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Listen: Anthony Atamanuik on the Serious Side of Satirizing Trump on ‘The President Show’

Anthony Atamanuik The President Show
Gavin Bond

WASHINGTON — Anthony Atamanuik, who plays President Trump on Comedy Central’s “The President Show,” says that his latest special reflects what he does: “Comedic activism.”

“A President Show Documentary: The Fall of Donald Trump,” debuting on Monday at 11 p.m. ET/PT, takes place in the near future and looks back at the president’s mysterious disappearance.

“This documentary is sort of a fork in the road in a way,” Atamanuik, who is also the series creator, tells Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM. “It is presenting two options. Do we enter an era of comedic darkness where reason no longer rules? Or do we choose to retreat from the slide and decide to return some sense of order to society but in a new paradigm that is not attracted to the old binary system that drives the two party system against each other.”

The fully scripted half hour is a departure for the show, but a number of figures are returning, including Peter Grosz as Vice President Mike Pence, Kathy Griffin as Kellyanne Conway and Mario Cantone as Anthony Scaramucci.

Atamanuik says that “we made it as real as we possibly could. We really tried to look into the future and see what we think would happen. The show has an incredible track record of predicting events, sometimes a year out.”

He notes that the show referenced the childhood separation policy at the border well before it became a national scandal last summer.

He says that too much satire about Trump has the feel of “sort of looking at the car wreck at the side of the road,” when in fact he is the symptom of a larger problem.

“I wish there was more satire that was not led by Trump but instead drove the narrative,” he says. “That is a rule that we always had of the show, which is that Trump doesn’t run us. We run Trump. And I wish the news media would follow that as well.”

His example: Kanye West’s visit to the White House, which consumed media attention for much of the day.

Listen below.

Why ‘Impeachment’ Is So Perilous

Tim Naftali of New York University is a co-author of “Impeachment: An American History,” having penned a chapter on the 1973-74 impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon. As some Democrats talk about starting the process of removing Trump from office, Naftali cautions that back during the Nixon era, a significant concern among congressional leaders was ensuring that both parties were part of the process. Nixon resigned after the House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of three articles of impeachment, and it became clear that he lost support of Republicans in the Senate.

Listen below.

The Saudi Ties

David Cohen of Variety and Emily Goodin of The Daily Mail talk about Saudi connections to American business and politics, now under a microscope after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Listen below.

“PopPolitics,” hosted by Variety’s Ted Johnson, airs from 2-3 pm ET/11 a.m.-noon PT on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS. It also is available on demand.