How you feel about Dave Smith the comedian depends upon how you feel about two other things, primarily. 1) Are you a fan and/or listener to the Legion of Skanks podcast? 2) How tolerant are you of Libertarians?
But in his first comedy special, and the first for GaS Digital, Libertas (directed by Legion of Skanks colleague Luis J. Gomez) opens with the comedian in an SUV that pulls up to a tense situation on the sidewalk, stuck between red-hat Trump supporters and protesters with “moving to Canada” signs.
As a libertarian, Smith is supposed to be the rational one in the middle, right? Well, before we continue into the comedy, let me just say that I once identified with libertarians, even going so far in college to write a term paper supporting the philosophy. Now, years and much life experience removed from an idyllic college campus, I see libertarian as a very privileged position, because only someone who requires no assistance or protection from government (or anyone else) can believe that everyone else will be just fine without assistance or protection.
Of course, back here in real world 2017, Smith isn’t so much defensive of Donald J. Trump as much as he takes glee in how much President Trump pisses off liberals. A fellow native New Yorker, Smith corrects himself to call Trump: “Our president. I say that just to piss off left-wing people. Absolutely no other reason. Remember when that was your thing? Our president or you’re not a patriot. How’s that working out?” In Smith’s view, all men are monsters who say things much worse than Trump’s so-called “locker room talk,” and women actually do like to get grabbed. “Have you ever thumbed through a romance novel?” Smith jokes, before describing every romance-novel hero as a rich a-hole like Trump. “I’m just relaying information. I’m not pretending to understand it.”
Smith does understand that the audience at this taping is made up of his fans, noting that he cannot bring up Trump’s name in a comedy club these days without causing a commotion. He wishes people would stop comparing Trump to Hitler, though, because “if he’s anything short of Hitler, I’m going to be like, ‘he did a pretty good job.’”
Politically, Smith claims to hate them all. “They should all be thrown out of helicopters,” he jokes, before adding: “But. Let’s be honest. They’re all charming. And that, is why Hillary Clinton is not president.”
Smith jokes that even Trump supporters don’t know what to expect next, and are just crossing their fingers hoping for the best. In this taping, he still won’t hate Trump more than you do, although one wonders how he’ll feel about him a year or two from now. Instead, Smith has the kind of begrudging pride and respect for our current president as he would as a back-row pothead in high school recognizing how a dumb kid pulls off a book report without even reading the book. And he likes that Trump remains unapologetic. “Great men cheat. That’s why they got great,” Smith jokes.
Which also makes him respect the guy who faked his way into translating into sign language the funeral of Nelson Mandela. “That’s like the Super Bowl of the sign language industry!”
As for everything else?
Well, Smith does agree no matter the party in charge, the American empire is crumbling. “We’re in the end of the empire. But it’s fucking entertaining. No one ever told you how much fun it was going to be. I think that’s what historians always miss.”
He’s more scared of police officers than he is of ISIS, has a sure-fire way to solve America’s debt problem, and has a two-part solution to ending once and for all the Middle East situation. Whether you like it or not is up to you.
Dave Smith: Libertas is available on GaS Digital.