A sly, funny bit of class criticism from an unlikely source. The usual punchline to the recurring “Black Jeopardy” skit is just what you’d expect. The first two contestants are black while the third is white, and the white guy/gal — although well-educated — is completely at sea in trying to answer the questions. Normally it’s a gag about how insulated whites are from most of black culture. Not this time.
They do go for a cheap joke about bigotry at one point, when the Trump fan played by Tom Hanks recoils as the black host approaches, but that’s the only note that’s out of tune. The rest of it is a commentary about how working-class blacks and whites have more in common than they’d think, from conspiracy theories to their tastes in women. It may be the first (somewhat) sympathetic spoof of Trump supporters on an American comedy show all year. And it’s timely, not just in terms of the election but in playing off of the wider divide between better-educated and less well-educated whites that seems to be coming to a head. Their lifestyles and cultural tastes have been diverging for years, so why shouldn’t their politics? Working-class whites are all-in for Trump and populism; white college grads, although normally a Republican group, are breaking hard for Clinton. This skit, by subbing in a “Fishtown” type for the usual “Belmont” figure, makes the point that class differences help explain what America’s going through right now as much as racial differences do.