With Saturday’s student-led March For Our Lives projected to be one of the biggest demonstrations in American history, both of Comedy Central’s late-night political comedy shows decided it was time to let the kids talk for a change. On The Daily Show, Trevor Noah took a more traditional approach in inviting a handful of students from Parkland, Florida to discuss the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 of their friends dead, and their varied reasons for participating in Saturday’s march. The Opposition With Jordan Klepper, being the ironic counterpoint to The Daily Show’s head-on satire, however, saw host and faux right-wing jackass Klepper taking his strident, condescending attack on these student activists right into the belly of the beast. Meaning a fuzzy beanbag chair in the rec room of a Rockville, Maryland teen’s house.
Klepper, surrounded by stuffed animals, snickerdoodles, and a roomful of vocal kids in town for the march, asked the tough, smirking strawman questions in his episode-long special, The Opposition Chaperones Democracy. (Sub-title: Kids Just Wanna Take Guns.) Taking Fox News commentators’ sneering talking points about students being manipulated and not understanding America’s gun problem to an only slightly exaggerated extreme, Klepper saw himself being smacked down by some energetic and energized kids whose dedication to change fairly rattled the wood paneling and board games. (He also interviewed visiting Senator Cory Booker about the long tradition of student activism and social justice, in another teen’s upstairs bedroom.)
Even more impressive were the Baltimore students on whom Opposition correspondent Kobi Libii tried out his “citizen journalist” conservative academic schtick. Bringing up the fact that the daily gun violence in lower income majority black schools is traditionally given comparatively paltry attention by politicians and the media, the students worked out some pent-up anger on Libii’s bookish right-winger, play-acting though he was. One especially impressive young woman spoke of the students’ motivation to take control of a government of elected officials seemingly content to countenance the gun-related carnage plaguing her community and her school. Telling Libii, “You don’t want change, you don’t want us to succeed, you don’t want us to become greater than our circumstances,” and noting that they’ve lost eight of their schoolmates to gun violence just in the last year, the young woman finally brushed off the fake pundit’s admonitions with what could be the student-organized March For Our Lives motto: “We don’t need people like you.”
The March For Our Lives takes place on Saturday.