Full Frontal has the disadvantage of only airing once a week, which in our political climate means it has to catch up on more scandals and crazy news stories from the past seven days than you’d expect in an entire year from a different administration. Host Samantha Bee recapped the week’s news, covering everything from the media’s rush to declare Trump “presidential” for behaving like a normal human being during his congressional address to his Tweet accusing Barack Obama of wiretapping him during the campaign with zero evidence.
But never mind the president’s behavior, which has become the new normal—what about his staff, who seem unable to contain his wild mood swings? “If there’s no one brave enough on his staff to tell their boss there’s only one p in tap, there certainly isn’t anyone brave enough to tell him Obama isn’t running a coup.” noted Bee. “Are we going to have to eliminate another civil liberty every time the president gets cranky and won’t go down for his nap?”
Speaking of someone’s staff dropping the ball, Full Frontal also ran another segment on Wednesday about the Conservative Political Action Conference, which included a moment that had the show’s staff promptly putting their foot in their mouth. During the segment, correspondent Michael Rubens noted in voice-over that last year’s CPAC “was dominated by Ted Cruz supporters and chirpy little shits with bow ties” but that at this year’s event “the bow ties were gone and replaced by Nazi hair.” Unbeknownst to Rubens or Full Frontal, one of the CPAC participants in the corresponding montage was Kyle Coddington, a blogger for Outset, whose close-cropped hairstyle is not an expression of white nationalist sympathies but the result of treatment for stage 4 brain cancer.
Yikes. All things considered, Coddington, a #NeverTrump conservative, had a generous sense of humor about the whole thing.
Full Frontal’s official account and Rubens tweeted their apologies, and the segment was pulled from YouTube, later to be replaced with a version that edited Coddington out entirely. Executive producer Jo Miller told the Washington Post later in the day that Full Frontal would make a donation to Coddington’s GoFundMe page to fund his treatment, which it then did.
There are plenty of lessons to take away here for comedians—and for politicians and ordinary citizens, too. Making fun of someone’s appearance, especially if you don’t know who he or she is, is almost always a bad idea. When you’re wrong, it’s best to admit your mistakes right away and make amends if you can. And know that a Hitler Youth haircut does not a Nazi make.