There weren’t a lot of non-Trump-related upsides to the George W. Bush years, but there was one: it was a golden age for fake interviews. People would apparently just agree to sit down and explain their terrible ideas on camera, without asking too many questions about who wanted to interview them or why. The openly contemptuous interview was a go-to format for Jon Stewart’s Daily Show until they became too famous to get away with it—see, e.g., Steve Carell’s trip to Inglis, Florida to investigate how and why the town issued an official proclamation banning Satan:
Last week, the show returned to its roots, airing an interview between correspondent Desi Lydic and unrepentant Trump voter Jeremy Barnard, who owns a golf course in danger of being destroyed by Trump’s border wall. It makes a certain amount of sense: if you’re looking for people who somehow still think an interview with a Daily Show correspondent will turn out well for them, Trump voters have already proven to be a pretty credulous bunch.
But this is more than just a return to form for The Daily Show: it’s also a welcome antidote to the countless interviews, profiles, round tables, and forums in which Trump voters are treated with the utmost respect and politeness, even as they espouse reprehensible views. When someone says, “I think Trump truly cares about the American people,” the rational response is not to ask them to elaborate, it’s to throw up in your mouth, like Lydic does. The faces she pulls as Barnard explains his predicament—he thought Trump was kidding about the border wall, or something—are a breath of fresh air after a year of strained civility. “That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard,” she tells him at one point. It’s the “Good night, and good luck,” of our miserable age.