Al Madrigal Got a Personal Note From Donald Trump Telling Him He's "An Idiot"
The former 'Daily Show' correspondent discussed satire in the age of Trump at Politicon.
Donald Trump, before he became president, had a well-documented history of sending critical notes to journalists who wrote negative articles about him. I'm Dying Up Here actor Al Madrigal revealed at Politicon on Sunday that he was lucky enough to receive one such note a few years ago.
Madrigal, a former Daily Show correspondent, gave an interview to New York magazine in 2013, during which he said that Trump is "adorable in an evil Muppet sort of way."
He then received a call from Trump's secretary, who asked for a fax number to reach him. Madrigal received a faxed version of the article in which Trump circled the snarky comment and wrote, "I just want you to know that I think you're an idiot." The president added a smiley face for good measure, Madrigal said.
Asked during the panel discussion whether Trump has been good for comedy, Madrigal said the president "stopped being funny almost immediately," citing Trump's June 2015 comment that some Mexican immigrants are rapists.
The Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef pointed out that, in his native country, there are far more restrictions on political comedy. He got hearty laughs when he said that Kathy Griffin was guilty of "Muslim culture appropriation" when she held up a mock bloody, decapitated head of the president during a photo shoot in May.
During a question-and-answer session after the discussion, an audience member mentioned White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci's vulgar comments about Steve Bannon — published last week in The New Yorker — and asked, "What do you do as comedians when the best material is coming from the Trump administration?"
Youssef said his satire show in Egypt had a similar problem and chose to just air videos of the country's political leaders saying ridiculous things without really doing a bit. The show's producers decided, "We can't top that," he said. "And maybe this is actually the best thing that you can do because politics aren't meant to be that ridiculous or funny."
Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, who was supposed to appear on the panel, canceled minutes before the event began, film producer Norman Golightly said. According to Golightly, who moderated the discussion, Stone relayed that "he feels there's no such thing as satire in the age of Trump," and then he walked to his car.
Stone was interviewed earlier by former MSNBC host Toure and shut down a heckler by bragging that he was the subject of a Netflix documentary (Get Me Roger Stone). He told the audience member, "No one's ever going to make a film about you."