At Least the US Election Gave Us These Memes and Jokes

Tom Nicholson
·8-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Esquire

Everything unfolding in Wisconsin, Arizona, Philadelphia and Michigan right now could not be more serious and important. But that doesn't mean that we can't have a bit of fun, right? Right?

Right?

'Fun' is probably stretching it, but there are definitely some good tweets, jokes and memes to be had right now, even if the general air of desperation and doom is really overwhelming and it's unlikely to be dispelled in the next day, or even the next week, or perhaps the next three months. Still! Let's all have a big old laugh shall we! Eh!

Friday began for us in the UK with Donald Trump's deeply mad address from the White House at bang on midnight. Between the lies about the count, the lies about who was apparently to blame for the count, and the lies about binoculars, there was at least one crumb of comfort.

Overall though, it feels like things are getting a bit Mugabe in the Oval Office.

In an attempt to parse exactly the state of play in there, we've seen an extremely brisk trade in football analogies over the last couple of days. This is probably the one that makes the most sense.

Trump's oddly low-energy meltdown called to mind some of sport's great brain wobbles of the last few decades too.

The bottom lip's definitely wobbling right now. Though, if we're being really accurate to the Gascoigne career trajectory, this might end up being closer to the point where he launched himself into Nottingham Forest's Gary Charles, snapped his cruciate ligament and was never the same player again.

Blaming the potential loss of the election on the fact that he and Mike Pence decided to go on a sightseeing river trip down the Seine rather than do any scouting of Iceland the Biden campaign would be quite neat, but at least lovely Roy had the good grace to say "I don't really know what I'm doing here" at the top of that post-loss press conference. But, really, the king of them all is this one.

Molto, molto benne. We've seen a couple of different versions of this, and many deeply questionable MS Paint drops of different people's faces on top of King Kev's, but it has to be Trump rather than Biden. Remember: Keegan blew a lead, lost his head, and came second.

[A quick NB for our American friends: King Kevin Keegan is a former Newcastle United manager, whose full-blooded cri de coeur came during the 1996 Premier League run-in, when Man United manager Alex Ferguson suggested that teams weren't trying as hard against Newcastle. This very minor jab riled Keegan to the point of using a post-match interview to declare that he would love it – love it – if he beat them. Reader: he did not beat them.]

Meanwhile, the wait for Nevada to pull its collective finger out and use it to leaf through some bloody ballots.

Thursday was all about Trump's new line of attack: the charge that we have to "STOP THE COUNT!!!" But only in the states where Trump's still leading. Don't look at those other states. They're just noise. Probably get rid of them, to be honest. Waste of time. So, anyway, STOP THE COUNT has been the shriek of the day.

Then again, some people are still playing catch-up. It's a fluid situation, especially when you're on a lag and for some reason there are loads of adverts for fungal foot cream every five minutes. You don't get that with David Dimbleby on BBC One.

Today's schedule: telly on in the background, swapping between Sky and CNN every 20 minutes, check your phone ever 10 minutes, panic in the group chat every half hour.

With the three months of in-fighting, litigation and a full-on mad king Trump, all coping mechanisms are welcome at this point.

[An NB to our American friends: Paul O'Grady and Roy Walker are major cultural figures in the UK, broadly comparable in their heft and contribution to the vibrancy and life of the country as someone like Robert Redford or Steven Spielberg in your country. Paul O'Grady is best known for hanging out with dogs on Paul O'Grady: For the Love of Dogs, while Roy Walker and his colleague Mr Chips were immortalised on the £20 note in the mid-Nineties. The achievements of Mr Chips, a kind of computer generated robot mushroom who popularised the wearing of neckerchiefs, are too numerous to list here.]

So, the president finally woke up. And he was not happy, mostly because, while he was asleep, THINGS. BLOODY. CHANGED.

Now, as anyone who's watched even a few seconds of election coverage will know, this shift is because on-the-day votes skew Trump, and the mail-in votes that have been counted overnight skew Democrat. In other words, the only conspiracy here is the ordinary counting of votes, leading to the expected result, which is why Twitter saw it prudent to flag the tweet as misleading. Cue the wags.

On this side of the Atlantic, there's some comfort to be drawn from the endearingly tinpot way that elections in the UK smash people's dreams.

Less so from the not very endearingly tinpot line-up of talking heads which we've had to white-knuckle our way through on results day morning.

Still, anything to feel faintly superior for a few hours.

The atmosphere can turn sour very quickly though.

Even more so when certain public figures apparently can't be contained by the grave.

She's baaaaack! And so is TS Eliot, ouija-tweeting an updated 'The Waste Land'.

Kanye's officially conceded now as well, so that's that mildly diverting subplot all tied off for another four years.

One for the CNN heads.

And finally, the question you've been asking yourself since 4am.

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