There’s nobody more boring than “it’s not as good as it used to be” guy. You know him—the guy (and, yes, it’s usually a guy) who hand-waves any substantive discussion of the relative merits of a long-running piece of pop culture by airily dismissing, say, The Simpsons or Saturday Night Live as insignificant shadows of what they were when all the cool kids like him were on board. Yeah, nobody likes that guy.
Therefore, it’s unsurprising that one of the most universally not-liked guys in government (and think about that for a second) is a “not as good as it used to be” guy, as Texas Senator and alleged human Ted Cruz proved this week. Attacking The Daily Show and host Trevor Noah for daring to point out that the resurgent Democrats might pick up some congressional seats in Cruz’s Texas backyard, Cruz was immediately and mercilessly dunked upon by Noah, former Daily Show host Jon Stewart, and essentially all of Twitter for his typically feeble, would-be bullying, “remember when The Daily Show was funny” airball. For one, a simple Google search of “Ted Cruz” + “The Daily Show” brings up a seemingly endless scroll of Stewart-era clips like the 2015 piece where Stewart spent six hilarious minutes urging viewers, “Let’s Get Rid Of Ted Cruz!”
It’s never a good idea for someone with no discernible sense of humor and an absurdly inflated view of themselves to step to professional comedy writers, is the point, a dictum underscored on Tuesday’s Daily Show. (And here we’re going to toss out the content warning that the piece in question is bookended by clips of Ted Cruz being even grosser than usual.) In the stirring nine-minute documentary, “Ted Cruz: The Booger On The Lip Of Democracy,” Noah and his maligned co-creators employed the most unfair tactic of all, in letting Ted Cruz speak for himself. From the fresh-faced young college Ted filming his nascent dueling enthusiasm for both objectifying women and fascism, to the flop-sweaty politician’s penchant for queasily terrible impressions of Yoda and various Simpsons characters, the piece gave viewers all the Cruz they could stomach. Which is probably even less than anyone could muster for the slab of gunpowder-stinking bacon Cruz memorably wrapped around an assault rifle and greasily devoured to prove—something about Texas. Or guns. Or meat.
Of course, Ted’s not the only Ted expert quoted in the documentary, as The Daily Show staff happily edited in freely available clips of seemingly everyone who’s ever known Ted Cruz calling Ted Cruz a malignant jerk. There was his unfortunate Princeton roommate, award-showered Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin, who, professional writer though he is, could only repeat the adjective “awful” when reminiscing about having to share space with the guy. Former Senate colleague Al Franken is shown saying that “toxic coworker” Cruz is that guy who microwaves fish in the break room. And even Cruz’s fellow right-wingers (also-rans themselves in the likability derby) like Lindsey Graham (seemingly offering a free pass to anyone willing to murder Cruz on the Senate floor), John Boehner (calling Cruz “a reckless asshole who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else”), Peter King (literally threatening suicide-by-poison should Ted Cruz ever become the GOP presidential nominee) are shown smirking in shared contempt. (Perennial reason for children to run screaming in terror Ann Coulter even notes that she can see why Cruz “has been hated by everyone every place he’s ever been,” and she should know.)
As the documented, faux-reverent roster of Ted Cruz missteps (posting MILF porn on 9/11), seditious ramblings, and the occasional, on-camera booger-eating roll on, the piece eventually lands on perhaps the most Ted-being-Ted theme—the shameless pursuit of personal political power, no matter who he has to throw under the campaign bus. You know, like his children (Ted blamed them for him fleeing his freezing-t0-death constituents for the sunny beaches of Cancun that time), to, most infamously, his continued up-sucking to one Donald Trump, who has routinely punched below the belt by insulting both Cruz’s wife and father. (Calling one ugly and the other a presidential assassin.) Mock-praising Cruz for almost but not quite defending his family against the slimy personal attacks of a huckstering reality show demagogue, the doc went on to show Cruz servilely phone-banking for Trump as soon as it became clear that the GOP faithful preferred even the fake university sex cretin grifter to someone like him. (A toadying stance Cruz steadfastly maintains as recently as last night.) So, ball’s in Cruz’s court now, where the Texas Republican is no doubt effortfully trying to come up with the perfect, this-time-it’ll-work-for-sure comeback.