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Seth Meyers admits viewers are tired of politics, but he’s part of the reason why


If you kind of like Seth Meyers but kind of dislike his politics, you’re in luck. The late-night host’s first stand-up special for Netflix, released this week, lets you skip the President Trump jokes entirely.

After Meyers strays from a quip about Kevin Spacey in his stand-up Lobby Baby he announces, “So, I want to talk about politics for a second.” The crowd, of course, cheers.

“But I also know there are people who don’t like jokes about politics and because this is on Netflix, it presents us with a unique opportunity. We are going to have an option for people watching at home to ‘skip’ politics,” he says.

On cue, a “Skip Politics” button appears on the screen.

Meyers told USA Today that he chose this unique setup because he simply wanted to make more viewers happy.

“I was aware certainly that it’s a far less political special than what I do here every day, and I thought it was a nice way to respond to those who would complain about people who do politics in their comedy,” he said.

Some people responded online by saying they’d skip the special altogether, thank you very much. Maybe “politics” isn’t quite the problem.

The political bit is short, lasting about seven minutes, and fairly tame. Meyers’s most aggressive zinger sounds like a line from the #Resistance Quotation Book: “It turns out he has very thin skin, which is ironic because it looks thick — like the heel of a catcher’s mitt.”

The comedian’s bit about all of the anti-Trumpers who promised to move to Canada before Trump was elected, though, is on point. Why didn’t they really move? Because they “just don’t want to live in f—ing Canada.”

If you skip the politics, you reenter just in time to hear Meyers say, “So I guess my point is, I misjudged him, and I do think he’s a very good president.”

The rest of his stand-up special is a funny and heartwarming parade of the craziest things that have happened to him, his wife, and his two children, including the time his wife got food poisoning on the day of their wedding and how she gave birth to their second child in their apartment building’s lobby.

Meyers shines when he’s telling stories. When he throws in the anti-Trump bit, it rattles like a monologue designed to just please his late-night peers. What kind of self-respecting comedian would he be if he didn’t take time to bash Trump, even if the results are distinctly less humorous than the rest of his material?

The problem people have with politics, as Meyers naively understands it, is that people are tired of anti-Trump jokes. Though that’s largely true, particularly on the Right, Meyers miscalculates what really bothers viewers. The problem of politics is more fundamentally this: Audiences on both sides of the aisle have grown tired of politics becoming a stand-in and a substitute for comedy.

Meyers even admits that, ironically, Trump’s presidency has been great for his late-night show. It has given him plenty of content, though it hasn’t necessarily helped his ratings. Trump jokes may keep Meyers in the news, just like his “Skip Politics” button, but they won’t make his comedy any better.