Is Trump Bad for Comedy? (ShoreFire Media)
Arts Event Press release

Is Trump Bad for Comedy? Live Debate from Intelligence Squared U.S. in NYC and Online November

Some say that the Trump era has normalized the absurd, challenging satire and political comedy in a post-truth world. But others disagree; they argue that the president serves up comedy-gold every day, making their jobs – and the laughs they seek to elicit – easier than ever before. And, they argue, comedy is much more “woke” than it used to be, with late-night hosts and comedians playing a pivotal role in the fight for social justice. Is Trump making the funny business funnier and ever more relevant? On Thursday, November 1, debate series Intelligence Squared U.S. brings four expert comedy writers and performers to the stage to debate the motion “Trump Is Bad for Comedy.”

Best-selling author P.J. O’Rourke and stand-up comedian Sara Schaefer debate in favor of the motion. Debating against the motion are ‘Veep’ supervising producer Billy Kimball and Studio 360 host Kurt Andersen, who recently co-wrote a book in the voice of Trump himself alongside Alec Baldwin.

The debate will be held at NYC’s Kaye Playhouse and stream live online, then air soon after as part of the syndicated public radio show and podcast “Intelligence Squared U.S.” On November 1, online viewers can tune in at IQ2US’s website:

WHAT: Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates “Trump Is Bad for Comedy”
WHEN: Thursday, November 1 / 7:00-8:30 PM EDT
WHERE: Kaye Playhouse, 115 East 68th Street, New York, NY
TICKETS: $40 ($12 for students w/ ID). To purchase, visit

Arguing for the motion:

* P.J. O’Rourke: Political Satirist & Best-Selling Author
P.J. O’Rourke is a leading political satirist and editor-in-chief of the web magazine American Consequences. He has written nineteen books on subjects as diverse as politics, cars, etiquette, and economics, including his most recent book “None of My Business,” as well as “Parliament of Whores,” and “Give War a Chance,” which both reached number one on the New York Times best-seller list. He is a contributing editor at the Weekly Standard, a research fellow at the Cato Institute, and a regular panelist on NPR’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me.”

* Sara Schaefer: Stand-Up Comedian, Writer & Producer
Sara Schaefer is a critically acclaimed stand-up comedian, writer, and producer who has won two Emmy awards and a Webby award for her work on “Light Night with Jimmy Fallon.” She has written for Ed Helms’s Comedy Central special, “The Fake News with Ted Nelms,” and co-hosted, with comedian Nikki Glaser, the MTV show “Nikki & Sara Live.” Schaefer has been named one of New York Magazine’s “10 Comedians to Watch” and one of HuffPost’s “53 Favorite Female Comedians.”

Arguing against the motion:

* Kurt Andersen: Host, “Studio 360” & Best-Selling Author, “Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire”
Kurt Andersen is the best-selling author of three critically acclaimed novels. His non-fiction books include, most recently, “Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History.” He is the co-author, with Alec Baldwin, of “You Can’t Spell America Without Me,” a fictional Trump memoir. Andersen is also the host and co-creator of “Studio 360,” the Peabody award-winning public radio show. Previously, he co-founded Spy magazine, a monthly satirical publication that frequently featured Donald Trump.

* Billy Kimball: Writer & Emmy Award-Winning Supervising Producer, “Veep”
Billy Kimball is an Emmy award-winning supervising producer for the hit HBO series “Veep” starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and a writer known for his work on “The Simpsons,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Cedric the Entertainer Presents,” and “Lateline.” Kimball was previously the original executive producer of “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn” from 1999 to 2001 and the senior vice president and chief programming officer of Fusion TV. He was a writer for the Academy Awards in 2016 and 2017.


A non-partisan, non-profit organization, Intelligence Squared U.S. was founded in 2006 to address a fundamental problem in America: the extreme polarization of our nation and our politics. Their mission is to restore critical thinking, facts, reason, and civility to American public discourse. The award-winning debate series reaches over 30 million American households through multi-platform distribution, including radio, television, live streaming, podcasts, interactive digital content, and on-demand apps on Roku and Apple TV. With over 150 debates and counting, Intelligence Squared U.S. has encouraged the public to “think twice” on a wide range of provocative topics. Author and ABC News correspondent John Donvan has moderated IQ2US since 2008.

Spread the love