The stand-up comedian, whose self-titled Joe Mande’s Award-Winning Comedy Special is now streaming on Netflix, is of course talking about former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Once the governor of Arkansas, the ex-politician has become something of an oddity for fans and detractors alike with his particular brand of humor on Twitter. As a result, Huckabee has become a target for late night talk shows, professional comedians and magazine profiles attempting to discern what he thinks is funny. And Mande loves and despises all of it.
When I confess I sometimes share the governor’s latest tweets with friends in an attempt to decipher their hidden meaning, however, Mande explodes with laughter. “We do the exact same thing at The Good Place. We will pull up his fucking tweets and line by line try to figure what he thinks he’s trying to say,” he says. “It’s a waste of time for you, but it’s also a waste of time for NBC Universal, who’s paying us to try to figure out Mike Huckabee’s tweets.”
Awful sausage jokes notwithstanding, Mande and I are supposed to be discussing his new comedy special, and Huckabee’s Twitter stand-up is surprisingly relevant. That’s because Mande, who once half-joked that “we’re living in the darkest timeline,” isn’t afraid to discuss politics online or on stage. And sure enough, a famous anecdote about his and fellow comic Noah Garfinkel’s stoned participation in the audience for a taping of Huckabee on Fox News makes its way into the mix.
“A majority of the material is from after 2014,” says Mande, who released a mixtape comedy album titled Bitchface that year. “The Huckabee story was a thing that I took out of the album because I thought I might want to save it for a special.” Sure enough, the politico’s failed attempt to clinch the Republican nomination in 2016, support for the controversial clerk Kim Davis and eventual Trump affiliation offered Mande just the spotlight he needed to include his bit about getting stoned and watching the former Fox News personality do his thing. “He’s Trump’s court jester now,” Mande quips. “He’s a fucking convenient tool.”