayor of our capital city, the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic games history, and my favourite winner of the Great British Bake Off. Maybe we should stop looking for enemies within and instead Britains of all kinds could unite against a common enemy. Maybe someone across the pond? We might then discover the future is both bright and orange. – Lucy Porter, on the BBC Radio 4 program The Now Show, Dec 2016 (referring to: mayor = Sadiq Khan, athlete = Mohammed Farah, winner = Nadiya Hussain, common enemy = Trump, pond = Atlantic ocean)
I want to ask you a tougher question. It’s a deeper question about our relationship now to the Muslim community in the United States. Right now the Muslim community is awesome! If a Muslim family moved next door to me I would be the happiest person in the world, because the chance of my kids getting in trouble just went way down, just went way down! Because they have high educational attainment…they are…they’re your people. They have faith, they have family, they’re hard-working. This is the model American community. And yet isn’t there a danger…that this level of miscommunication, this level of misunderstanding, could drive a model community to the margins and actually create the very thing you’re afraid of, which is extremism? Are you worried about that? – Van Jones, on his CNN show The Messy Truth, speaking to Senator Rick Santorum, Dec 2016
We’re not the enemy. We live next to you. We operate on you. We cook for you. We drive you. We teach you. And everything in between. We even entertain you onstage…We are just people who want normal things from life. We are people who fall short and we are people who try our best, just like everyone else. – from the controversial BBC documentary Muslims Like Us, Dec 2016
I will end with this really positive clip from the show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee:
Since 9/11 the number of American Muslim comedians seems to have grown exponentially. One of the best and brightest is Hasan Minhaj. As well as being an accomplished stand up, his main claim to fame are his many appearances on The Daily Show as their Senior Muslim Correspondent. Here is a classic clip from back in the days of Jon Stewart as host:
Hasan is able to use his God given comedy gift to tell the truth in ways more honestly and directly than most, mainly because he understands the potential power humour possesses:
As satirists we get to stand on the sidelines of life and comment on what’s happening. And because we’re not telling any political, corporate, or religious lines, we’re able to honestly say things how they really are. – Hasan Minhaj
This honesty was on full display in June 2016 when Hasan was the guest entertainer at the annual Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington DC. This slot was hilariously filled by Aasif Mandvi the year before (himself a former Daily Show Senior Muslim Correspondent), as mentioned in a previous blog.
Apologies, I should have blogged about this at the time because some of the speech maybe a little outdated in parts (sorry Hasan, Hillary will not be president). Having said that, Hasan’s 22 minute speech is still well worth watching in its entirety. He covers many topics including the usual ones of race, politics, Congress, the election, the media, and religion, but he also manages to squeeze in pizza, wrestling, halal chicken, Home Alone 2, and Back To The Future.
Below is the speech in full, followed by a transcript from the final part where Hasan makes a disturbingly passionate cry for better gun control from Congress after the Orlando shooting massacre. As best as one can, enjoy…
What we saw in Orlando was one of the ugliest cocktails of the problems that we still see here in America. A cocktail of homophobia, xenophobia, lack of access to mental healthcare, and sheer lack of political will. And all of us satirists, we’ve all been yelling out, crying out, for change. But the sad reality is that we are all complicit in what happened. Every day in our workplaces, in our homes, in our religious institutions, there is covert or overt discrimination or phobia towards people of different religious, racial, or sexual walks of life. And we just sit there and we let it happen because it doesn’t affect our bottom line.
“I didn’t say it Hasan. I don’t think it that’s way. They said it, okay. It’s not that simple Hasan.”
And we just go on with our lives because it did not affect our status quo. And the sad reality is that stuff like this is going to continue to happen unless we recognise that civil liberties are an all or nothing game. A rising tide lifts all boats, it’s not pick or choose. So whether you like it or not we all have to step up and fight for each other, otherwise the whole thing is a sham. And until we do that, hijabis are going to get harassed in the streets, members from the trans community are going to be demonised for using the bathroom. And my brothers and sisters in the African American community, their spines are going to continue to get shattered in the backs of paddy wagons until we stand up and say something.
And the thing that hurts me the most is I wished I would have done more. To my brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community and every marginalised community, I am sorry I did not do more. And the same goes for Congress. We look to you guys as our leaders. You make almost $200,000 a year to write rules, to make our society better. Not tweet, not tell us about your thoughts and prayers. To write rules to make our society better. And ultimately it comes down to money and influence. And right now, since 1998 the NRA has given $3.7 million to Congress. There are 294 sitting members of Congress that have accepted contributions from the NRA, and that doesn’t even include the millions of dollars from outside lobbying.
So before I get up here in my liberal bubble and I ask for gun control and universal background checks and banning assault rifles, we’ve got to be able to have the conversation, and right now, specifically Congress, has blocked legislation for the CDC to study gun-related violence. We can’t even talk about the issue with real statistics and facts. So I don’t know if this is, like, a Kickstarter thing, but if $3.7 million can buy political influence to take lives, if we raise $4 million would you guys take that to save lives? I don’t know.
Ultimately, I just gotta ask you this. Look, when I got into comedy, and when you guys got into media, and when you guys got into politics, we wanted to do the best work we could possibly do. Is this what you want your legacy to be? That you were a could-have-done-something Congress, but you didn’t because of outside lobbying? That you were complicit in the deaths of thousands of Americans?
And look, I know being a member of Congress is hard — you’ve got to placate your base, you’ve got to look out for re-election, you’ve got to answer to lobbyists. But please persevere, because our thoughts and prayers are with you. Good night.
– Hasan Minhaj, Jun 2015, speaking at the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington DC
Let’s face it, 2016 was a complete horror movie, so much so that if it were an actual horror movie the trailer would look like this:
Now that the Dante-inspired-circle-of-hell that was 2016 is over, I can finally present my list of funniest Trump related quotes of the year. Over the last 12 tumultuous months I have been diligently watching talk shows, news channels, documentaries, and YouTube clips. I have been carefully reading newspapers, magazines, online articles, and blogs. I have been attentively listening to podcasts, radio programs, pundits, and stand-up comedians. I have been meticulously monitoring Facebook posts, Tweets, memes, and viral videos. I have been doing all this in order to collate the funniest quotes about Trump and the American presidential election.
The fruits of my labour are presented below. Yes, these quotes are somewhat funnier if you’ve been obsessively keeping up-to-date with all things Trumpian like what I have. But don’t worry if you haven’t, as there are plenty of quotes for your enjoyment due to them being pure comedy gold in their own right.
“Why do this?” I hear you not ask. I guess the reason for gathering such witticisms is to try and humiliate the ultimate humiliator, with the words below hopefully acting as some kind of seditious act, something to quieten this noisy paper tiger, something that sticks it to da orange man, a man who sees no moral limit in whom he insults openly in public, a man who shows “a cold personal indifference, a separation of man from man” (to quote DJR Bruckner writing in 1972).
My very small act of mutiny is summed up by Anne Karpf:
The world’s natural resources may be at risk of depletion, but there’s one that’s still plentiful and has never been more vital: humour. Not the laughter that provides a temporary escape from the nastiness of the present, welcome though that is. No, the kind I’m talking about is humour that skewers the lies, boasts and taunts of those who claim to have “won”…In times of bigotry and prejudice, we need humour not just for escapism, but also to poke fun at the powerful…Laughing at powerful elites makes them seem less omnipotent. It punctures their self-importance and makes us feel less alone…[These jokes] won’t make Trump disappear, but they can still be an essential weapon against bigotry and prejudice. And all such weapons seem essential now. – Anne Karpf
Perhaps the best explanation of why I am doing what I do comes from George Orwell, who at the time of writing in 1940 was referring to the rather funny and rebellious Charles Dickens:
A joke worth laughing at always has an idea behind it, and usually a subversive idea. Dickens is able to go on being funny because he is in revolt against authority, and authority is always there to be laughed at. There is always room for one more custard pie. – George Orwell
Since Trump is the highest political authority in the free world, each subversive quote below can be seen as the proverbial “one more custard pie.”
However, there is a problem in trying to laugh at someone like Trump: because it is just so darn easy to poke fun at him, doing it in a smart way becomes increasingly difficult. Another more obvious problem is explained by Morten Morland:
You almost can’t ridicule him any more than he unwittingly manages to ridicule himself. – Morten Morland
Despite the fact that he is his own clown, I still feel somewhat compelled to try as best I can to bring this man down a notch or two, even if it is solely for my own egotistical satisfaction. Anyways, please enjoy the following well-chosen selection of Orwell inspired custard pies!
PS Because I am such a generous guy, the very last quote is actually a fresh one from 2017.
A Klan-backed misogynist internet troll is going to be delivering the next State of the Union address. And that is not normal. It is fucked up. – John Oliver
A swastika has been spray painted over Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Police say it’s impossible to tell if the act was committed by Trump’s opponents or supporters. – from r/Jokes SuperCub
A Trump bumper sticker is the modern equivalent to the Confederate Flag. – Hari Kondabolu
According to Trump any place in America where black people live is the inner city. – Roy Wood Jr
After you leave office have you thought of just whispering in Donald Trump’s ear “You were right, I wasn’t born here” just to mess with him? – Samantha Bee, speaking to then President Obama, Oct 2016
All week long I’ve been seeing on TV white men weeping, like they just won some long hard fought civil rights battle. “Move over women and gays and minorities. It’s our turn now.” – Bill Maher
All week pundits and politicians have been asking themselves “How did we get here?” What is the moral GPS that led us to this cliff? How did trump win? Was this the revenge of the white, working class voters? Was Hillary Clinton complacent on the campaign trail? Did we anger the volcano gods? I knew we should have thrown Taylor Swift in there. – Stephen Colbert, 23 Nov 2016
Alt-right is the name they picked for themselves…Calling Nazis and white supremacists the alt-right is like calling OJ Simpson a cutlery enthusiast. – Seth Meyers
America has elected a dumb-ass. – Trevor Noah
America has elected an internet troll as our president. – Dave Chappelle
America has had bad presidents. You can impeach a bad president. You can vote out a bad president. You’ve never had a Donald Trump. Nobody has had a Donald Trump. No one even knows what that thing is. People go “He’s an outsider…he’s not part of the establishment.” He’s not part of the human race establishment. We don’t know what that is. – Trevor Noah
America is the most divided I have experienced in my lifetime, and I lived through the traumatic punk versus disco wars of the 1970’s. – Bill Maher
America rejected a woman who pushed a button on her emails and deleted her history, and voted for a man who could push a button and delete all history. – Rich Hall
American news is rife with propaganda. They have almost no sense of history. So you see them going “And there was a car bomb in Baghdad today.” And they then analyse it and say why do Iraqis hate cars so much. – Frankie Boyle
American politics: The two most unpopular people in the country get to stand for president and the one with the least votes wins. – James Doleman
Americans like Trump because he’s got loads of money, which is sort of their version of being clever. And he’s built all these giant buildings and written his name on them so no one else can steal them. – Charlie Brooker, from his show Charlie Brooker’s 2015 Wipe
Among Trump’s supporters there are people for whom this was 80% about race and the other 20% was about race. – Thomas L Friedman
And so, as I chitchatted over cocktails at a Washington office Christmas party in December, and saw, looming above our heads, the pulsating, angry televised face of Donald Trump on Fox News, I couldn’t help but feel a little nausea permeate my stomach. – Andrew Sullivan
At his rallies Trump takes great pride in not using a teleprompter. He doesn’t want to alienate his base by reading. When I see that hat ‘make America great again’ I always think for his crowd it’s a little wordy. Are they really getting through all of that? “‘Make America…’ Ah, I’ll read it tomorrow.” Next time he runs it’s just going to say “Fuck!” – Bill Maher
At one point, Hillary even brought up how Trump said the Emmys were rigged because Celebrity Apprentice never won one, which means the Emmy Award is the only woman who Trump hasn’t grabbed. – James Corden, referring to the third presidential debate
At this Trump rally we are witnessing history here folks, specifically Germany 1934. – Triumph The Insult Comic Dog
Beyond the circus of the election itself the American media has a lot to answer for. The partisan news coverage and the all-powerful movie industry mean that America is in fact the world’s largest producer of dangerous and harmful propaganda…The US media and entertainment sector accounts for a third of the world’s media production. The US military has been known to intervene in the making of Hollywood films. A spokesman from the US Department of Defence has said “Our desire is that the military are portrayed as good people trying to do the right thing in the right way.” Which is helpful as I can never remember which is the right way to bomb an Afghan hospital. – Frankie Boyle
Break up Mein Kampf into tiny parts and it reads like a Trump rant on Twitter. – from Funny Or Die
Congratulations on voting in the most unsuitable orange bobble-headed loose cannon. You reap what you sow. – Annette Falinski
Critics of Breitbart News say it is a hotbed of racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic views, while supporters say exactly the same thing. – Stephen Colbert
Debating Trump supporters is like trying to untangle headphones in a tornado. – Seth Meyers
Democrats feelings range from despondent to scared shitless, depending on skin tone. For the millions who voted against him the concept of president elect Trump has been hard to wrap their heads around, especially when wrapping your head might soon get you arrested. – Samantha Bee, subtly referring to women who wear hijab
Did Obama make being president look so easy that Trump thinks he can do it too? Or did he do such a bad job that it makes Trump think he can do better? – Lenard McKelvey, aka Charlamagne Tha God
Did you know Ivanka Trump is Jewish? She married an Orthodox Jew and she converted. In fact, Ivanka Trump makes love through a hole in the very same sheet her father wears at his rallies. – David Feldman
Do the Republicans know that women can vote now? – Bill Maher
Do you remember when you thought that George Bush was the bottom? That’s as low as it’s gonna get, a guy so stupid that he can’t really speak. It turns out there’s a whole thing underneath that, it goes all the way down to a guy who looks like a melted action figure of He-Man. He doesn’t even really have policies, they are more the sort of things that a drunk would say on a bus when he gets shaken awake by a pot hole. – Frankie Boyle
Donald is learning a little too late that it’s practically impossible to win a general election when you can fit all your policies on the front of a baseball cap. – Rich Hall
Donald really is as healthy as a horse. You know, like the one that Vladimir Putin rides around on. – Hillary Clinton
Donald says he wants to run for president and move on to the White House. Why not? It wouldn’t be the first time he pushed a black family out of their home. – Snoop Dogg
Donald Trump got elected president…I really hope that that is not the deal with the devil that Chicago Cubs fans made to win the World Series. – Wyatt Cenac
Donald Trump is like Jesus for Christians who’ve rejected the teachings of Jesus. – John Fugelsang
Donald Trump is what happens when parents never say “no.” – John Fugelsang
Donald, you know where Russian hackers might find Hillary’s missing 30,000 emails? Where ever you’re hiding your tax returns. – Stephen Colbert
Eat our delicious Arabian food before Trump kicks us out. – restaurant sign in the States
Even though it looks like Hillary Clinton will take the popular vote, we have to accept that the winner of this election was a Washington outsider who no one thought had a shot at running this country. Vladimir Putin. Because while Donald Trump’s position on a lot of issues is unclear, he has a firm position on Putin. and I’m going to guess missionary. – Stephen Colbert
Every time I saw Trump walk across the stage with the family, I thought: my God, they look like the Kardashian Camelot. Beautiful girls married to good-looking guys; the big patriarch with the private plane. I mean, it’s Dyyy-nasty. That is a show people want to watch. Do they want to watch a show with the Clintons earnestly discussing healthcare? No, they don’t. They want a show about making it. – Tina Brown
Everything the media says about Trump is bullshit, and I know bullshit because I have a degree from Trump University. – Triumph The Insult Comic Dog
For America, and indeed the rest of the world, Clinton versus Trump will be like being on a bus being driven at high speed towards a cliff by a psychopath, where there’s a chance that a chimpanzee might grab control of the steering wheel. It’s not a question of whether this will make things better or worse, it’s more that the whole idea of “better” may be gradually ceasing to exist. – Frankie Boyle
For anyone who has ever asked why the US needs to address the issue of reparations for its history of slavery, Donald Trump is why. He is the living embodiment of America’s unresolved issues. “How on earth can America consider expelling people of a different faith?!” an appalled England asks of a country created by the people they expelled for having a different faith. – Frankie Boyle
For the first time in our history our president is a steak salesman. – Seth Meyers
For the next four years, the President of the United States, the same office held by Washington and Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, F.D.R., J.F.K. and Barack Obama, will be held by a man-boy who’ll spend his hours exacting Twitter vengeance against all who criticize him (and those numbers will be legion). We’ve embarrassed ourselves in front of our children and the world. – Aaron Sorkin
Fox News is incredible because I have never seen so many people with spray tans hate people of colour. – Hasan Minhaj
Have you read Trumps new book? Mein Kampf Is Bigger Than Your Kampf? – Jeff Ross
He can’t even comment on inanimate objects without making it sound like he wants to have sex with them. – Seth Meyers
He has clearly said countless awful things throughout this campaign. Any of which would disqualify any other candidate. Just this week, he declined yet again to release his tax returns, lied about getting a letter from the NFL agreeing with him that the debates shouldn’t clash with football games, called Angela Merkel a moron, implied that Brazil brought the Zika Virus on themselves, and encouraged a foreign powers hack of his political rival. Now, two of those didn’t happen. But you’re not sure which two. And that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? Because Trump hasn’t said one crazy thing. He’s said thousands of crazy things, each of which blunts the effect of the others. It’s the bed of nails principle. If you step on one nail, it hurts you. If you step on a thousand nails, no single one stands out, and you’re fine. That is how Donald Trump has managed to say pretty much anything in this campaign, seemingly without consequences. – John Oliver
He has that manoeuvre with his hand when he is speaking, as if he has spent his entire life from the age of 4 pulling the legs off spiders. – Andy Zaltzman
He is satire proof. You can’t keep up with him. Usually a politician does one stupid thing and then us comedians eat out on that for a year. Every day there’s a new type of stupid. It turns out he gropes women, so you go away and write jokes about that. Next morning you wake up, he’s kicked a midget. – Andrew Maxwell
He lies more than anybody we’ve ever seen. He just says whatever comes into his head. I think it’s the media’s job to point that out. I know he’s going to stammer and yell, and he does. I saw it at the last debate. He is like a five-year-old. He kept saying to the moderator “She got more time!” This is what my sister and I used to do when we were literally toddlers. “She can do anything she wants and I can’t watch any of my shows!” The idea that this is somebody who they were seriously considering electing. Even if he loses, that is a depressing thought. – Bill Maher
He owns the worst thesaurus in the world. – Seth MacFarlane
He said that all Muslims should be banned, but he announced it in the third person, which is a sure sign of a lunatic. – Ian Hislop
He says all these things that aren’t true. But loads of his followers don’t trust the media, so they believe whatever he says, so he can basically create his own mental reality and have thousands of people blindly agree with him. Actually, saying it out loud makes him sound sort of terrifying, but luckily he’s also got silly hair you can laugh at. I mean, there’s no way Hitler would have risen to power if he had some weird physical thing that made him look silly, you know like a stupid haircut or a little mousta…Oh, fucking hell! – Charlie Brooker, from his show Charlie Brooker’s 2015 Wipe
He’s such an unprecedented person to have in a position of such power. There’s no way to know what he’s going to do. But who knows? Maybe beneath the external lunatic there’s a more moderate, even-minded lunatic that we just haven’t seen yet. – Andy Zaltzman
Hillary as president would send a very powerful message to the rest of the world that the most powerful man on the planet can be a woman. – Annalisa Piras
Hillary Clinton is everything Donald Trump hates…a woman his own age. – Miles Jupp
Hillary Clinton was a very particular type of feminist. She didn’t believe in female genital mutilation, unless it was performed by an American drone. – Frankie Boyle
Hillary didn’t have an issue. She ran on nothing. But meanwhile Donald Trump had a clear message: “I have a hat. Won’t you join me and my hat? It’s a red hat. For God’s sake, it’s a red hat!” – Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
His New York penthouse is like being deep in King Midas’s rectum. – Trevor Noah
How can a man control a country when he can’t even control his hair? – Rich Hall
How Giuliani isn’t Trump’s running mate, no one will ever understand. Theirs is the most passionate television love story since Beavis and Butthead. Every time Trump says something nuts, Giuliani either co-signs it or outdoes him. They will probably spend the years after the election doing prostate-medicine commercials together. – Matt Taibbi
How long is it going to take to build that wall? How much is it going to cost? How many times are you going to go to Home Depot? How big is this thing going to be? Look how long it took to build the Freedom Tower, and we wanted that. That took 15 years. By the time they build that thing we’re gonna be the ones going over it. – Bill Burr
I am not surprised Donald Trump is happening to America because I watch movies, I do. And every time there’s a black president, something always comes to destroy the earth. Always. It’s true. – Larry Wilmore
I can’t understand why everybody treats Trump with kid gloves, and then I realised they’re the only gloves that would fit his stupid little baby hands. – Larry Wilmore
I do have some empathy for Trump, and I know it is a little unfair to have empathy for a person for whom that’s literally the one trait they lack. – David Cross
I don’t mean to trivialise the issue, but isn’t it great, don’t you think it’s just wonderful that the US finally has a despotic tyrant in charge. You know, of the type it’s been propping up in the middle east and south America for decades. What goes around comes around, my trans-Atlantic cousins. – Tez Ilyas
I feel sorry for Hillary Clinton…we have to watch her try to prove herself against the executive producer of Celebrity Apprentice. Watching her debate Donald Trump is like watching LeBron James trying to prove to America that he’s a great basketball player by playing one-on-one against Peter Griffin from Family Guy. It’s not even remotely a fair match up, but for whatever reason America has made it that and I don’t understand why. – Lenard McKelvey, aka Charlamagne Tha God
I have always felt a huge amount of kinship with Trump. We have a lot in common. We both have big hair, we have both been on television, and neither of us should, under any circumstances, become president of the United States. – Nish Kumar
I have my sister living in the United States. So she’s a Saudi woman who moved to America for opportunity. Now, in Saudi Arabia she can’t drive or whatever, but in America she can potentially be the first Muslim woman assigned to an internment camp. And that’s just inspiring. – Hisham Fageeh, comedian and Saudi citizen
I have never seen an election quite like this. On one side a hysterical woman and on the other side Hillary Clinton. – Bill Maher
I have pulled stuff out of my shower drain that would be a better president than Trump, and would look better. – Ed Burns
I have seen this guy change his position from the beginning to the end of a sentence, with no punctuation. – Bill Maher
I like imagining what certain Trump supporters would say if Hillary Clinton accepted the Dem nomination with her 5 kids by 3 different men. – John Fugelsang
I love the Chinese. I love chopsticks, I really really do. You have a lot to admire about the Chinese. Where do you think we got the idea for the wall? Some people say that the wall won’t work. Let me ask them this question. China’s got a wall. Do you see any illegal Mexicans in China? – Trump, as impersonated by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
I really think Donald Trump never wanted to be president in the first place. Nobody’s judging a swimsuit contest with Dennis Rodman while also wanting to bring back jobs to Pennsylvania. I think he just wanted to win the election because everybody said he couldn’t. It’s like dating, chasing someone that is hard to get is always more fun than the actual relationship. He just liked the chase. He just enjoyed wooing America for 18 months. He loved making crazy promises. Even when the media was saying he was crazy, he was like “Baby, stop listening to your dumb fat friends. They’re just jealous.” And it worked somehow. America said yes. But now the chase is over and the relationship starts, and it’s not fun anymore. He’s getting texts from Dennis Rodman in the middle of the night, “Bro, let’s go hit up a beauty pageant.” He’s like “I can’t man, she’s making me put together a cabinet. I promised her a wall. I gotta have dinner with China. I don’t like this.” Clearly he’s not ready for this commitment. That’s why every time America brings up moving to DC he’s like “Yeah, babe, I’m gonna keep my place in New York.” Donald Trump is considering splitting his time between the White House and his Manhattan residence which would cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, but it’s all worth it to help a billionaire go night night in his big boy bed. – Michael Che
I wish I could tell you how many women are making accusations against Trump, but I haven’t refreshed my server in 10 minutes. – Bill Maher
I’ll give him credit for making some very good points about the economy during the first few minutes of the debate, but he couldn’t hang on for long. As the heat was turned up, he dissolved into a pool of his own inadequacy. – Susan Wright, referring to the second presidential debate
I’m just horrified by Donald Trump. He’s sort of like a pumpkin having a nervous breakdown. He’s like a sort of corrupt tele-evangelist that Columbo would have as a baddie or something. But he’s really dangerous, I mean he’s like proto-fascist, almost. And Hillary Clinton isn’t much better. I mean, she’s like the establishment candidate. But if you’re in one of the countries that America is destroying around the world, that election must look like, you know, someone is driving a combine harvester towards you and there’s a chance that the wheel might be grabbed by a chimpanzee. There’s not really a good option in there. – Frankie Boyle
I’d like to apologise for Mr Trump…that’s what I say when I’ve just farted in bed. – Andy Parsons
If making Trump president was the answer, I don’t think I’ll ever understand exactly what the question was. – Andy Zaltzman
If the USA was another country and they elected a man like Donald Trump, people would be calling for foreign military intervention. They would be discussing what is the best way to invade America. And it’s the northern border. It’s definitely the northern border. – Hari Kondabolu
If this is the problem then Trump is a fucking weird solution. It’s basically voting for the very embodiment of the thing people are protesting about. To be honest, I’m not sure there is any problem to which making Donald Trump president is the solution. – Andy Zaltzman
If you need me, I’ll be taking a shower for the next 4 years. – Ben Schwartz
If you re-arrange the letters in the name ‘Donald Trump’ you get ‘tan dump lord’. – Stephen Colbert
I’m not saying this is the end, but it might be a good idea to start gathering two of every animal. – Nick Doody
I’m puzzled by the people who hate Hillary, hate her SO much. I feel as if I have missed the first reel of the film where she burned down the orphanage or something, and the whole audience are very angry. And I just don’t know. But she seems fine to me. So it’s obviously a thing I’m not getting. – Hugh Laurie
Insiders say the meeting between Trump and Obama was “the most awkward we’ve seen since the last time Donald met a black person.” – Tweet from HaveIGotNewsForYou
Is it possible that we’ve all been groped by Trump but just didn’t feel it because of his tiny baby hands? – Stephen Colbert
It sounds like Trump’s voters are actually very progressive. They’ve elected the first openly crazy man to the most powerful office in the world, which is a step forward as they’ve broken the rubber padded ceiling. – from Have I Got News For You
It turns out only Donald Trump was in touch with the American people, though most of them against their will. – Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
It’s funny, comedians tell a joke and they get in trouble; Donald Trump says a terrible thing and means it, and he gets elected. I get it, though, Trump hit a vein. He hit the peak of political correctness, and he’s an antidote to all that. People are tired of being told they can’t say things, so he’s suddenly this poster boy for saying what’s on your mind, however terrible it is. And it’s going to go the other way. Trump’s going to get in, and suddenly there’s going to be 32 Jon Stewarts. It’s cyclical; people build their different armies. It was only recently that I realized that Trump actually could become president. I should have realized sooner. Think about it: We live a world where there are warnings on bottles of bleach — we have to tell people not to drink bleach. In that world, Trump can be president. And in a sense, you get what you deserve. That’s democracy, baby! It’s just a really odd thing to have this man who’s meant to be the most powerful man in the world act like a Twitter troll. – Ricky Gervais
It’s pronounced ‘huge’ not ‘uge.’ And here’s another one, it’s pronounced ‘I am fucking delusional’ not ‘I am running for president.’ – Seth MacFarlane
It’s very shrewd of Hillary to get a disease that Trump supporters can’t spell. – Angela Barnes, referring to when Hillary got pneumonia
It’s not gone unnoticed by various commentators in Remembrance week that all three leading powers that won the second world war are now controlled by right wing nationalists, while the nation that lost is now the beacon of liberal democracy. – Steve Punt
It’s not just that he’s the worst person for the job, he might be the worst mammal. – Frankie Boyle
It’s pretty clear who ruined America: white people. I guess ruining Brooklyn was just a dry run. The caucasian nation showed up in droves to vote for Trump, so I don’t want to hear a God-damn word about black voter turnout. How many times do we expect black people to build our country for us, white people? This is the worst thing we’ve ever…no, I’m sorry, that’s a very high bar. But holy shit! And don’t try to distance yourself from the bad apples and say “It’s not my fault, I didn’t vote for him! Hashtag not all white people…” Shush! Shush! SHUSH! If Muslims have to take responsibility for every member of THEIR community, so do we. – Samantha Bee
It’s so interesting to me how faux mystified everybody is at Donald Trump’s rise, his ascension, and it’s no mystery to me. There’s no mystery at all. At least twenty-five percent of this country has always been ignorant, racist, xenophobes, who are easily appealed to on an emotional level. That’s it. That’s always been the case. They didn’t just pop up once Obama was elected. All this bullshit American exceptionalism. It just didn’t turn sour…It’s great to watch, entertaining to, to watch the Republican Party and the right wing media try to retro actively undo what they themselves have been creating for the last 35 years. But it’s too late, it’s too late, that’s America’s id, it is out of the bottle, they are desperately trying to tap it back in, like “Get that thing back in…” But it’s out there and it’s fucking rampaging all over America. And you can’t spend every single day for seven and a half fucking years telling these people that you’re president is a communist Muslim from Kenya who hates America and wants to destroy it, and not expect this to be the result. What the fuck? Of course, of course people are pissed off. – David Cross
Keeping up with Trump revelations is exhausting. By late October, he’ll be caught whacking it outside a nunnery. There are not many places left for this thing to go that don’t involve kids or cannibalism. We wait, miserably, for the dong shot. – Matt Taibbi
Let me just say Mr President the Office has taken its toll on you. You look terrible Mr President. No, you do man. I mean, look at you. Your hair is so white it tried to punch me at a Trump rally. – Larry Wilmore, speaking to President Obama at a dinner event
Like everyone else I am horrified that people believed these bumper sticker slogans filled with hate he spewed…You say lock her up and you know something about the word email but what was in the emails? You have no clue. Well I’ll tell you if you were able to read this far through the holes in your sheet. They said nothing incriminating. Nothing…I cry for you people who fell for shiny hats and reality catch phrases. – Amy Schumer
Maybe Trump saw the start of ‘Gone With The Wind’ (1939) and pined for the good old days. Heck, maybe even ‘Birth Of A Nation’ (1915). Ahh, the good old days. – Mr Fish
Meanwhile, establishment figures get away with not paying taxes, and who caused that? Muslims did, by calling out tax avoidance schemes from mosques. We think they’re singing “Come to prayers and praise Allah” but they’re actually wailing “Form a subsidiary company and place its assets in Belize where there’s only a tax rate of two cents” in Arabic. – Mark Steel
Mike Pence is uniting the Republicans. Now Republicans who are afraid of Mexicans can unite with Republicans who are afraid of gay people. – Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, at the RNC Convention, Aug 2016
Most people see being president as the end goal. Trump is like, “Now that I am president, I can finally be a successful business man.” – Trevor Noah
Never take business advice from a man who cannot sell vodka or steaks. – Stephen Colbert
Never tell Americans “You can’t be that stupid” because Americans will say “Don’t tell me how stupid I can be.” – Bill Maher
Normally a candidate is finished if he’s caught avoiding a parking fine, but Trump could be filmed trafficking children and he’d say, “That’s smart business. Hey, we’re teaching these kids the value of honest work.” Then he’d go up two points in the polls. He could admit his favourite way to relax was spending all Sunday walloping dwarves with a shovel, and be recorded heating up heroin on a naked Vladimir Putin’s arse, and his rallies would be even bigger, with crowds holding placards saying: “We all back the man who takes smack from a Russian crack”. The opinion of tens of millions of Americans appears to be: “He may be a sociopathic misogynist who would delight in destroying the planet, but he sends his emails from the right account so that’s the main thing.” – Mark Steel
On Aleppo he sounds like a fifth grader giving a book report on a book he never read. – Harlan Coben, referring to Trump’s response during one of the debates
On hearing about Trump being President, I’m being told that the Grand Canyon has committed suicide. It jumped into itself. – Stephen Colbert
One small step for a megalomaniac tycoon, one giant lurch to the right for mankind. – Andy Zaltzman
People are blaming the election on voters being stupid, which I think is very unfair to the racists. – Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
People look at the Statue of Liberty and see a proud symbol of our history as a nation of immigrants, a beacon of hope for people around the world. Donald looks at the Statue of Liberty and sees a 4, maybe a 5 if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair. – Hillary Clinton
People say “Hillary has a cough. Let’s elect a racist instead.” – Ed Burns, referring to Hillary getting pneumonia
People who voted from Trump said they wanted someone who would run America like a business. More and more though, it seems like voters got someone who is running America for his business. – Trevor Noah
Roger Ailes: will sexually harass for food. – Triumph The Insult Comic Dog (Ailes was former head of Fox News)
Should we be giving Trump the nuclear code? Or should we just lie to him and tell him it’s 1234? – Rich Hall
Some people will vote for Trump because then they won’t have to worry about voting ever again. – Trevor Noah
That image [of Trump hugging an American flag] pretty much sums up the state of the Trump campaign. Clumsy, fake patriotism, and unwanted physical contact. – Seth Meyers
That’s a problem for a lot of Americans: They just don’t love the two choices. I mean, do you pick someone who’s under federal investigation for using a private email server? Or do you pick someone who called Mexicans rapists, claimed the president was born in Kenya, proposed banning an entire religion from entering the US, mocked a disabled reporter, said John McCain wasn’t a war hero because he was captured, attacked the parents of a fallen soldier, bragged about committing sexual assault, was accused by 12 women of committing sexual assault, said some of those women weren’t attractive for him to sexually assault, said more countries should get nukes, said that he would force the military to commit war crimes, said a judge was biased because his parents were Mexicans, said women should be punished for having abortions, incited violence at his rallies, called global warming a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, called for his opponent to be jailed, declared bankruptcy six times, bragged about not paying income taxes, stiffed his contractors and employees, lost a billion dollars in one year, scammed customers at his fake university, bought a six-foot-tall painting of himself with money from his fake foundation, has a trial for fraud coming up in November, insulted an opponent’s looks, insulted an opponent’s wife’s looks, and bragged about grabbing women by the pussy? How do you choose? It’s so even. It’s so even. – Seth Meyers
The Christmas holidays are right around the corner and because Donald Trump is going to be president Santa can’t come to America anymore because he is a flying immigrant with a beard. – Trevor Noah
The Donald and I have a lot in common: We both live in New York, we both play golf, we both fantasize about his daughter. – Jeff Ross
The old sense of “presidential” meant magnanimous, patient and generous. The modern sense of presidential means being a corrupt, pussy-grabbing racist. – Stewart Lee
The only thing Donald Trump has done to liberate women is divorce them. – Hari Kondabolu
The person I feel sorry for in the last year is Silvio Berlusconi. Silvio Berlusconi must look at Donald Trump with the same amount of awe and raw envy that Ray Charles felt when Stevie Wonder came along. “He’s doing the same as me, only slightly better.” – Andrew Maxwell
The world has gone weird. It’s really difficult to know what to believe at the moment. The actual news reads like a spoof, while the spoof news is taken as real. It’s got to the point where people will believe stories from sources that are clearly absurd parodies of proper news, like the Onion, Click Hole, or the Daily Express…The real news is so surreally crazy that it’s hard to tell the difference any more. We have a reality show host as US president elect. Politics and entertainment finally seem to have combined into one terrifying mutant form. – from BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show
There have been Trump board games and phone contracts, credit cards, mattresses, deodorants, chocolate bars that look like gold bars, cologne sold only by Macy’s (‘Success by Trump’). He made $200 million over 14 seasons by being the star of The Apprentice, playing ‘Donald Trump’, the richest, tycooniest man in the world. Between 2005 and 2010, Trump made more than $40 million from thousands of students who enrolled in entrepreneurship classes at ‘Trump University’. Some say it was a scam. – Deborah Friedell
There’s a lot of things people don’t like about Hillary Clinton, but when she rubs you the wrong way, it’s just an expression. – Bill Maher
There’s two strands to propaganda…there’s this side of it that’s the ideology, that’s “We’re Americans, we’re exceptional.” I think the particular type of American exceptionalism is “We’re allowed to use force.” That’s the message you see in a lot of their entertainment. But there’s also distraction. So what you’re saying is there’s all this distraction so it’s okay. Michael Jackson had a lot of brilliant fun fair rides and petting zoos and stuff in the grounds of Neverland. That was the distraction. But there was something else more sinister going on. And with America we have the same thing, we have this “Yeah you can look over here, there’s some great movies from Pixar.” But at the same time, when it comes down to it, when we depict the military, or even just in our news, we are presenting an ideology that says “We’re exceptional and we’re allowed to do what we like.” – Frankie Boyle
They say ‘once you go black you never go back’. But they also say ‘orange is the new black’. If we go orange only time will tell if there is any going back, or anything to go back to. – Anon
This has been the biggest decision of maybe the last 50 years, maybe since the Second World War. I don’t know about you but anytime I hear that there is a big decision to be taken, I often think to myself I hope no Americans are involved in taking that decision. I hope no one from a country that made seven Fast And The Furious movies has any say in this. – Frankie Boyle
This is about the preservation of white supremacy. That’s what this is about. This is about white supremacy, that’s what got Donald Trump elected. And when I say white supremacy, I’m not talking about the KKK, because that’s not white supremacy, that’s white supremacy cos-play. Those are the comic book nerds of white supremacy…I’m talking about the white supremacy this country was founded on, because that’s what this country was built on. White supremacy and America go hand in hand. – Wyatt Cenac
This is the world we live in folks. We live in a world where a guy named Anthony Weiner can take a picture of his fundament and undermine democracy. It’s that simple to do. – Rich Hall
This is yet another attack from the liberal media on Donald Trump. How can he be a sexual predator? For a start, he’s not even Mexican…This is locker room stuff, guys. You know when you’ve been at the gym, and you’ve done a really hard work out, right…I mean, you don’t get a body like Donald Trump’s without working out. – Sarah Kendall
This must be bad. I’m a rich, white, straight, Anglo-Saxon male. And even I don’t feel safe. – Stephen Merchant
To be fair, Donald Trump doesn’t hate all women. It’s just the fat ones, the Mexican ones, the ones with unplanned pregnancies, the ones who don’t stick to the rules of beauty competitions, the ones who accuse him of sexual assault, and the ones who were married to Bill Clinton. – Frankie Boyle
Tonight we honor a self-made millionaire. He started with nothing, worked hard, and made a fortune…That man is Fred Trump, Donald’s dad. That’s right, for all his self-starter bullshit, he’s basically Jaden Smith with a comb-over. – Seth MacFarlane, from The Roast Of Donald Trump
Trump and Putin are such close friends that they finish each other’s elections. – Stephen Colbert
TRUMP BORED NOW…Donald Trump is bored of politics and wants to do something else now. The 70-year-old president-elect spent almost 20 minutes pretending to listen to a security briefing from the CIA, before telling the US Army to build a golf course on the moon. He said: “I get it, I’m the boss. Sure, Congress, whatever. But when do I get an eagle to perch on my arm? Anyway, I want to create the most beautiful golf course the moon has ever seen. Beautiful, just beautiful. You won’t believe it.” Drumming his fingers on his desk, he added: “Okay, what else? Can I pass a law today? Maybe annex some territory? Hey, imagine how impressed Putin would be if I defeated Isis this afternoon. Let’s do that. Yeah, we’re going to do that. We are going to do that.” – from The Daily Mash, 09 Nov 2016
Trump claims the elections are rigged. Yeah, I imagine a guy who runs beauty contests would know a thing or two about rigging elections. How come the winner of the Miss Universe contest is always from earth? – Rich Hall
Trump doesn’t make sense as a presidential candidate. He doesn’t even make sense as a human being. That’s because Donald Trump is not a person. Donald Trump is a feeling. It’s a thing that you feel. You just feel Trump. It just hits you. Like sometimes you’re mad and you’re upset and you want to curse somebody out. But sometimes you’re Trump and you’re just like “Fuck China”…He’s not a man. He’s a mood. – Ramy Youssef
Trump has launched an investigation into Bruce Springsteen’s background. He wants Springsteen to show proof that he was born in the USA. – Rich Hall
Trump has probably read the Bible only once but he’s had to swear on it about 40 times. – Triumph The Insult Comic Dog
Trump is a smart business man. When kids rang his bell and yelled “trick or treat” Trump yelled “trick” and before they could grab any candy he declared bankruptcy. – Jay Leno
Trump is a very successful author. He’s written 15 books. They all start on chapter 11. – Triumph The Insult Comic Dog
Trump is no intellectual. He’s not bringing Middlemarch to the toilet. If he had to jail with Stephen Hawking for a year, he wouldn’t learn a thing about physics. Hawking would come out on Day 365 talking about models and football. – Matt Taibbi
Trump is outraged that women have come forward making accusations. “How dare you claim I did the things I claim I do!” – Bill Maher
Trump is president. If you need me I’ll be on the moon, watching the world destroy itself. – Alex Adam
Trump represents so much of what we in Britain find worthy of satire about American culture: excessive wealth, deluded self-importance, bizarre cosmetic taste and the ability to talk for extended periods without actually saying anything at all. – Bob Moran
Trump sandwich…white bread…full of baloney…with Russian dressing and a small pickle and white American cheese…served by a Mexican. – restaurant sign
Trump told Africa to go back to Africa. – Trevor Noah
Trump Tower, also known as Chump Tower, is a tacky shit hole. It looks like something the Real Housewives Of New Jersey would pray towards. – Triumph The Insult Comic Dog
Trump will be the first US president to have never held any elected office or served in any branch of the military. In fact, Donald Trump is so privileged that the first job he ever had to apply for was president of the United States. – Stephen Colbert
Trump: “How’s that Mexican mall going?” / “Mall? We thought you said wall.” / Trump: “No way, that’s harsh. Also how’s that Muslim band looking?” – from r/Jokes chwder21
Trump’s face is so bloated with a hairpiece, I’m surprised he’s not married to Kelly Preston pretending he’s not gay. – Whitney Cummings
Trump’s main business experience is getting idiots to do pointless tasks on a bullshit reality TV show. – from The Daily Mash
Trump’s party looks like America, if you only hang out in gun shops. – Jonathan Chait
Tweets: “Donald Trump couldn’t milk a cockroach.” Trump: “I am one of the greatest cockroach milkers of all time.” – Sarah Churchwell
We are used to candidates saying “the stakes are great” but not like this. – David Axelrod, referring to Trump Steaks
We finally get to see Trump’s plan to destroy ISIS, which I assume is to buy it and run it like one of his casinos. – Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
We need a president who can get high, knows how to relax and chill. The only time Trump gets stoned is in the fantasies of every Muslim. – Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, speaking to Gary Johnson, who wants to legalise smoking weed
Well! How times change. Thirteen years on from ousting Saddam Hussain, now it’s America being run by a man in a gold palace whose ministers are mostly his family. – Steve Punt
What America has essentially done is vote for a Halloween pumpkin. Orange, scary, hollow on the inside. Actually that’s a bit unfair on the pumpkin. Halloween pumpkins do often have at least a flicker of light. – Andy Zaltzman
What did shock me about the US election was the number of people who thought Hillary Clinton wasn’t fit to be president, only because she was a woman. A lot of women even thought this. How ridiculous is that? Such a view point is outdated, it’s offensive, and it’s just plain wrong. Because sisters, correct me if I’m wrong, given a chance, given an opportunity, Hillary Rodham Clinton, she could have bombed brown children just as well as any man president. – Tez Ilyas
What is he doing with that baseball cap on his head? Trump looks less like a candidate and more like he’s going into the world series of poker. What the hell is he doing? You can’t see his face. You know how in movies you can always tell the evil guy because his face is shrouded in a shadow. And every time we watch the movie we’re going “It’s obviously him! It’s obviously him!” And right now aliens are watching us and going “It’s obviously him! It’s obviously him!” – Trevor Noah
What was obvious early on was that Clinton’s plan was to get under Donald Trump’s skin, and I’ve got to say, she brought the orange peeler, because she got in there man. – Stephen Colbert, talking about the first presidential debate
What’s the difference between Trump and Islamic State? It’s a beard. – Frankie Boyle
Who elects Lex Luthor as president? Who thought that was a good idea? Who was watching Superman and thought Superman was the villain? – Hari Kondabolu
Who gets in a fight with a musical? How is it possible that Donald Trump can get along with Putin but not Hamilton? – Jimmy Kimmel
Who knew that going bankrupt in Atlantic City was a stepping stone to the Whitehouse? – Bill Maher
Why do Donald Trump’s suits fit so poorly? He talks about all his clothes are made in China. I don’t understand why they fit like this. They’re made for you and by you. Why would they fit so badly? I wouldn’t be shocked if his suits fit like that because he exaggerates his measurements to his tailors. “No! My arm is this long! It’s this long!” It doesn’t make sense. – Trevor Noah
With regards to Trump and immigration, the irony is that immigrants don’t enter America nearly as often as Trump enters immigrants. – Triumph The Insult Comic Dog
You really want Trump to be president, don’t you? Let me ask you something, when you watched the movie Philadelphia, did you cheer for the aids? – Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, speaking to a Trump supporter
Zombies Delay Apocalypse, View Trump Victory As Proof Americans Don’t Have Brains To Eat. – future headline from Bill Maher
Michael Che: I like Donald Trump. I think he’s a hilarious dude. He doesn’t want to be president. He wanted to win. He ran that campaign like “I’m not gonna let this nerd beat me.” He just…He didn’t want to lose to Nerd Lady. That’s it. That’s it. He doesn’t want to be president. You think he really wants to be president? You think he wants to have dinner with Mitt Romney? Think he wants to sit across from people that he doesn’t even know how to pronounce their country or name? He doesn’t want to do that. That’s why he’s on tour. He goes on tour immediately. As soon as he won, he’s like “Eh, let’s go back on the campaign trail. That stuff was fun. I liked that.”
Trevor Noah: You know what’s funny is that that was like where I was like “This guy’s a stand-up.”
Michael Che: Yeah. The crowd is addictive. He’s loyal to the crowd. When he goes into Washington and he goes in the White House, he’s the dumbest guy in the room. When he goes to Bathwater, Pennsylvania, he’s a genius! They love him. – Michael Che, interviewed by Trevor Noah