Debaters, here's how to freak out Trump

Story highlights

  • Dean Obeidallah: Despite bravado, Donald Trump has shown he's thin-skinned; he's sued, denounced those who've joked about him
  • With his poll lead, exposing this weakness may be only leverage GOP opponents have; they should use comedy to best him, he says

Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM's weekly program "The Dean Obeidallah Show." He is a columnist for The Daily Beast and editor of the politics blog The Dean's Report. He's also the co-director of the documentary "The Muslims Are Coming!" Follow him on Twitter: @TheDeansreport. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)Attention Republican presidential candidates prepping for Thursday's first debate.

Do you want to beat Donald Trump? I mean seriously, are you in this to win or just to raise your speaking fees, sell more books and possibly get a deal to be a commentator on a cable news network?
Dean Obeidallah
For those who truly want to beat Trump, I have the weapon that may just do the trick: comedy. But I'm not talking the type of "comedy" we have recently seen in your desperate efforts to attract media attention. The likes of Rand Paul's video in which he takes a chainsaw to the U.S. tax code, or Ted Cruz's video where he wraps his "machine gun" in bacon, then fires enough rounds to literally cook the bacon before eating it.
    When I say use comedy, I mean using it as a weapon. Comedy can be a sword and if wielded correctly, it might just be able to bring down a giant named Trump.
    And here's the thing: Trump is the perfect target for comedy because, despite a golden pallor that glows like leather, he's by far the most thin-skinned public figure I've seen. A well-placed zinger at Trump's expense could send Trump roaring in anger at Thursday's debate louder than the famous Howard Dean victory scream that sank the candidate during the 2004 presidential race.
    Need proof that Trump can't take a joke? Behold:
    1. He literally sued Bill Maher for $5 million for telling a joke mocking The Donald. In 2013, Maher joked on "The Tonight Show" that he would donate $5 million to charity if Trump could prove he wasn't the "the spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan."
    (Maher's joke was in response to Trump's offer to donate $5 million dollars to a charity of President Obama's choosing if Obama would release his college transcript.) Trump withdrew the lawsuit months later but not before making his point: If you mock me, I might just sue you.
    2. Trump lashed out against comedian Seth Meyers for his jokes about Trump at the 2011 White House Correspondent's Dinner. Who can forget Trump sitting in the audience at that event looking increasingly angry as Meyers elicited big laughs at Trump's expense with jokes like: "Donald Trump has been saying that he will run for president as a Republican, which is surprising because I just assumed he was running as a joke."
    Trump lashed out at Meyers the next day, saying the comedian had terrible comedic timing and even bizarrely calling Meyers a "stutterer." The Donald apparently held a grudge for years because when Meyers was named the host of the Emmys in 2014, Trump tweeted: "That Seth Meyers is hosting the Emmy Awards is a total joke. He is very awkward with almost no talent. Marbles in his mouth!"
    3. Trump's still very angry with Jon Stewart. Over the years, Stewart has mocked Trump on everything from his views on global warming to his hair. Stewart even recently joked before Trump officially jumped into the presidential race that he may not retire if, "****face von Clownstick" (Trump) runs for president.
    After Stewart announced a few months ago that he was retiring from "The Daily Show," even his frequent comedic target Bill O'Reilly praised Stewart as a "tremendous talent" who "should be admired."
    But not Trump, who instead gave us this tweet: "While Jon Stewart is a joke, not very bright and totally overrated, some losers and haters will miss him and his dumb clown humor. Too bad!"
    4. Trump lashes out at the entire Twittersphere. The Donald angrily responded to everyone and anyone mocking him on Twitter with this tweet: "Sorry losers and haters, but my IQ is one of the highest and you all know it. Please don't feel so stupid or insecure it's not your fault."
    I could go on, but you get the idea. Trump can't stand being comically mocked. So launch a few comedic jibes at Trump on the stage Thursday and watch the fun.
    And to those candidates thinking they have time to catch Trump by ignoring him and talking policy, stop kidding yourself.
    The latest polls have Trump with an 11% poll lead and climbing. Many of you are literally running behind the poll's margin of error. The reality is that in six months after the March 1 "Super Tuesday" primary contests, most of you will be out money and out of the race.
    Bottom line: Time is not on your side. But comedy is.
    Prepare your best zingers and fire away. If the barbs hit their mark, Trump might not just blow his top during Thursday's debate, he may even blow the election because nothing says I don't have the temperament to be President of the United States like freaking out over a joke!