As I’ve written here before, Republicans hate “cancel culture” — that is, unless you say something they don’t like, in which case they will do everything in their power to silence you. We’re currently seeing this in action with the current GOP campaign to target Disney with legal threats and boycotts for the company’s opposition to the Florida GOP’s bigoted legislation, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics.
Greene — who has spewed anti-Muslim hate, trafficked in antisemitism and recently spoke at a white nationalist conference — wasn’t going to let Kimmel's jokes at her expense go unchallenged.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has recently taken cancel culture to new heights by attempting to have late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel arrested for mocking her. That’s right, Greene went “Karen” on a comedian.
Greene — who Kimmel comically referred to on his show as “Klan Mom” because of her past support for white nationalism — was apparently triggered by Kimmel’s joke about her recent tweet that three GOP senators supporting the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court were “pro-pedophile.” Kimmel first read her tweet to the audience and then quipped: “Wow, where is Will Smith when you really need him?” to big laughs from the studio audience.
Moments later Kimmel again took a dig at Greene, with the comment that possibly truly pained her. “Besides that being disgusting, that woman is good pals with Matt Gaetz, who is currently under investigation for trafficking minors for sex,” Kimmel said, joking “It’s scum and scummer.” That had to hurt — comically, I mean. I can already see the memes, maybe even merchandise inspired by the classic comedy film “Dumb and Dumber,” featuring images of Greene and Gaetz instead of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels.
Only Greene — who has spewed anti-Muslim hate, trafficked in antisemitism and recently spoke at a white nationalist conference — wasn’t going to let Kimmel's jokes at her expense go unchallenged. In response, she claimed she had filed a police report with the Capitol Police for “this threat of violence against me.” (There has been no independent confirmation that she ever filed such a report.)
I find Greene to be despicable, but even if Kimmel had called for violence against her, I would denounce it. But that’s not what happened here. We all know it was a joke by a comedian on a late-night comedy show about a public political figure. Kimmel didn’t urge his viewers to “knock the crap out of” Greene if they saw her. He didn’t tell his viewers, “I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees” — which is what her beloved Trump told his supporters about countering hecklers at his rallies. That’s what inciting violence looks like.
On Thursday, Kimmel responded to Greene on his show, making it clear he doesn’t “condone” any type of violence. But again, that’s not what this is about. As Kimmel aptly pointed out, “She decided she was going to get some political mileage out of this.
Greene, like Trump, doesn’t want to be laughed at.
Kimmel also did an admirable job Thursday calling out Greene’s glaring hypocrisy by noting that the Capitol Police, whom she allegedly filed a report with, are the “same police she voted against giving a congressional gold medal to for defending our Capitol against the insurrection she helped incite on Jan. 6.” Kimmel joked, again to huge laughs at the expense of Greene, “After processing the fact that someone called the police on me — believe it or not, that has never happened to me in my life — I tweeted back, ‘Officer? I’d like to report a joke.’”
But there’s something else at play here that’s much deeper and more sinister. It’s that Greene, like Trump, doesn’t want to be laughed at. They want to be taken seriously, even feared. This is why Trump consistently attacked comedians who mocked him, including Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert. He even called for the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission to investigate "Saturday Night Live" for ridiculing him. It also explains why Trump never attended a single White House Correspondent’s Dinner while he was in office; he was unable, or unwilling, to take being laughed at. Just watch Trump’s pained, stonefaced reaction to late-night host Seth Meyers comedically crushing him at the 2011 White House Correspondent's Dinner. Wannabe dictators don’t want you to laugh at them. They want you to fear them.
But what the king and queen of thin-skinnedness don’t seem to get is that when you go after comedians, you merely ensure even more jokes at your expense. In 2017, Trump lashed out at Colbert, calling him “a no-talent guy" who was not funny. In response, Colbert gleefully declared on his show, “Mr. Trump, there's a lot you don't understand, but I never thought one of those things would be show business." He added, "Don't you know I've been trying for a year to get you to say my name? And you were very restrained … but now you did it. I won!" Colbert hasn’t let up on Trump jokes since.
If Greene thought that going “Karen” on Kimmel would stop him from ridiculing her, I hope she didn’t watch his show Thursday, when one of his best jokes was, “Now she’s dialing 911 because she got made fun of. She’s a snowflake and a sociopath at the same time — a ‘snowciopath.’”
Maybe next Greene will call the FBI on Kimmel. But I can assure you that won’t stop Kimmel or any other comedian from continuing to turn Greene into a human punch line, a title she’s more than earned.