Back in March, Alec Baldwin announced that in light of the success he has found impersonating Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, he would be co-writing a satirical memoir of the president with Kurt Andersen, detailing Trump’s first year in office.
Despite the fact that Baldwin once questioned if his impression was making a difference—technically he wondered if it was too funny to make a difference, which, don’t worry buddy!—they went forward with the book.
This seemed like a terrible idea from the get-go, but now that an excerpt has been released, I can confirm to you that the memoir, titled You Can’t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump, is still a terrible idea.
The Hollywood Reporter published the excerpt (along with a Soundcloud link to Baldwin reading a portion of it). Here’s the kind of thing we’re working with:
My inauguration, the actual legal takeover of the government with the Bible and then the speech, felt totally fantastic. Everybody watching, everybody listening, not just the 2 million or 3 million there on the Mall but like a billion people all over America and all over the world, on TV and online — probably on radio in Africa and India — so many watching, so many listening, no laughing, no talking (just me talking), total respect, even the haters terrified into a kind of respect, everyone focused on President Donald J. Trump. It would’ve been perfect if I hadn’t had to read the speech, because reading always brings down my mood, both in public out loud and by myself. But they wouldn’t let me wing it. Still, incredible, amazing, phenomenal.
The crowd size joke was old when Sean Spicer repeated it at the Emmys. It’s rotting in its grave in this memoir. There’s also an extended bit where Trump describes a conspiracy the intelligence community and others have undertaken against him, likening it to a circle jerk, only to find he is saying this aloud to Reince Priebus and Kellyanne Conway. Hahahha.
Everybody tells me I can’t be the first president to install a TV in the Oval. “Why can’t I?” I said when we first walked in on Friday. “The American people would love me for it. We could hang a pair of small screens, 30 inches, 40 inches, either side of the big window there, behind the desk, where those paintings are. TVs are just the better, modern version of paintings, right?”
When I got back to the White House, I didn’t want to watch them lie on CNN, and during the day between Fox & Friends and primetime Fox TV is pretty boring, especially on Saturdays, so I used the time to really inspect the place. It’s elegant, but it’s not 21st century superdeluxe. My personal taste is luxurious and continental, what Ivanka calls “more Abu Dhabi, less Alabama” — no offense, Jeffy Sessions, you Alabama pixie.
Jeff Sessions is among the easiest of Trump’s cronies to dunk on, and “Alabama pixie” was the best they could come up with.
I don’t envy anyone involved in this book, which seems to be the embodiment of a collective midlife crisis. Satirizing Trump is difficult, partially because the unending crises he puts our country through happen so quickly that a longterm project like a memoir will absolutely be outdated. Also, Trump is far more ridiculous and embarrassing in real life than any satirical version of him.
And then there’s that thing that Trump is still insanely dangerous, abiding by a narcissistic and authoritarian sensibility that operates off white supremacy. Focusing only on his stupidity as opposed to the actual threat he poses to our country defangs him. Trump was a joke until he was elected. Now he’s an immense hazard to the safety of anyone who isn’t a rich white dude like Alec Baldwin, and to forget that for one second defeats the purpose of the satire. And something tells me there’s not going to be a lot of searing commentary about white nationalism in this book.
Perhaps those promoting the book decided to lead with its weakest points, and the rest of the book is pointedly, almost tragically funny. But from what we’ve seen, You Can’t Spell America’s biggest fault is that it is inoffensive and boring.