It’s Called ‘The Circus’

INTERVIEWER: We use a lot of metaphors for presidential elections, like “race” or “wrestling match,” et cetera. If you had to construct a metaphor for the 2016 election thus far, what would it be?

INTERVIEWEE: Well for me Mark, this election cycle has been like a —

INTERVIEWER/MARK: Don’t say my name, because the audience won’t hear me in the final piece. So also if you could kind of repeat the questions back in your answer, like —

INTERVIEWEE: Oh right, right, sorry, I know. Got it. So for me, this election… Ask me the question again.

MARK: We use a lot of metaphors for presidential elections, like “race” or “wrestling match” or things of that nature. To you, what has this 2016 election cycle been, metaphorically?

INTERVIEWEE: Well… To me, this 2016 election has been like a —

MARK: Stop. Sorry. Helicopter.

INTERVIEWEE: [LAUGHS] I thought I did something wrong again.

MARK: Nope, just the noise, can you hear that?

INTERVIEWEE: Yeah, yeah. Okay, ready now? This election has been —

MAN: Hey, John?

INTERVIEWEE/JOHN: We’re filming.

MAN: We tried to turn off the air conditioning to make your thing quieter but I think the thing we turned off was the sprinkler system. So don’t start any fires while you’re in there.

JOHN: [LAUGHS] Okay, no problem. So no progress on the A/C?

MAN: No, guess you’ll just have to deal with the noise.

JOHN: Alright. Okay, we still rolling?

MARK: Mm-hmm.

JOHN: If I had to compare this 2016 election to anything, I would definitely say it’s been a circus.

MARK: Go on, expand on that.

JOHN: This 2016 election cycle is a circus. It’s crazy and action-packed. It’s got spectacular performances. There are a lot of animals involved.

MARK: Animals?

JOHN: Donkeys, elephants. The party symbols.

MARK: I guess.

JOHN: Also… “Political animals” is a phrase, I think.

MARK: Maybe, but not sure that’s good enough.

JOHN: Okay, scratch that. This election is like a circus. Everybody just picks a side and roots for their guy until the very end.

MARK: In a circus?

JOHN: And it’s in Orlando more than anywhere else.

MARK: What?

JOHN: But that brings me to my next point: Who is the Black Knight of this year’s election?

MARK: Oh my God, you’re thinking of Medieval Times. Not a circus.

JOHN: Is Medieval Times not a circus? Have I ever been to a circus then?

MARK: The show isn’t called The Medieval Times: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth presented by Showtime, it’s called The Circus, colon, all that other stuff.

JOHN: Crap, what should we do?

MARK: Look, I know what a circus is. Let’s just switch places.

JOHN: Really?

MARK: Yeah, you’re the interviewer now, sit over here.

JOHN: Okay.

MARK: It’s only the one question, so just ask it again.

JOHN: [CLEARS THROAT] If this election were not an election but a totally different thing, what would it be?

MARK: The 2016 election is a circus. That’s just the perfect comparison, it’s an absolute circus. When I go to a circus, the main thing I’m thinking is “All of this is silly and unnecessary, and it won’t solve the big problems our country is facing today.”

JOHN: Uh huh.

MARK: It’s unnecessarily combative, like a circus. Why do there have to be three rings? I want to watch the ponies and the acrobats and the jugglers, but they make me choose just one!

JOHN: Great.

MARK: Circuses are full of clowns!

JOHN: Yes!

MARK: The way that these candidates act… They’re clowns, aren’t they? For one, Trump’s hair is funny, much like clowns. Sometimes the candidates scare children on accident, I bet. And… Shit, I need a third one.

JOHN: Those are strong, but we do need a third comparison point there. Oh, do you hear that? I think they finally turned the A/C off.

MARK: Yeah. Do we need to redo everything, then?

JOHN: Uh… Nah, just keep going. Is there a third way the election is like a circus?

MARK: Do presidential candidates ride around in tiny cars? I can’t remember, but I feel like they do.

JOHN: It’s usually like really big buses I think. Kind of the opposite. I can also imagine a big Escalade or something, maybe.

MARK: Huh… Oh! They wear makeup! For TV! Like clowns!

JOHN: There we go, excellent. We’ll edit that together. What else is circus-like about this election?

MARK: Well, I know you were talking about a different thing earlier, but the point is still valid: This election does have animals, much like a circus.

JOHN: Yeah, redo that one since now you’re the guy on camera.

MARK: Okay. We called our big serious documentary show about how the election works The Circus because elections are a lot like a circus, mostly in that they involve animals. Like donkeys and elephants.

JOHN: Oh, crap.

MARK: What?

JOHN: No more elephants in the real circus anymore.

MARK: What?

JOHN: Yeah, cruelty or something.

MARK: Well there are still animals.

JOHN: Right, yes. Anything else?

MARK: Uh… Oh, one of us has to say the promo line for Showtime with the juggler behind us.

JOHN: Oh, right. Somebody call the juggler to come in here.

JUGGLER: Hey, guys. Where’s my mark?

MARK: Hi, I’m Mark. [LAUGHS]

JUGGLER: [LAUGHS]

JOHN: [LAUGHS]

MARK: But seriously, right stand right behind me. Just start your thing and I’m going to say The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth, only on Showtime, then keep juggling for two seconds, and we’re done. Okay?

JUGGLER: No problem at all.

MARK: Okay, still rolling?

JOHN: Yup, just look straight into the camera and say your thing. Juggler, go.

MARK: The Circus: Inside the — Holy Lord, that’s hot. What are you — Oh shit, you’re a fire juggler?!

JUGGLER: Ah! Don’t yell at me, I’m a little skittish.

JOHN: Don’t drop the torches! Pick that up! Pick that up!

JUGGLER: Don’t yell at me!

MARK: Jesus Christ, my chair’s on fire! And the rug!

JOHN: Fuck, the sprinklers are off!

MARK: Run! Crew, grab all the cameras and run!

JUGGLER: I can’t believe this is happening to me again!

The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth can be seen every Sunday on Showtime, or on demand on Showtime.com or the Showtime Anytime app.

A thematically appropriate photo from Flickr Creative Commons