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

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.”

Popular on Variety

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.

More Politics

  • Police and rescue workers stand next

    Dozens Injured as Car Plows Into German Carnival Parade

    More than 30 people were injured on Monday in the western German town of Volkmarsen when a man drove his car into a crowd of people watching a carnival parade. The 29-year-old driver, reportedly a German national, is suspected of purposely targeting the crowd when he drove a Mercedes-Benz station wagon into the Rose Monday [...]

  • The Suspended Mourning

    Berlin: Hernan Caffiero Sets Up Two Series About Victims of Police Violence as Chilean Industry Protests Brutality (EXCLUSIVE)

    Inspired by the victims of violent crackdowns by Chilean police, filmmaker Hernán Caffiero is looking to tell their story. Caffiero is currently developing two series about human rights crimes and the effects of police brutality in Chile, one a four-part documentary, the other a follow-up to his Intl. Emmy-winning “The Suspended Mourning,” a dramatized collection [...]

  • Bernie Sanders, Jane Sanders. Democratic presidential

    Bernie Sanders Wins Nevada Democratic Caucus

    UPDATED: Bernie Sanders has won the Nevada caucus. Per the Associated Press, Sanders has captured 46.8% of the delegates with 10% of precincts reporting. Joe Biden is in a distant second with 20.2%. Peter Buttigieg finished third with 14.3% with Elizabeth Warren in fourth with 9.7%. Tom Steyer finished fifth with 4.7%. Amy Klobuchar round [...]

  • Clint Eastwood

    Clint Eastwood Ditches Donald Trump for Mike Bloomberg in 2020 Election

    Longtime Republican Clint Eastwood is pulling support from Donald Trump in the 2020 election. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the actor-director signaled that he thinks a different candidate would be the better choice. “The best thing we could do is just get Mike Bloomberg in there,” he said. After endorsing Mitt Romney [...]

  • EFM 1st European Film Politics Seminar

    Berlin: 1st European Film Politics Seminar - Protecting Independent Film Production

    Leading industry reps gathered on the opening day of Berlin’s European Film Market for what is certain to be a continuing discussion about leveling the playing field for independent producers across Europe and demanding greater engagement in the sector from global players. The 1st European Film Politics Seminar aims to set the political agenda of [...]

  • Donald Trump Parasite

    Trump Mocks 'Parasite' Best Picture Win: 'What the Hell Was That All About?'

    President Donald Trump took aim at “Parasite’s” historic Oscar wins at a Colorado rally on Thursday. “How bad were the Academy Awards this year?” he asked, prompting jeers from the crowd. “Did you see it?” “The winner is… a movie from South Korea! What the hell was that all about?” he went on. “We got [...]

  • EFM Euro Film Policy Seminar

    Berlin: European Film Policy Seminar Examines Changing Landscape

    The Berlinale’s European Film Market opened on Thursday with the inaugural European Film Politics Seminar, offering a look at the pressing challenges facing independent European producers in a fast-changing landscape increasingly dominated by the growing number of U.S. streaming giants. The seminar was hosted by Steven Gaydos, executive vice president of global content of Variety. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content