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2021: THE YEAR IN PUPPET REGIME

When Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in the 2020 election, many people were happy, and many people were sad — but at Puppet Regime we were worried as hell.

Not because of Trump’s damaging lies about the election being “stolen.” Or because of the Capitol insurrection that he fanned. That was all very bad.


But we had a more immediate concern: we had a show to put on, dammit, and we’d just lost our biggest star.

For four years, Puppet Regime, like countless other sketch comedy parody shows, was spoiled by a world leader whose unique capacity for the provocative, the unpredictable, and the surreal gave us more material than we knew what to do with.

Sometimes our best shots at parody were overtaken by reality altogether — like when we scripted Trump and Kim Jong-un comparing the size of their nuclear buttons and saw that happen in real life just days later.

But Trump Estrangement Syndrome ended up being a good thing. It forced us to work harder, more melodiously, and with a wider canvas. After all, the world of global politics certainly isn’t any more functional, coherent, or reassuring than it was twelve months ago, and our mission is the same: to entertain and illuminate without any biases except one – it better be funny.

And so it quickly became clear that Trump’s departure hadn’t diminished Joe Biden’s chronic anachronism, Vladimir Putin’s feline malice, Emmanuel Macron’s debilitating arrogance, Mark Zuckerberg’s android megalomania, or Angela Merkel’s just wanting to get out of this mess after 16 years.

Here’s a look back at 2021, through the rods and felt of PUPPET REGIME:

In January, Joe Biden showed up at the White House thinking that a certain someone was gonna leave more easily than he did — and boy was he wrong.

And it didn’t take long for us to get a sense of what Biden’s presidency would look like — Trillion Dollar Joe wanted to spend more money than anyone in history, but wasn’t quite sure where it would come from, and his early push to renegotiate the Iran nuclear deal turned into a massive song and dance.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the European Union was struggling mightily with vaccine supply, forcing Angela Merkel to slum it with the drug deal of the century.

Then the world got a taste of the blockbuster Godzilla vs Kong, a rivalry that looked pretty quaint next to what shaped up in Brazil when former president Lula was released from jail and made it clear that he’d try to knock current president Jair Bolsonaro off his perch in next year’s elections.

Speaking of important votes, the world’s leading US elections expert, Vladimir Putin, made a mid-year PSA to educate Americans on how to make the least of their democracy. File that one away for next year’s midterms.

Throughout it all, of course, the pandemic continued to rage, with the COVID family welcoming a slew of new variants who turned the coronavirus household into a soap opera.

By the end of the summer it was clear things were going off the rails for Joe Biden — first the delta variant showed up with a wave of musical taunts, then Biden couldn’t keep allies like France and the UK from childishly squabbling over submarines. The holidays gave him no relief either: not only was he unable to pick a good Halloween costume, he couldn’t even properly pardon a Thanksgiving turkey!

Perhaps the final blow was when Biden ended up looking like the second most powerful “Joe” in Washington DC – the president was just “Dancin’ for Manchin” all along.

And as the year drew to a close, we turned up the volume for a legendary aufwiedersehen from one of the world’s longest-serving leaders: Angela Merkel’s hit record Eins Zwei Drei (Kraftwerk Mix)

Now we head into 2022 with the pandemic raging again and the world’s autocrats smirking at the charade that democracy has become.

And of course, President Trump – who can’t stand being out of the spotlight – is readying his numbers in order to become the star of the show once again.

Thanks to all of you who were part of the Regime this year. See you on the other side, friends.

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Live digital event | Time for nature: Turning biodiversity risk into opportunity | Wed, Dec 14 | 8 am EST

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Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

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