Instead of reaching out to an unknown to follow “The Daily Show,” Comedy Central is going straight to the top.
The cable channel announced Monday that it will air a weekly talk show hosted by Donald Trump — in the form of impersonator Anthony Atamanuik. A former Chicago improviser, Pete Grosz, will back him up as Vice President Mike Pence.
“The President Show” will air at 10:30 p.m. Thursdays in the slot earlier occupied by Larry Wilmore and, before that, Stephen Colbert. “@midnight” will continue to air at 10:30 Mondays through Wednesdays, bumping later to 11 p.m. on Thursdays.
The premise of “The President Show” has Trump bypassing the mainstream media by broadcasting directly from the Oval Office with standard talk-show shtick including comedy segments and guest interviews.
“Laughing at the president is a proud American tradition and we hope not to disappoint anyone in that department,” Atamanuik said in a statement. “But our political system is too broken for us to be content joking about one man, even though he is a disastrous silly little toddler boy. Mostly I’d just like to thank Comedy Central for giving us this platform to speak truth to power and, if we’re lucky, end up in prison!”
Atamanuik, a stand-up comedian and improviser, spent much of the presidential campaign imitating Trump, notably on a 40-city tour alongside James Adomian as Bernie Sanders. He played Trump on Howard Stern’s show, “The View” and “@midnight,” among other shows.
Grosz, an executive producer on “The President Show” alongside Atamanuik and “Making History” star Adam Pally, has two Emmys for his writing on “The Colbert Report” and also appears often on the Chicago-based radio news quiz “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me.” But he is most visible as the driver who banters with fellow Chicagoan T.J. Jagodowski on Sonic commercials.
Before that, Grosz performed in Chicago at iO and in four revues at Second City e.t.c.