After Jimmy Fallon hosted Donald Trump for one of the most innocuous and silly interviews of this entire presidential campaign, he received a barrage of criticism and was forced to deliver a half-hearted mea culpa on Saturday Night Live. But if he thought he could get away with taking Trump lightly while seated next to Bill Maher on Monday night, he was sorely mistaken.
Throughout the Real Time host’s appearance on the Tonight Show, Maher tried to make a serious point about how dangerous he believes Trump would be as president. And every time Fallon tried to turn his comments into a light-hearted joke. Eventually, Maher had to come out and tell him directly, “It’s not funny.”
Maher began by reflecting on his long-awaited interview this past week with President Obama, which also took on a deadly serious tone for what is ostensibly a comedy show. “I wish he could be president again, not that Hillary would not be a great president,” Maher said, admitting that Clinton is “not a great candidate,” who “campaigns like a hospice nurse.”
But Maher’s tone quickly turned more dire as he told Fallon’s younger viewers how different this election has been from the ones he’s seen before, including the fact that the FBI seems to have no problem with Russia hacking one party’s emails. “The FBI is our internal police force, they are supposed to not take sides,” Maher said. “They’re with Russia.”
After Maher ranted against Trump’s “locker room talk” excuse for saying he likes to grab women “by the pussy,” Fallon asked him, “So you’re rooting for Trump, is that what you’re saying?”
This was the moment that Maher told Fallon, “It's not funny.” He went on to say, “I mean, it’s funny, and we are trying to be funny. And, look, we are funny. But it’s not funny.” Of course, that didn’t stop him from telling his own jokes about what might happen Tuesday: “People say, can he win? Does Chris Christie eat over the sink?”
Asked by Fallon to address any voters who are still “undecided,” Maher said, “First of all, really? I mean, he’s a racist, a liar, a tax cheat, a deadbeat, a Russian agent, and a sexual predator. ‘How do you find your way out of the door in the morning?’ is what I would say to the undecideds.
“But no, what I would say to the undecideds is what I’m trying to say here,” Maher said, now reminding himself to stay serious. “This is a different beast than we’ve ever encountered before.”
As Maher began to break down the stats that disprove Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again,” you could tell that Fallon had officially left his wheelhouse. Like most Americans, the Tonight Show host will almost certainly be happy when this election is over and he can stop talking about politics on a daily basis. Maher, on the other hand, probably wouldn’t mind if this thing kept going forever.