When The President Show first premiered in April 2017, there were immediate concerns about how sustainable a fake talk show hosted by a relatively unknown comedian cast as Donald Trump would really be. As outrageously hilarious as the show could be at times—especially when star and creator Anthony Atamanuik used his expert improv skills to interact with the real world as the president—Comedy Central ended up canceling the show after just 20 episodes.
And yet the network couldn’t bring itself to quit The President Show for good, promising a series of specials that included a Christmas show in which Atamanuik posed as Santa Claus at a real mall and this past April’s Make America Great-A-Thon, which turned out to be an elaborate sting operation conducted by the FBI.
Inspired by the recent rise of true crime documentaries like The Jinx and Making a Murderer among others, the special projects 12 years into the future to ask—and ultimately answer—the question: What happened to Donald Trump?
In a series of interviews “conducted between October and November of 2030,” the cast of characters that has surrounded Trump on The President Show delivers some of its best performances to date. Part of the joy of the special is the way it slowly reveals where each of these Trump enablers has ended up without the president to cling to for media oxygen and life support.
Among those returning to the show are Kathy Griffin’s Kellyanne Conway, her clothes a little flashier, her hair a little messier. There’s Peter Grosz as a curiously tanned and relaxed-looking Mike Pence. Adam Pally’s Donald Trump Jr., identified as “former son to the president,” appears to be living at an Indian ashram. And Mario Cantone is back as an utterly unchanged version of The Mooch.
New to the team is Stephanie March, of Law & Order: SVU fame, as Ivanka Trump, who last saw her “daddy” on his deposition tape with the IRS in 2024, after which he “vanished,” never to be seen again.
Over the course of the special, we learn how the “beginning of the end”—Democrats winning the House in 2018 and appointing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaker—led Trump down his path of destruction. Along the way, we’re treated to spot-on parodies of both the Woodstock documentary, representing Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, and Gimme Shelter, which chronicled the violent Altamont festival and represents his Steve Bannon-fueled post-presidency shot at a comeback.
The show is filled with worst-case scenario predictions for Trump’s post-White House life. News reports reveal that Melania Trump has filed for divorce and started dating Colin Kaepernick. Trump Tower has been purchased by Jeff Bezos for “pennies on the dollar” and renamed Amazon Tower. Later, we see some of the business schemes and reality shows Trump and his family have to resort to in order to maintain some level of wealth after everything is taken from them.
“That was a low point,” March’s Ivanka says serenely. “Even lower than my previous low point with the kids in cages or whatever.”
On The President Show, some of Atamanuik’s best bits featured a sort of trick where he would lull the audience into the inherent silliness of Trump and then make a sharp turn to reveal the disturbing darkness beneath the president’s surface. It’s that extra level of satirical depth that consistently elevates his portrayal of Trump above everything Alec Baldwin has done to date on Saturday Night Live. And he does it again near the end of the new special, in the form of a eulogy Trump delivers for himself, by video, at his own funeral.
“People used to say that fascism would never come to America,” Atamanuik’s Trump says in front of an ominous black void. “But then I came along and made it look easy. Because the Republican Party had laid the groundwork for over 70 years. I didn’t take over the party, I just ripped the veil off. Turns out it was a hood!”
With this terrifying and mostly joke-free monologue, the special ends with a warning to viewers just two weeks before the very real midterm elections, which could actually mark the “beginning of the end” for Trump. As gratifying as it may be for Trump’s critics to watch his downfall, the show is telling us, it’s not going to happen on its own.
After a special like this one, it’s hard to see how Anthony Atamanuik can continue playing Trump. How can he possibly top this final nail in the coffin, so to speak?
“There’s a certain point at which I will have done my duty with it,” Atamanuik told me in an interview this past April. “There will be a point where I will have done everything I can do and will want to move on and do other things. Then he can go home and I can go home and we can both put our wigs away.”
If this was his swan song, it was a hell of a way to go.