You can watch Our Cartoon President early on YouTube. The first year of the Donald Trump presidency, among many other aspects, has served as a challenge for comedians. How can comics make comedic hay out of the day-to-day absurdity, and possibly improve on, or rise above, the daily churn? Late night comics have attempted to rise to the challenge, but hosts like John Oliver, Seth Meyers and Jimmy Kimmel have more often drawn headlines for earnest explainers and emotional appeals than for anything funny.
Another late night host, Stephen Colbert, made his bones doing political satire on Comedy Central, and he’s carried that over, somewhat, into his hosting of The Late Show on CBS, including occasional appearances by Colbert’s Comedy Central alter ego, usually accompanied by his old partner Jon Stewart. Another political bit used by Colbert has been Cartoon Trump, in which the host interviews a literal cartoon of the president. Showtime recently announced an entire spinoff for the cartoon chief executive, and now you can watch it.
The first episode of Our Cartoon President has been posted to YouTube, ahead of the series’ premiere on Feb. 11. The series, created by Colbert and four other producers from the Late Show, features actor Jeff Bergman as the voice of Donald Trump.
The first episode focuses on Trump preparing his State of the Union address, while also trying to come up with a plan for his wedding anniversary with First Lady Melania Trump. We also see Trump meeting with his cabinet, trying to get ahold of the nuclear football, and (of course) watching Fox News from his bed.
Does the show work? Intermittently, yes. Bergman has the Trump voice down perfectly, and there are some clever touches in the writing, including the intro jingle “hey white people on the couch… it’s Fox & Friends.” The animated caricatures are mostly strong, with very funny drawings of Trump's sons and Paul Ryan and the one of Jeff Sessions with giant ears is inspired. The impression of Sean Hannity, however, sounds nothing like him.
It’s not as biting as Comedy Central’s The President Show, but the first episode represents a good start. The worst case scenario? The Comedy Central series That’s My Bush, which in the early days of the George W. Bush presidency, tried to wed political satire to a parody of sitcom conventions, and represented a rare misfire for creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
Our Cartoon President is available on YouTube now, and debuts on Showtime Feb. 11.