So, did you catch what Robert De Niro said on the Tony Awards last night?
Okay, that was a joke. Only high school theater geeks mounting a jukebox musical version of Our Town featuring the songs of Insane Clown Posse watch the Tony Awards, so the odds that anybody in the Real America actually heard—much less cared about—what a wildly overpaid man who pretends to be other people for a living had to say about any subject are pretty slim.
De Niro, on the other hand—who is famous for his unforgettable roles in films such as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, not to mention Dirty Grandpa and Little Fockers—indulges the belief that his pronouncements on the passing scene carry the philosophical heft of a modern day Cicero or Socrates, when in reality he holds no more credibility on subjects to be found outside the scope of Variety magazine than would a Katy Perry or a Miley Cyrus. In fact, I would venture to say, De Niro is a cautionary tale that reminds us of the wisdom to be found in the aphorism that states it is far better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.
In case you missed it—and let's face it, you probably did—the Academy Award winning actor, who was once the subject of a tune by Bananarama, used his platform at he Tonys to call for peace and civility between all Americans, noting that the divisive political rhetoric that has so poisoned our national discourse should be set aside in favor of love and understanding, for only then can we bridge the distances between us and come together as one.
Nah, just kidding. He actually said, "F-ck Trump."
Actor Robert De Niro repeatedly declared “F— Trump” while speaking onstage at the Tony Awards on Sunday night, and promptly received a standing ovation.
The profanity was bleeped out in the live broadcast, but tweets from attendees and reporters confirmed De Niro’s remarks.
“I’m going to say one thing: ‘F— Trump,’” said the actor, who was presenting an award at the ceremony. “It’s no longer ‘down with Trump,' it’s ‘f— Trump.’”
If you've ever wondered whether a lot actors aren't really that smart, I think this pretty much settles the question. Robert De Niro has had a career that spans decades, and has worked with some of the finest creative minds ever produced by this country. Writers and directors have placed into his hands he best scripts, filled with the kind of erudition and style to which we mere mortals can only aspire. And he has breathed life into characters both fictional and historical, reciting dialogue that is witty, provocative, insightful and sometimes even poetic.
But the best he can come up with is F-ck Trump?!? You're setting the bar pretty low there, Bob.
I dunno, maybe it's a sign of the times. De Niro's audience certainly ate it up—but then so did the trained seals watching Samantha Bee when she used a rather banal insult on Ivanka Trump, as do the poor souls who applaud in Pavlovian response every time John Oliver "destroys" someone on his HBO show. Instead of being edgy and transgressive, it's all become so boring and predictable. It's as if they all think they're Sid Vicious flipping off the establishment, when in reality they are the establishment. In sticking it to the man, they're only sticking it to themselves—then congratulating each other for being so brave and clever.
And that takes a kind of stupid that can only be found in Hollywood and the Great White Way.
In the plus column, though, at least Oscar can point at Tony and say, "Dude--and I thought I had it bad."