This year's Emmy Awards might as well have been a Trump roast

Baldwin jabs Trump in Emmy speech
Baldwin jabs Trump in Emmy speech

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    Baldwin jabs Trump in Emmy speech

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Baldwin jabs Trump in Emmy speech 01:23

Washington (CNN)From the moment Sean Spicer -- yes, the real one, not Melissa McCarthy -- stepped on stage at the Emmys on Sunday night, the show amounted to a full-out roast of President Trump.

"And in 2017, we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot," said Lily Tomlin, who was standing next to an apparently surprised Dolly Parton.
"Mr. President, here is your Emmy," joked Alec Baldwin, who won for his "Saturday Night Live" portrayal of Trump. (Trump has been outspoken about the fact he never won an Emmy in the reality TV category.
"On a very personal note, I want to thank Hillary Clinton for your grace and grit," "SNL" star Kate McKinnon said in accepting her Emmy for her portrayal of the 2016 Democratic nominee.
    "We did have a whole storyline about an impeachment but we abandoned that because we were worried that someone else might get to it first," said "Veep" star Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
    And Emmy host Stephen Colbert seemed to crack few jokes --in his monologue and throughout the show -- that didn't tie back to the President in some way, shape or form.
    Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump Trump.
    This is not, of course, the first awards show that has been political. See the Oscars and the Golden Globes, for instance. Celebrities have long believed that the world was entitled to -- and hungry for -- their opinions about, um, everything.
    But watching the Emmys on Sunday night felt different. It wasn't one or two people who made a joke about Trump. Or a single speech that centered on a pet issue or tried to take down Trump. It was that the entire event seemed to revolve around Trump. Or, maybe better put: That the entire proceeding was meant less as a celebration of the year in TV than it was as a response to the first eight months of Trump's presidency.
    The Trump White House -- perhaps sensing an opportunity to rally its political base -- escalated the "Trump vs Hollywood liberals" fight on Monday morning.
    "They got plucked and polished and waxed and some of them didn't eat for two months and all for what?" asked White House counselor Kellyanne Conway during an appearance on "Fox and Friends" this morning. "If you are America, and you are tuning in to watch your favorite actors and actresses and shows, and I used to do it routinely as a kid, oh 'who is going' to win and 'oh she lost' ... There is very little of that ... Between the Emmys, the Miss America pageant was very politicized."
    Conway also made the point that initial reports suggest that ratings for the Emmys were down, a sign, she argued, that people don't want politics with their entertainment. (The ratings were off 2% from the 2016 Emmys.)
    It's very difficult to prove Conway right -- or wrong. Definitively figuring out why people watch -- or don't -- is sort of like cracking the code for what single reason explains how a voter votes. It can't be done. People are complicated. They watch (or don't) for different reasons. For example, it's at least as possible that ratings were slightly down this year because the Emmys were up against a high profile "Sunday Night Football" matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons than that the ratings dip was due to how political (and anti-Trump) the show was.
    Still, Conway does make a very interesting point. Everything in the age of Trump is not just political but hyper-partisan. What you watch, read or laugh at is seen as a lasting judgment on how you view this president -- and the country more generally. There are no lanes anymore for people to stay in. (Sorry Twitter trolls!) Politics is in literally every walk of life now. (Brian Stelter and I talked about the politicization of sports on Friday in regard to Jemele Hill's comments about President Trump.)
    And poll after poll suggests that people are now following actual politics much more closely than they have in the past. In a March CNN poll, a majority of people (56%) said they talk about politics "very often" with their friends and family. That number was 45% in 2013 and just 28% in 2002.
    Combine all of that and you get politics overload. There are no longer any "politics-free" zones. There is no escape from all politics, all the time.
    That has to have an effect on our collective psyche -- even if we don't know exactly what those impacts are just yet. But, if the first eight months of the Trump administration are any sort of guidepost, it's hard to imagine things changing any time soon.