On the one hand, Jimmy Kimmel Live‘s “Lie Witness News” segments can be very funny. Like when Jimmy Kimmel‘s correspondent roamed Hollywood Boulevard in search of people who didn’t realize that the CNBC Republican debate hadn’t happened yet and trolled the sh*t out of them.
Sure enough, there were plenty of people who were politically unaware enough to fall for the premise — that the third debate had already happened, and that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had done some more Donald Trump things. It’s all a numbers game, after all. If you ask enough random people the same stupid question, you’re bound to get enough stupid answers to edit into a single clip.
On the other hand, it’s the kind of smoke-and-mirrors that comes off less as clever and more as cheap. That is, Kimmel et al. are basically lying to people in order to collect as many laughable, sharable moments as they can for the segment. It’s essentially a watered-down version of what The Daily Show used to do more of with its produced bits during the early years of Jon Stewart — before the show’s success made such productions nearly impossible (since everyone knew who they were).
Is it funny? Hell yes it is. Kimmel’s off-camera correspondent is able to ask some of the dumbest, head-in-the-ground questions about Trump brandishing his muscles at the debate, and the interviewees depicted fall for it.
Is it mostly just a collection of soon-to-be-forgotten cheap shots? Definitely. Trump jokes aren’t even a dime a dozen these days, especially when they’re used to make fun of other people (instead of Trump).
Aside from Trump, and maybe his die-hard supporters, no one is probably going to complain too loudly about the segment. (Not even the people featured. Besides, it’s not like any names were given on the air.) Yet with a political climate as charged as the 2016 presidential election cycle, and with all the bullsh*t that’s already spilling out onto television from the four previous debates and 24-hour cable news’ constant coverage, it sure would be nice the entertainers we often think of as satirists did more satirizing and less absentminded finger-pointing — regardless of whether or not anyone complains.
To put it another way, Mr. Kimmel: Are you more of a Jay Leno or a David Letterman? One loved to make fun of people, the other preferred making fun for people.
Check out the clip above, via ABC.
[Image via screengrab]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.