As Trump and Republicans continue to lick their wounds while insisting that they won this election without a shred of evidence, it's important to remember that amidst calls for unity and bipartisanship it is also completely okay to mercilessly dunk on an administration whose legacy includes locking children in cages, banning Muslims from entering the country, getting impeached, mishandling a pandemic so badly that the White House was responsible for not one but two super spreader events in the past month and countless other human rights atrocities we won't easily forget.
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So it feels like a fitting time to revisit the short-lived and ill-fated comedy career of former White House Counselor, Kellyanne Conway. A clip of an old routine has recently resurfaced on TikTok and has since been making the rounds. Suffice to say, it's just as bad as you'd suspect. Taken from 1998 set for a charity event, Conway (then Kellyanne Fitzpatrick) is seen setting up a joke about her leg which lies in a cast just off screen.
"Everybody's wondering about my leg... it's the first thing they ask — 'Kellyanne what happened to your leg?'" Conway sets up the joke, putting on a persona that can only be described as an incredibly defensive Jerry Seinfeld, before barreling right through rest and blowing by the punchline in the same breath, "I'm like well everyone heard I'm going to be in this comedy show and they're like — break a leg! So I did." As the audience fills the subsequent silence with a polite yet tepid laughter, Conway attempts to save it with a kicker about "dumb blondes" but ends up stumbling over her words and effectively undercutting any point she had.
The TikTok clip is actually just a small fraction of a much longer 11-minute set that manages to be even more painfully awkward and excruciating than that. The routine kicks off with a ton of niche jokes and references that you probably wouldn't have got unless you were a Washington DC political insider in the late 1990s, but judging from the room's reactions even if you were they weren't especially funny. From there Conway segues into some material about what it's like to be a cable news "pundette" and being a lawyer.
In perhaps the most unintentionally self-aware moment of the whole routine, Conway explains that she no longer tells lawyers jokes because "the lawyers never think they're funny and the people never think they're jokes." She follows that up with a joke about a custody battle and child abuse as well as the obligatory Monica Lewinsky scandal crack that was standard for all comics in the late '90s. And as if it wasn't already enough of a train wreck, Conway ends her set with a just-as-drawn-out song about the "pundit blues," with nothing but a red feather boa and startling lack of shame left to cling to. Honestly, a couple dad jokes thrown in there would've been refreshing.
For all the masochists out there, you can watch the full 1998 stand-up set below and for the rest of you, let's all hope now that Conway is once again out of a job that at least this time she'll stay away from the open mics.
Photo via Getty/ Chip Somodevilla