DELRAY BEACH – For Josh Rosen, the joy is not political in nature. It’s just business.
When Elon Musk announced earlier this week that Twitter would be reinstating former president Donald Trump’s account, few were happier than Rosen.
“I was thrilled because, as someone who parodies him and does a lot of political comedy, it’s great for me,” Rosen said.
Trump replies. pic.twitter.com/dPJBeSP3jo
— Josh Rosen (@Joshimpressions) November 19, 2022
Rosen, South Florida’s foremost impressionist comic, gained internet fame recently for his impersonation of sports commentator Skip Bayless. But it’s his spot-on Trump that first drew recognition.
Twitter’s removal Trump’s account following the January 6 riot forced Rosen to open a Truth Social account to keep current with Trump news. Trump continues to post on Truth Social – a platform similar to Twitter which the former president partially owns – and has yet to produce his first reinstated tweet.
Having already announced his candidacy in the 2024 presidential election, Trump will likely have to begin tweeting again because Twitter’s reach is significantly larger than Truth Social’s.
“Overall it’s a win for comedy, it’s a win for me as an impressionist, and it’s a win for both sides,” Rosen said. “Republicans love it. Democrats hate it. And they both benefit off of it because it gets them more viewers.”
Trump’s been out of office for nearly two years now but even with the growing popularity of his Bayless impression, Rosen says his version of Trump remains the crowd favorite.
As much of a comedic win as Trump’s reinstatement stands to be, Rosen also believes a bigger principle is in play.
“I think it’s a win for free speech,” Rosen said.
Rosen isn’t the only South Florida comic who feels that way.
“The narrative is people fear trump because they fear tyranny. But eliminating freedom of speech puts us on a slippery slope to tyranny anyway, doesn’t it? Also, as a comedian, ya gotta love them tweets. I’m pro free speech. Period. Let the people decide what’s best.” comic Chris Roe wrote on Instagram in response to an Applause Break request for comments.
Generally, most comics who responded found Trump’s reinstatement to be a positive.
“Everyone should have the opportunity of tweeting on Twitter. It’s especially entertaining watching snowflakes and liberals lose their mind over it. In this day and age if words offend you enough to cause you emotional ruin, you should just quit now and leave it to the grownups,” Dougie Almeida wrote.
However, not everyone agreed.
“Websites have a responsibility to make sure hate speech is not broadcast over their network. It’s not anyone’s right to post content on a website they don’t own. They gave this to you for free because you’re the product and you defend it like it’s a right. It’s a free continental breakfast, not because your words are so precious and insightful but because the longer you stay the longer they can sell you things. Hate speech and pro violent speech should not be tolerated on any platform. Freedom of speech isn’t a blanked phrase,” Anthony Francis wrote.
The topic launched a spirited debate between Roe and Francis on Instagram.
Comic Bob Kaufman agreed with the free speech argument, but with limitations.
“It’s the right call. It’s a way to exercise free speech, everyone should be able to express their thoughts, regardless of their political affiliation (as long as it doesn’t promote lawlessness, violence, etc.),” Kaufman wrote.
Many comics, however, are simply salivating at all the new material Trump’s return to Twitter could generate.
“Well it did make Twitter entertaining,” wrote Chad Ridgely, referring to Trump’s first stint on the platform.
Not all comics are interested in Trump tweets.
Some are simply over him.
“Who gives a fuck, he’s human garbage,” Steve Lamm wrote.