October 20, 2016

At the weird dark farce known as the Al Smith dinner, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off for the last time before Election Day.

My personal feeling about this dinner is that it's really weird to pull candidates off the campaign trail and make them play nice with gentle barbs and self-deprecating jokes. It feels like something bound to go off the rails. This year is definitely no exception.

Trump went first. The only funny joke in his entire presentation was made at the expense of his wife, Melania. He complained that Michelle Obama gives speeches and people cheer, but when Melania gives the exact same speech, she gets ripped for it. It wasn't too terribly bad if you overlook the fact that he has to embarrass his wife for a laugh.

But for the most part, Trump was dark and unfunny. At one point, he was so terrible he was booed by the New York society dukes and duchesses who paid a fortune to attend the dinner.

New York society was not amused.

For her part, Hillary's speech was mostly funny with a few targeted barbs carrying a payload. Like this one:

There was a moment where Rudy Giuliani was mentioned. He was not amused. And then there was this line, when Hillary mentioned the Statue of Liberty, and imagined Trump giving her a 4. Or a 5. Or 45.

The full Hillary speech is at the top. I didn't include Trump's full speech because it's just unfunny. CSPAN has it if you're into self-punishment.

I know these dinners are for charity, but this felt as stressful as the debate. I don't imagine these dinners being viable as long as one of the two parties running for President is nasty, vindictive, narcissistic and mean.

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