For American comics, the end of the Trump years was bittersweet. It was a social and political faux pas to admit it, but his policies and antics kept an endless supply of jokes up their sleeves.
With Biden in the Oval Office, it’s the end of a comedic era. But rest assured, the novelty of having a half sensible Commander in Chief will soon wear off. Comedy will return home to its anti-establishment roots, it always does.
Centuries ago, jokes at the head of states’ expense were made simply and plainly to their faces. Holding an envied immunity, jesters and buffoons could fearlessly poke fun without facing consequence. In 16th century India, Tenali Rama spent his days making jokes at King krishnadevaraya’s expense. The story goes that Rama persuaded the King’s guru to carry him on his shoulders and, appalled by his own personal holy man’s humiliation, the King then ordered him to be beaten. Sniffing trouble Rama hopped off and begged for the guru’s forgiveness. As penance, Rama insisted the pious man sit upon his shoulders. The guards, playing their part perfectly, then confused the two men, attacking the guru. The King, taking delight in this tomfoolery, offered Rama a seat at his table.