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The Obamas Donald Trump Comedy
When you heard about Barack and Michelle Obama’s multi-million dollar Netflix deal in 2018, you likely didn’t envision that sketch comedy would be among their streaming offerings. Yet here we are, approaching the bitter end of the four stupid and terrible years of the Trump presidency, and the Obamas are producing a Netflix documentary comedy series about the devolution of American government under 45.
Netflix has ordered The G Word With Adam Conover, a comedy series with documentary elements that promises to examine the inner workings of civil service. According to Deadline, the series “will ask whether government is a dirty word or a trusted institution.” The former first couple is set to produce, while Conover, the star of truTV’s Adam Ruins Everything and the host of Nickelodeon’s The Crystal Maze, will collaborate and appear on screen.
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In 2018, under the auspices of Higher Ground Productions, their production company, the Obamas purchased the rights to Michael Lewis’ The Fifth Risk, on which The G Word is loosely based. In The Fifth Risk, Lewis illuminates the breakdown of government agencies under the Trump administration, beginning with the botched presidential transition. Lewis, whose earlier books inspired films such as The Big Short and Moneyball, homes in on the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Energy during the passing of the torch between the Obama and Trump administrations. You’ll remember that, when the Obama administration prepared briefing books and presentations for the incoming members of the Trump administration, the few stragglers who showed up to take the meetings were singularly unqualified.
The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy
Trump’s early appointments included Rick Perry as Energy Secretary, who fundamentally misunderstood the job; white nationalist Steve Bannon, who was later indicted for conspiracy and wire fraud; and members of his own family, who have proven incompetent at best and grifters at worst. In The Fifth Risk, Lewis examines the devastating consequences of incompetence and arrogance, illuminating how such behaviors result in slashed funding, botched censuses, and nuclear resource chaos.
Production on The G Word is due to begin in early 2021. If the Obamas’ previous on-screen ventures are anything to judge by, we can expect a high-quality show–after all, in 2019, their first outing for Netflix with Higher Ground Productions, American Factory, won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. There’s no telling when The G Word will hit Netflix, but when it does, rest assured The Orange One will be tweeting about it.
Adrienne Westenfeld is a writer and editor at Esquire, where she covers books and culture.
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