“The President Show” First Look Review

Chad White

The President Show
“Keith Olberman”
Season 1, Episode 1

This is a First Look Review of Comedy Central’s The President Show starring Anthony Atamanuik and Peter Grosz.

I'm white. I live in this nation. I guess that makes me a white nationalist.

This is a very tough review to write. For one, I’m using first person – something I try to avoid. Secondly, I don’t think it’s very smart nor is it profitable in the long term to dedicate an entire show – be it parody in nature or not – to someone who was mocked for running for then subsequently won the presidency. It just keeps that person in the headlines and he will be in both positions for a while. It sucks. For everyone. Why couldn’t we use our universal hate of one person to help make the only other person on the ballot the president?

Now we’re stuck with an incessant amount of new shows or monologues or documentaries dedicated to something that never should’ve happened. Comedy Central’s The President Show is probably the most elaborate to date. Anthony Atamanuik (who’s impression has been spot on since day one; fans should check out the tour album he did with James Adomian) stars as The President who announces in his cold open that he’s decided to skip the media entirely and make his own show. The premise is funny enough and it’s also nice to see Atamanuik get the amazing set dressing that he’s always needed. The President takes the cold open from the White House press room, standing in front of a crowd of reporters. Then, during the theme song, he transitions to a redesigned Oval Office. It’s a clever bit of work.

Like any other late night host, The President is joined by a sidekick: The Vice President (Peter Grosz). The two have a fun rapport with each other but a lot of the conversation can come off as prepared. The decision to have a sidekick must have been a quick discussion but it doesn’t work as well as Andy and Conan or Schaffer and Letterman. Although the two do manage to fill the air with hilariously strange dialogue. The first episode flows well enough with the common skits and segments one comes to expect from a late night, politically driven comedy show.

The President does a “The Word”-esque homage with “Nice! Not Nice!” as he describes things that fall under those categories. After that one, there’s a package that has our dear leader visiting his very large, golden apartment building in New York. He can’t get into the room (he has no problem entering the building because the make up and Atamanuik’s facial expressions are pitch perfect) so he decides to go on a tour of downtown. Some people think he’s the real deal and others know it’s a big joke. Again, this show walks the line of promotion and satirical and it makes me feel torn. The interview with Keith Olberman is funny but ultimately forgettable.

Should you watch The President Show?

 It has its moments and is very funny overall. But I have trouble watching something like this or Colbert’s monologues or anything that continues to rub America’s mistake in our face. But kudos to Atamanuik and Comedy Central for putting a show like this together.