Judd Apatow’s Biden/Trump Joke at the DGA Awards Was A Rare Win for ‘Both Sides Are Bad’ Comedy
In all of political comedy, nothing is more annoying than a fence-sitter who acts like they’re above the left vs. right, Biden vs. Trump debate while still taking part in it. Judd Apatow just showed the “enlightened centrists” what it means to ridicule both sides without giving his audience an excuse to stay home on election day.
The legendary comedy filmmaker behind beloved classics like Superbad and The 40-Year-Old Virgin has spent the better part of the last decade re-honing his stand-up skills after many years of neglect. Apatow, a New York native, started performing stand-up while he was still in high school and spent seven years trying to break through, peaking with an appearance on HBO’s Young Comedians Special. Sadly, Apatow had to settle for a critically and commercially successful career as a film and TV writer, director and producer that rivals the body of works of any artist in comedy history instead of spending the next three decades touring college campuses and cranking out the occasional Netflix special. That is, until Apatow released his debut hour Judd Apatow: The Return on Netflix in 2017.
As one of the most successful and respected film directors in Hollywood who also happens to have stand-up experience, Apatow is, perennially, an obvious choice to host the Directors Guild of America Awards. This past weekend, Apatow performed hosting duties for the annual ceremony in Los Angeles for the fifth time, and he took the opportunity of speaking to a room full of his influential peers to talk politics, telling his fellow guild members, “I swear to God, if this is the only time you vote this year, you can all go fuck yourselves.”
“I’m your host Bradley Cooper in an even more beguiling Jewish nose,” Apatow opened, poking fun at the controversy surrounding the Maestro star/director’s massive prosthetic schnoz. He then took aim at the DGA itself, commenting on their role (or non-role) in the recent entertainment strikes by saying, “My agent said I should have held out for more money, but in the spirit of the DGA, I accepted their first offer.”
Considering what a complicated and important year 2024 will be for most non-super-wealthy Americans as we approach the presidential election, Apatow felt it fit to insist that his fellow magnates take national issues seriously and use their platforms appropriately. “We need — as an industry — to encourage people to vote,” he began, before delivering one of the early contenders for “Best Punchlines of the Election Cycle,” saying of the presumptive race between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, “We have a presidential election coming up between a guy who was old enough to have met Hitler, and a guy who just wishes he had.”
Without being preachy or campaigning for his preferred candidate, Apatow was able to bring an important issue to the minds of powerful people who have the wealth and influence that would allow them to comfortably ignore it entirely. Hopefully, as America approaches November with anxious anticipation, we get more of this kind of political comedy instead of the apathy-inducing both-sides bashing that just boils down to “Douche vs. Turd.”