A U.S. Election Resembling "Duck Soup"

Photo Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Not since Rufus T. Firefly was appointed the new leader of Freedonia, in the Marx Brothers’ movie, “Duck Soup”, has the world looked on with as much trepidation as the current U.S. Presidential election.  Given the satirical film was released in November of 1933, and in their own anarchic way, the boys skewered the then crop of tin-pot dictators with delusions of grandeur, it would seem a modern-day remake is more than a little apropos.

Whatever your current political proclivities, the fact that polls show both leading Presidential candidates with higher than average unfavorable ratings and both more unpopular than popular, it’s hard know whether to laugh or cry as the end-time approaches.

But you may not even realize we’re all stuck in a bad movie loop, due to the always on, glittering entertainment value projected onto the background of this careening, veritiginous, election cycle as we precipitously fall towards the fall denouement.

Luckily and to warn us what’s to come, I was able to obtain a short scene from a faux Wiki-leaks version of the updated sequel where we have a wealthy Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont played by Hillary) who is sweet on Firefly (Groucho played by Bill) but neighboring Sylvania and its ambassador Trentino (played by Trump) is attempting to annex the country.

Bill: Don’t you understand, it’ll never be the same as it was before our roles got reversed and I was the top dog.

Hillary: It pains me to see you this way, but what can I do now? We have to save the country?

Bill: Yes, we have to stop that fake, that phony, that imposter of a pol who plans to sabotage my plans — (eh-hem), I mean our plans — to re-take 1600.

Hillary: If anyone has the artful acuity, skillful charm and the tri-angulating savvy to woo the electorate in our favor, it’s you.

Bill: Ok, but this scallywag has wriggled out of every trap set for him so far. He’s slipperier than a slithering serpent about to destroy our plans for a new Eden.

Hillary: Oh sweetie, you’ve trapped many a southern snake in your day and this one’s weakness is no different - his skin’s as thin as all the rest when it sheds.

Bill: That’s it! You’re a genius. All we have to do is rile this varmint and tease him enough so he pounces and then extract his venom so he’ll be exposed as the poisonous critter he is.

(Next scene: A debate stage with Trump & Hillary)

Trump: (Entering onto the stage) From my palatial gold enameled palace, I made my way down onto your crooked, tiny little debate stage. Now I’m here and the people will get to decide. (The audience cheers)

Hillary: The only thing tinier than this debate stage are your poll numbers – I’m leaving you in the dust and your object doesn’t appear any bigger in my rearview mirror. (Laughter and cheers from the crowd)

Trump: If you want to mud wrestle, you’ve picked the wrong sport – I’ve starred on WWE you know – and won’t let up just because you’re a girl. (Jeers from the assembled.)

Hillary: What do you say we make it really interesting then? If I win this televised skirmish, you forfeit the race to me?

Trump: It’ll never happen. But if it does, it’s all yours. You’re on.

Hillary: Okay, let me ask you this. Were there to be a nuclear exchange, what are the first three things you’d do?

Trump: That’s easy. First I’d make sure my family was safe and secure. Next I’d launch all our missiles. And third, I’d confess and tell the American people that my hair is not my own.

(Aghast crowd bursts out in laughter.)

Trump: Oh no – what have I done? (turning redfaced) You trapped me! You exposed me. Exfoliated me! I’m losing…losing…losing. (Lights fade)


(To the detriment of the nation, no celebrities, talking heads or hairpieces were harmed in this electoral drama — only the country’s dignity.)


Abe Novick is a writer and communications consultant and can be reached at [email protected].