Adam Conover has taken a break from finding the silver lining in the things you hate and finding fault with everything you love to hit the road. In his 15–city American tour, the J. Crew–styled Adam Ruins Everything star will be making a slight departure from his usual debunking of popular false ideas. He attempts to answer a pressing question in this heated debate season: Is this the craziest election of all time? He looks to history for answers in his traveling show, attempting to shed light on previous presidential trash talking, the role of women in past political affairs and the growing red–blue divide in America.
"The show takes the form of a sort of hour–long comedy TED Talk," Conover explains. He runs the entire hour–long performance from a Keynote presentation, interlaid with video, audio and meme–y visuals. The crowd filled out the Trocadero Theater as he launched into an examination of the nasty turn that this election has taken.
In the short time of his presentation, he presents evidence from the last 57 presidential elections and the candidates that won to put our current electoral plight into perspective. As he explains, there was that time during the election of 1800 that Jefferson hired a journalist to write that "Adams has a hideous hermaphroditic character" in the newspaper. And LBJ was known for talking about his penis size and even daring to show it off to colleagues, hearkening to the Donald's own need to talk about his sad, wrinkly package. APUSH–esque factoids and footage of George Wallace also reveal that he dealt in the same politics of fear and hate. It's almost as if we shouldn't be surprised that the Annoying Orange is running for president with such close temporal proximity to outright segregationists.
In his first proper tour since his collegiate comedic runs, Adam also attempts to debunk some of the enthusiasm surrounding the historical significance of Hillary Clinton as the first female major party nominee for president. He points to Edith Wilson's essential puppeting of her husband after his stroke, and both the United States' historical and present failure to elect women to positions of national prominence.
But then Adam turns the lens back onto the candidates who ran for the nomination and lost this year, and the rhetoric that has prevailed in the 2016 election. In reality, not even Bernie can cast himself as an outsider having worked in Washington for a significant portion of his political career, and Jeb and Ted most certainly can't even gesture towards a title like this one. Trump, if elected, would be the only president who ever has not first held elected office or had military experience.
If Adam ruins anyone, it's the American people. He calls out the audience for the harsh and widening partisanship, and ignorance of local politics and the unseen role that money plays in it. Above all, he wants citizens to have more meaningful conversations about how history has informed our current election and wants to inspire more discourse. Put succinctly, he explains: "It's all about blowing peoples' minds and making them laugh with facts."