×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sean Spicer’s Emmy Cameo: Why Not Everyone Is Laughing

WASHINGTON — In a surprise appearance on the Emmys, Sean Spicer did what a lot of celebrities, politicians, and other controversial figures do when they are trying to reset their image: They turn to comedy.

So why aren’t people laughing?

On Monday, Dan Rather wrote that “It is not funny that the American people were lied to. It is not funny that the press was attacked for doing its job. It is not funny that the norms of our democracy have been trampled.”

NPR’s Eric Deggans: “Isn’t it funny! Sean Spicer comes out @ Emmys to lampoon moment he tried intimidating White House press corps over inauguration crowd. Sigh.”

After an evening in which he was hounded for selfies at post-Emmy parties, Spicer told the New York Times on Monday that he now has regrets chiding reporters over their reporting on the inaugural crowd size.

Kellyanne Conway, in an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” credited Spicer for his “good humor,” while zinging Hollywood. “This is something that folks in Hollywood often lack — which is introspection and good humor,” she said.

That “lack of humor” applies to other moments as well. When President Donald Trump retweeted a GIF of him hitting a golf ball that knocks down his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, his gallery of critics were aghast and some, like Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), called it “appalling and disgusting.” But a number of Trump’s supporters said that it was another example of not being able to take a joke, just as Trump’s prior retweets have been dismissed as jester-ish antics.

Yet Spicer wasn’t laughing so much seven months ago, when “Saturday Night Live” skewered his initial press conference, with Melissa McCarthy playing him. At the time, Spicer said that while there was humor in the skits, there was also a “streak of meanness” in them.

Seven months ago, Spicer apparently did not think it was so funny. Now, he’s in on the joke about his past fixation on crowd size.

Whether you are still laughing at the Spicer appearance probably depends on how seriously you take Trump’s divergence from political norms.

Walter Cronkite once recalled a moment during the 1964 campaign, when he was covering Ronald Reagan as he was out at Knott’s Berry Farm in California stumping for Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater. The aging crowd was unusual in their fervor for the candidate, to the point where Cronkite turned to a colleague and said, “This isn’t Knott’s Berry Farm, this is Berry’s Nut Farm.”

Reagan, Cronkite said, overheard him and let out a “big laugh, big laugh.”

“And then he cut that laugh short. And said, ‘Wait a minute, that’s not so damned funny.'”

Spicer actually is in a long line of political figures who have skewered themselves, whether it be on “The Tonight Show” or “Saturday Night Live.” Last year at the Emmys, it was Jeb Bush who made a cameo to mock his feeble performance in the presidential primaries. Self-deprecation can go a long way.

But chances are that if Spicer saw the Emmys as a way to soften his image for a future TV gig, he’ll be putting himself up for a lot more questions about his tenure with Trump. Seriously.

More TV

  • BBC Orders Spoof Talk Show Fronted

    Spoof Talk Show Fronted by an Animated Vladimir Putin Coming to the BBC

    The BBC will air a spoof talk-show fronted by an animated Vladimir Putin. The U.K. pubcaster has ordered two pilot episodes of “Tonight with Vladimir Putin,” a semi-scripted talk show hosted by a CGI representation of the Russian leader. The first guest will be Alistair Campbell, a former high-ranking political spin doctor in the U.K. [...]

  • Upcoming Fantasy Shows Like 'Game of

    10 Upcoming Shows to Watch if You're Mourning 'Game of Thrones'

    Millions of people’s Sunday night routines are ruined now that “Game of Thrones” is over, and there are holes in their hearts as big as the hole in The Wall that are aching for a new fantasy series to fill them. Several prequel series are on their way, but as there’s no word on just [...]

  • Game of Thrones Composer Ramin Djawadi

    'Game of Thrones' Composer Ramin Djawadi: 'I'm Still in Denial'

    Since the first season, Ramin Djawadi has composed the music for “Game of Thrones” and created the epic tunes, including the iconic theme song, heard over the series’ most memorable moments. With the series finished, he talked with Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s Beats 1 about his experience on the show and an upcoming 20-city [...]

  • TUPAC SHAKUR black panther collection

    ‘Defiant Ones’ Director to Helm Docuseries on Tupac, Who Assaulted Him in 1993

    Director Allen Hughes, who helmed the award-winning HBO documentary “The Defiant Ones,” has closed a deal with Tupac Shakur’s estate for a five-part docuseries for which he will have full access to all of the late rapper’s released and unreleased recordings, writings and poetry, according to an announcement from his rep. The announcement says the [...]

  • Ellen DeGeneres -- The Ellen Show

    Ellen DeGeneres Extends Daytime Talk Show Run Through 2022

    Ellen DeGeneres is sticking with her daytime talk show. DeGeneres announced Tuesday that she has signed a new deal to continue hosting “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” through 2022. There had been rumors for some time that DeGeneres was planning to leave the show when her current contract was up in 2020, something she leaned into [...]

  • How YouTube Is Trying to Get

    How YouTube Is Trying to Get Will Smith His First-Ever Emmy Nomination (EXCLUSIVE)

    YouTube could be the key to Will Smith finally earning a Primetime Emmy nomination — or win. The superstar Formerly Known as the Fresh Prince has been nominated for two Academy Awards, five Golden Globes and one Screen Actors Guild Award, and has won four Grammys (out of eight nominations). Yet a Primetime Emmy nomination [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content