Trump dumping was in full force tonight at the dual WGA Awards ceremonies. At previous awards shows this season – from the Golden Globes to the DGAs – winners, honorees and presenters made impassioned speeches against the current administration’s offensive policies and, at times in their protests, even refused to mention President Donald Trump by name. But tonight was a full-fledged roast of the Commander in Chief.
L.A. host Patton Oswalt obviously set the table this evening. “People here tonight are angry about two things — that Deadpool is nominated for Best Screenplay and that Trump is President,” he said. “Donald Trump, I want to be very careful about making jokes about. I don’t want to be kicked to death tonight by James Woods,” at which point Woods leapt onstage.
Oswalt continued, “I feel bad for Trump. Here’s what happened: They had the [White House] Correspondents’ Dinner, Obama went up and made fun of Donald, and Donald said, ‘I’m taking his job.’ Now he’s sitting there saying: ‘This job sucks! My life before this was amazing!’ … Donald Trump taking Obama’s job would be like if the head of linguistics at Rutgers made fun of David Lee Roth … and he said, ‘I’m the head of linguistics at Rutgers. Bring on the hookers and cocaine!’”
Back in New York, where the WGA East’s awards were taking place simultaneously, host Lewis Black exclaimed, “We’re living at the intersection of satire and reality.” Triumph the Insult Comic Dog also was a presenter in NYC tonight, saying, “The only way this show could be longer and more awkward is if Donald Trump were shaking its hand.”
In between the laughs tonight, WGAW Paddy Chayefsky honoree Aaron Sorkin reminded the room that in a notorious sociopolitical era, it’s the storytellers who can rescue a tarnished national conscience:
“From time to time I write stories about politics, so it was suggested to me that I might have something to say about the situation in which we currently find ourselves. It will come as no surprise that I do. So in the spirit of Paddy Chayefsky, here it goes: We’ve been told that as coastal elites, that we’re something less than real Americans and that we’re out of touch. If you find it mind boggling that living and working in the two largest cities in America makes you less than a real American, you’re not the one who’s out of touch. If you don’t find it remotely credible that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally in the last election, then you’re not the one who’s out touch.”
“If you think The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, NBC News, CBS News, ABC News and CNN lie with impunity and that the only trustworthy is Fox and Friends, you’re not the one who’s out of touch. And if you don’t think that turning away people who are seeking a safe haven from unspeakable brutality is a morally defensible idea, than you’re not the one who is less than a real American. So, what can we do? A lot actually. Because the most powerful delivery system ever invented for an idea is a story. The men and women in this room, and the one just like it in New York are America’s storytellers. And we come from everywhere: We’re old and young, black and white, gay and straight, wealthy and struggling, and liberal and conservative.”
Watch Sorkin’s full speech here:
However, keeping in the tradition of comedic sketches and bits, one oasis of Trump-punching came from Upright Citizens Brigade alum Anthony Atamanuik, who gave Alec Baldwin a run for his money as far as Trump impersonations go.
Taking the stage in full orange pancake makeup, Atamanuik’s Trump blasted those in the Beverly Hilton ballroom, saying that when they hired WGA writers for NBC’s The Apprentice that the guild doesn’t “send their best. They bring the drugs, crime and awful spec scripts of 2 Broke Girls. You’re bad writers because you wrote 2 Broke Girls, but at least it’s not Whitney.“
The WGA Trump said that he was classifying the Lifetime movie “as a crime against humanity.” He added: “Now that I’m in power, I’m going to build a firewall around [screenwriting program] Final Draft, and Movie Magic is going to pay for it.”
Faux Trump also took digs at the WGA for not holding its awards ceremony in a Trump hotel and also heralded George Jefferson “as a great businessman.”
He also promised all of those in the industry tonight. “I’m not getting impeached,” Atamanuik said. “It takes two years to file an impeachment. I won 304 electoral votes and it’s huge. Kellyanne Riefenstahl says it’s the biggest win ever. A total landslide — or a mudslide for you Californians. If you count crooked Hillary votes, I won them all: All one million electoral votes.”
Additionally, upon accepting the award for Best Documentary Screenplay for Command and Control, about the 1980 near-launch of a nuclear missile from Arkansas, writer Robert Kenner chimed in about Trump: “We thought these weapons were going to make us safer, but we realized they also make us much more dangerous. Today with Donald Trump as president, the great irony is he wouldn’t even be allowed in a silo.”