The folks responsible for Showtime’s political satire Our Cartoon President try to keep the jokes as topical as possible. And that means they won’t be getting much sleep this week, because Sunday’s episode will feature material from the first Democratic debate, which takes place Wednesday and Thursday.
“This is the most exciting week of the show we’ve done,” showrunner R.J. Fried tells EW. “The cold open, usually we’ll write it on a Tuesday, record on Wednesday, and animate Thursday. What we’re doing for this is, we’re going to be writing Wednesday night and Thursday night, voice-over-record and animation all scrunched together, and deliver by Friday morning. It’s unlike anything we’ve tried before, and we’re so excited about it. It’s going to be some late nights, but we are very used to it around these parts.”
Above, you can watch an exclusive clip from Sunday’s episode, in which Bernie Sanders (voiced by James Adomian) gets makeover advice from Mitt Romney (Mike MacRae).
Our Cartoon President also stars Jeff Bergman as a grotesque, and yet at least two-and-a-half-dimensional, Donald Trump.
“Jeff is amazing,” says Fried. “He’s a legendary voice-over actor. We looked at over 500 Trump impressions. I think what really drew us to Jeff is, we knew that this show was not a sketch; it needed to be a series that would last as long as President Trump was in office. So, we needed someone at the center of it who could kind of be a human being. There’s a lot of great takes out there right now, but Jeff’s was perfect for us. It felt big enough to play well with the animation, but human enough to play over multiple episodes.”
The Trump character began life on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, and that show’s host is also a member of the cast, voicing CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
“For a guy who is as busy as Stephen is, voice-over gigs are fantastic,” Fried says. “You step in the booth, you’re out five minutes later. Jack McBrayer banged out his whole season of Lindsey Graham appearances in about 45 minutes.”
While Our Cartoon President very much revolves around Bergman’s “character,” the name Trump is tellingly not part of the title. Does Fried think the show could continue after America’s current Commander-in-Chief leaves office?
“I promise you, no matter what election cycle it is, there will be cartoon politicians involved — it’s the most sure thing in Washington,” the showrunner says with a laugh. “So we are confident that we could go on for many an administration.”
Our Cartoon President airs at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.