And so we come to the age-old question: Should politicians do comedy? Ted Cruz tested the limits in this sketch with NBC’s Tonight Show and Jimmy Fallon, pretending to take a call — and some advice — from Donald Trump. Cruz has been looking to expand his personal connection with voters, but does this work?
Fallon goes on to offer the Texas senator some advice for his appearance on the “Tonight Show.”
“Well that’s a very generous offer, Donald.” Cruz says. “I appreciate you being the bigger man.”
“Oh I’m the bigger man, with the bigger hands. And the bigger –“ the fake Trump responds while pointing downward. “You can’t see me but I’m pointing at my Trump Tower.”
“I’m really glad not to be on Facetime right now,” Cruz says.
Americans like politicians with a sense of humor about themselves. Ronald Reagan had that quality, as did Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, all of whom would occasionally tell self-deprecating jokes to bridge the divide between themselves and the people at large. This clip doesn’t provide much of that quality for Cruz, who actually is more personable in small settings than he’s generally credited, but we do see a flash of that when Cruz gets asked by Fallon/Trump about his “New York Values” comment. Cruz claims he was offering a compliment by talking like Yoda and calls New York City the best place in the world, while insisting that he’s not going to pander to the Big Apple.
Mostly, though, Cruz plays straight man while Fallon goofs on Trump, and gets to recite his main campaign themes unchallenged on national television. It may not work as comedy, but it’s a well-spent five minutes for Cruz regardless. He’d better not get used to it, though. If and when Cruz becomes the Republican nominee, he’ll go from straight man to target on the late-night shows in nothing flat.