Why people in MAGAland still talk to Klepper

I mentioned recently my puzzlement that Trump’s MAGA followers still talk to Jordan Klepper even though his clips make them look ridiculous. In an interview, he answers that question, saying it it is not hard at all to find people willing to talk, even if they know of him and his work.

But at a Donald Trump rally in June, he looked genuinely flabbergasted when a couple of young women seemingly had no knowledge of what happened on January 6, 2021 (see clip below).

“There’s definitely a surprise to be found at every Trump event,” Klepper tells Deadline. “I wish I could say that we went to these places, and we were fishing for people, but that’s not the case, we only talk to anybody who would like to talk to us. More often than not, people want to come in and talk to us. But the fact that they had never heard of January 6, even the terminology around insurrection was new to them was frankly shocking to me. I knew there was a rock a lot of people lived underneath, I just had no idea it was so encompassing.”

One of the more curious elements of Klepper’s segments is why so many right-wing folk are willing to talk with him, given that he is essentially making fun of them. But he likens it to being a heel in wrestling, that Trump supporters see this as entertainment.

“I probably took 50 or 60 selfies with people who were excited to just see somebody involved in the narrative surrounding this Trump World,” he says. “There are even politicians at CPAC who would come up and ask if they could set up a time [to talk]. You become like a villain in the Trump universe. It’s always that the rallies are like a sporting event. There’s ideology, there’s pomp and circumstance, it is fun, it’s entertainment and that also speaks to why people talk to me.”

Still seems a bit strange to me. Maybe it is because I at least try not to look like an idiot, even if I do not always succeed.


  1. sonofrojblake says

    I at least try not to look like an idiot

    This is why it seems strange to you -- you value knowledge, you respect learning, you elevate expertise. But as Michael Gove famously observed, the public (he meant the British public, but it works x10 for the American public) have “had enough of experts”. Anti-intellectualism has won, here and in the US.

    For these people, looking like an idiot is not a bug, it’s a feature. They’d really, truly, be more worried about coming across as clever -- if any of their neighbours or fellow-churchgoers had reason to suspect they might have two braincells to rub together, they’d risk ostracism, even potentially violence.

    We all surely observed similar at school. The UK insult for kids who dare to be clever is “swot”. Not sure what the US equivalent is -- nerd? Pencil-neck? But the tendency of the stupid to circle the wagons starts before our age hits double figures. All this proves is that these people never really grew out of it.

  2. says

    But at a Donald Trump rally in June, he looked genuinely flabbergasted when a couple of young women seemingly had no knowledge of what happened on January 6, 2021…

    They’re enemies of damn near everyone I’ve known and everything I’ve learned to love and admire about my country; but I also sympathize with them a little — they’re in the same situation as all those Russians (including front-line soldiers) who are just as clueless about what their government is doing in Ukraine.

  3. khms says

    The problem with appearing smart in the English-speaking world (less sure about other places) isn’t even new. Anyone remember (from books, nobody here is this old) the term “blue-stocking”, from a time when it was terrible for women to appear intelligent?

  4. Katydid says

    I get a catalog periodically called Bluestocking, that has (mostly) interesting books. Yes, it’s usually been a great sin in western society for women to be smart. Norma Jean Baker had quite a career playing a woman so stupid it was a wonder she could stand up. Men loved it.

  5. Katydid says

    Sorry--to be clear; the catalog mostly carries books and many of them are interesting, but it also carries odds-and-ends of an intellectual or artistic nature.

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