Michael Cohen’s Lying Circus: A Dispassionate Review

Tragically, notwithstanding recent efforts at raising public awareness of the scourge of toxic imbecility, the spread of this debilitating disease has intensified, especially in the minds of those whose symptoms are manifested in Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS). Nowhere is this acceleration of the outbreak on clearer display than in the Left’s rave reviews for the debut of the off-Broadway show trial, “Michael Cohen’s Lying Circus,” which will be playing a limited engagement in select venues in our nation’s capital.

Inspired by current events—real or imagined—and heavily adapted, in parts, from the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign’s pulp spy thriller, The Steele Dossier, this theater of the absurd is a DNCC production by Lanny Davis in collusion with numerous lefty luminaries, such as U.S. Representative and impresario Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).

Like all theatrical performances, the show trial requires the willing suspension of disbelief—i.e., “a willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe something surreal; [and the] sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment.” Thus, to enjoy “Lying Circus,” the audience is provided a challenging obstacle, for Cohen is a convicted felon who has already lied to Congress.

But the producers of this one-act show trial know their audience: a leftist who believes an U.S. president is a Russian asset may have many deep seated issues, problems, and concerns, but none will be with Cohen’s veracity. To wit, this review from the ironically titled organ, Think Progress: “Trump, in an apparent attempt to distract from the Cohen hearing at home, was abroad Wednesday to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.”

In other words, “Lying Circus” is such powerful political theater that it is unlikely Kim would agree to meet President Trump and discuss nuclear disarmament at the expense of his opportunity to watch Cohen’s eagerly anticipated performance on one of the multiplicity of networks airing it live from the bowel of Congress.

Willing suspension of disbelief—check.

Regarding Cohen, his performance had its emotive moments, but it was far from virtuoso. In fairness, one might think it easy to portray oneself. But Michael Cohen proves it is not easy to be Michael Cohen.

In “Lying Circus,” Cohen’s talents as a method actor were taxed to the limit, requiring him to shift from his former role as the villain of the piece (President Trump’s lying felonious “fixer”) to his current heroic role as the penitential Cassandra decrying in equal parts self-pity, sorrow, and self-righteousness how Trump’s corrupting influence has ruined him and is ruining America. Hence, to play this role, Cohen had to refrain from lying, which apparently proved a Brooklyn Bridge too far. Still, by all accounts, it had negligible, if any, impact upon the Left’s appreciation of this amorality play.

This makes the Left’s acclaim for “Lying Circus” all the more remarkable. For despite a strong opening monologue—“He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat”—“Lying Circus” failed to deliver on one of the Left’s most treasured calumnies against President Trump: Russian collusion. This is where the script failed Cohen, for all he could offer the audience were “suspicions”—not evidence—that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian intelligence to steal the 2016 presidential election.

Compounding the disappointment for the Left, though The Steele Dossier looms large over this performance, Cohen was compelled to remind the audience that, at least in his case, the dossier is a work of fiction: Cohen had never been to Prague. (This did not adversely affect the reviews of “Lying Circus” by such uncritical Russia-Gate true-believers, such as CNN’s Jim Acosta and U.S. Representative Adam “Pathfinder” Schiff, the former shown here introducing the latter to somehow hammer Cohen’s contradictory lines into their Russia-gate narrative.)

Such quibbling aside, the bulk of “Lying Circus” did provide the only kind of red meat craved by the Left—damning allegations against President Trump for various crimes and character flaws, choreographed with vignettes of Cohen’s personal interactions with him and others in his orbit, and propped up by sundry supporting documents (which seemingly neither the special counsel’s office nor the Southern District of New York did not need for evidence in a criminal trial.)

Given the names named and the crimes alleged, it is not hard to imagine the leftist producers of “Lying Circus” are hoping for a slew of spin-offs in similar venues. Doubtless, the audiences will be there, as the Left’s hunger for political theater is insatiable.

If there were any doubts, to seal the spin-offs deal, the producers of “Lying Circus” prick Leftists’ paranoia in order to whet their appetites for additional potboilers by providing them a chilling, cliff-hanging climax: “Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power, and this is why I agreed to appear before you today.”

So, yes, the show trial must go on! But—spoiler alert—without “Michael Cohen’s Lying Circus.” Insiders tell us Cohen is being cast in a reboot of the 1978 drama, “Scared Straight!”

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Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

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About Thaddeus G. McCotter

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003 to 2012 and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars, and a Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show" among sundry media appearances.