The Cutting Room

Lance BoyleLANCE BOYLE: “Good evening and welcome back to The Cutting Room, the show that shines the spotlight on movies and the people responsible for them. Odds are if you go see a new release today, it will be a sequel, a ‘reboot’, a comic-book adaptation or a version of a popular 20th-century TV show. The proliferation of such movies is a trend that shows no signs of abating. With me in the studio today to discuss the inexorable march of movie recycling is Larry Levy, CEO of Redundancy Entertainment.” (Lance Boyle turns from facing the camera to Larry Levy. They are both sitting in high-backed upholstered chairs across a black coffee table. “Welcome back to the show, Larry.”

LARRY LEVY: “Thank you, Lance, and thank you for that succinct analysis of modern movie making. Indeed, the age of paying for expensive, wordy scripts is going the way of the rotoscope and hand-cranked cameras. Originality is out; familiarity is in. When people go to the movies, they seek escape from the real world, which is becoming more insane by the day. They want to lose themselves in familiar surroundings: a favourite franchise, a favourite superhero or even a favourite TV show from their romanticized, pre-terrorism, pre-fascist past. Who can blame them?

BOYLE: “Movies have always been an escape medium--that’s not new—but won’t audiences get bored with the sheer volume of repetitive films?”

LEVY: “Did Pavlov’s dogs get tired of salivating for food when he rang the bell? Of course not. They knew a reward was coming. If there is a reward at the end of a movie, people will behave just as predictably. If they know they’ll come away satisfied and reassured, they won’t complain about how often they’ve seen the same characters because they will come to love them. How many Batman, Superman or Spiderman movies have been made? It doesn’t matter.”

BOYLE: “So, your films have no originality at all?!”

LEVY: “Well, there has to be something different, obviously, but only to serve the genre. Take Star Wars, for example. After the original series had run its course…”

BOYLE: “…and run out of steam.”

LEVY: (ignores the comment and continues) “…the producers started milking the main characters’ backstories, and that required inventing news characters and new situations. Solo, the early life of Han Solo, is in theatres now and is a perfect example of extending a franchise.”

BOYLE: “I hear it’s not doing very well though. It could even be the first Star Wars movie to lose money.”

LEVY: “It may not be living up to Star Wars standards, but it will make money and likely do very well in DVD release. It's still certified ‘fresh’ on”

BOYLE: “Speaking of standards in movie making, what can we expect from Redundancy Entertainment this year, Larry? More of the same?”

LEVY: “I’m glad you asked!”

BOYLE: “It’s what I do.

LEVY: “What do you get when you mash together The Beverly Hillbillies, House of Cards and The Godfather?” (Lance tries to say something but is interrupted before he gets a syllable out.) I’ll tell you what you get: A Living Joke!, the first political satire that is also a reality TV show!”

BOYLE: “How is that possible?! Satire mocks reality and is by definition not literally true. How can a show be real and unreal at the same time?”

LEVY: “Look outside, Lance: we live in unreal times. Politics has become so absurd, irrational and preposterous that it is a living satire of itself. Take the White House…please!”

BOYLE: “What you’ve said isn’t new. Remember George W. Bush’s eight years of warmongering insanity?”

LEVY: “Yes, but Donald Trump is different. Whereas W. was an establishment idiot, someone who was put into office by the very oligarchic ‘deep state’ powerbrokers, warmongers and banksters that Hillary Clinton represented and Trump ran against, Trump is an outsider idiot. That means a reality/satire like A Living Joke! can skewer the president without directly attacking those who really run the country. The show will feature actors portraying Trump and other major people in his administration, of course, but scripts will be inspired by real events.”

BOYLE: “Didn’t House of Cards already satirize the presidency by exposing Democratic Party corruption, election rigging, false-flag ‘terrorist’ attacks and foreign policy skulduggery?”

LEVY: “Yes and no. The show was not about real politicians, per se. As star Kevin Spacey explained, his Frank Underwood character, the U.S. version of Francis Urquhart from the original 1980 British mini-series, is inspired by the Shakespearean villains King Richard III and Iago. So, although it had factual overtones, House of Cards wasn’t ‘real.’”

BOYLE: “I guess you’d better explain how A Living Joke! works.”

LEVY: “Be glad to. Each of the three elements explains a facet of the Trump administration: the ‘who,’ the ‘what’ and the ‘why.’ First, The Beverly Hillbillies element is essential to establishing who the Trumps are and that the White House is alien territory to them. In the original 1960s TV show, the Clampetts are dirt-poor Ozark hillfolk that become instant millionaires after Jed Clampett strikes oil on their property. They move to Beverly Hills, but of course, they don’t fit in, and the show’s humour comes from the clash between the family’s rural naïveté and the cynical, urban culture of Los Angeles.

“Donald Trump is different. Whereas W. was an establishment idiot…Trump is an outsider idiot. That means a reality/satire like A Living Joke can skewer the president without directly attacking those who really run the country.”
— Larry Levy
BOYLE: “Are you making Donald Trump out to be another Jed Clampett.”

LEVY: “Hell, no! He has nothing of Jed Clampett’s warmth or folksy wisdom. Besides, Jim Varney already portrayed him in the 1993 movie. A Living Joke! takes the idea of a family of unsophisticates who are thrust into a world alien to their nature. The Trumps ‘struck oil’ when the intellectually desiccated Republican Party imploded, leaving the presidential nomination free for Trump to take. Over the last 18 months or so, Trump’s utter lack of diplomatic, intellectual and political acumen have shown him to be a genuine rube, albeit of the upper-class variety, and the moral opposite of Jed Clampett. Did you see Trump’s abrasive, petulant performance during and after the G7 Summit in Quebec and after? His personal attack on Canada’s prime minister was so immature and insulting that it proved he does not belong in government.”

BOYLE: “He really puts the ‘twit’ in Twitter, doesn’t he? I couldn’t believe his crack about Canada burning down the White House in 1812!”

LEVY: “That would be a neat trick since the event happened 55 years before Canada was founded.” (They both laugh.) But you see how this is TV gold! Of course, Melania, Ivanka and Jared Kushner are also featured but I want to get back to the three elements.”

BOYLE: “OK, what’s next?”

LEVY: “That’s right.”

BOYLE: “What do you mean?”

LEVY: “You said it: ‘what’ is next.”

BOYLE: “That’s what I asked you!”

LEVY: “And I’m telling you that you’re correct: ‘what’…is…next.” (Boyle starts to get impatient, but then the penny drops, and he realizes Larry is playing Abbot and Costello’s ‘Who’s on First?’ gag.)

BOYLE: “Very funny, Larry!”

LEVY: “I couldn’t resist! I love using old material, and you fell right into it!” (Boyle laughs, somewhat uncomfortably.) “Okay, the next element is House of Cards, and we’ve already discussed the sort of unethical and illegal acts the ‘upper-class hillbilly’ Trumps and their henchmen commit. The one major difference is that Spacey’s lead character in House of Cards was a smart, ruthless tyrant who manipulated those around him for personal gain; Trump, in contrast, is a vacant narcissist who acts on impulse and is manipulated by those around him. The effect is nearly the same.”

BOYLE: “One of the themes of House of Cards was that the male and female lead characters were married and effectively co-conspirators in treason. Is Melania being portrayed the same way?”

LEVY: “Good grief, no! She’s no ‘Claire Underwood’. Nevertheless, the issue of couples collaborating in political misconduct is still part of the show. Victoria Nuland, the former undersecretary of state who boasted that the U.S. spent $5 billion to overthrow the regime of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and subvert Ukrainian politics to serve NATO, is married to Robert Kagan, who belongs to a dynasty of zionist fifth columns. The point is they’re both Jewish and serve Israel within the U.S. political community, which happens to be a perfect segue into how the Godfather represents the third element of A Living Joke.”

BOYLE: “I don’t see how the mafia fits into Trump’s administration.”

LEVY: “Not the Italian mafia: the Jewish mafia! You see, Lance, there is no rational explanation for much of what Trump says or does if we assume that he is in charge of his presidency and acting in the American national interest. For example, as presidential candidate he decried the U.S.’s wasteful, self-destructive aggressions in the Middle East!”

BOYLE: “Yes, I remember.”

LEVY: Even in August/September 2013, after the staged gas attack in Damascus blew up in Obama’s face, he explicitly warned the president via Twitter—his favourite means of communication––not to attack Syria, saying ‘the U.S. will look very bad’ and ‘many bad things will happen’.”

BOYLE: “Don’t you just love Trump’s rich, sophisticated command of English!”

LEVY: “That’s the upper-class rube in him talking, but even a rube can be right now and then, and here Trump was right. Attacking Syria has no benefit for the U.S. Now, jump ahead to April 2017 and April 2018: Trump attacks Syria twice, each time an unprovoked, illegal act of aggression based on a fabricated pretext. How to explain this bizarre about face and still make sense of the Trump presidency?”

BOYLE: “Well, we should figure out who would benefit from an attack on Syria.”

LEVY: “Exactly! And who do you image that would be?”

BOYLE: “Well, certainly not the U.S., if I am to take Trump’s earlier warning at face value. That just leaves…Israel?”

LEVY: “Precisely! The domestic Israel Lobby, which dictates U.S. foreign policy, is the reason for Trump’s Jekyll-and-Hyde behaviour. You see, the zionist establishment was severely upset that its hand-picked catspaw Hillary Clinton didn’t win, so it had to find a way to work with Trump. Fortunately for the Lobby, Trump, the vacant narcissist, has no ideological or philosophical beliefs and loves to ingratiate himself with Jews. Now, whether the Judeophilic Trump has been coerced into doing Israel’s bidding or did it of his own accord is a matter for debate, but as long as he acknowledges the authority of the pro-Israel establishment he can reasonably expect support.”

BOYLE: “So, ‘Drain the Swamp,’ became ‘Stock the Swamp’.”

LEVY: “Indeed. We can see the Godfather-like influence of Sheldon Adelson in Trump’s illegal decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. John Bolton, the Christian zionist sociopath responsible for the phony “weapons of mass destruction” scam that led to the destruction of Iraq, is now Trump’s national security advisor and is pushing the U.S. to attack Iran for Israel. Warmonger Mike Pompeo left the CIA to become secretary of state after Trump fired Rex Tillerson, whose maturity, political sobriety and disinclination to war had become obstacles to Israel’s interest. By firing Tillerson, Trump essentially fired his former self.”

BOYLE: “Didn’t Trump want to tear up the Iran agreement before he got into office?”

LEVY: “Yes, but that was out of ignorance and prejudice, not out of a desire to serve Israel. However, the Lobby has exploited Trump’s Judeophila to serve its own purposes. It’s not clear that Trump even knows he’s being used.”

BOYLE: “So, if I understand A Living Joke! correctly, it’s about an upper-class rube that enters the White House and is co-opted or compromised by the Jewish mafia, leading him to betray his own beliefs and commit acts of domestic and international criminality for a foreign government.”

LEVY: “I believe you’ve got it, and the way things are going we're going to have great material for the foreseeable future.”

BOYLE: “Well, I see that we’re out of time. Thanks for showing us something new from Redundancy.”

LEVY: “Thanks, Lance.”

BOYLE: “May the farce be with you!”