We have somehow arrived in the era of the surprise release. Two weeks ago, with no advance warning, Louis C.K. dropped the first episode of a series of filmed plays featuring an all-star cast. The day before the Super Bowl, Beyoncé (who has some prior experience with surprise releases) put out a new single that she was going to perform during the halftime show. Yesterday, Funny or Die premiered a 50-minute Donald Trump parody biopic starring Johnny Depp, that no one knew was in the works. And Hulu this week, with virtually no promotion, gave us the 85-minute comedy gift that is Triumph's Election Special 2016, in which Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (and his handler, Robert Smigel) travels to Iowa and New Hampshire to harass the presidential candidates and their constituents.
The special's a collection of sketches, some putting Triumph front and center with the candidates – though Mike Huckabee, who's always fancied himself a bit of an entertainer, is the only one willing to interact at length with Triumph – some putting Triumph with civilians (including a savage riff on political correctness and safe spaces where he lectures a group of college students), and occasionally using proxies (a group of blonde women posing as Fox News reporters, Tim Meadows impersonating Ben Carson to a diner crowd who can't tell the difference between him and the genuine article) when his own presence would give away the joke.
It is incredibly mean and sophomoric – as I know too well, Triumph is fond of fat jokes, and goes on several extended runs about Chris Christie's weight – and, as any sketch show would be, uneven. It's also probably the most satisfying coverage I've seen so far of this ridiculous campaign cycle, and by far the most I've laughed at any TV show so far this year.