Why, I never.
"Why, I never." a katz / Shutterstock.com

I was lying naked in bed last night, my partner dreamily slapping my ass when he said, "You know what the problem with Hillary is?"

There was no salvaging the mood at that point, so I rolled over and said, "What?"

"She's Margaret Dumont," he said, referring to the stately actress who played high-society matrons in Marx Brothers comedies and was constantly the butt of Groucho's jokes.

"Oh, God, you're right!" I said.

Margaret Dumont, also referred to as "the fifth Marx Brother" (occasionally by Groucho himself) was the classy put-upon dame subjected to a never-ending barrage of put-downs that she never seemed to understand.

"Not that I care, but where is your husband?" Groucho asks her in Duck Soup.

"Why, he's dead," Margaret's character responds.

"I bet he's just using that as an excuse," says Groucho.

In Marx Brothers comedies, Margaret's characters can never keep up with Groucho—and to be fair, nobody could keep up with Groucho. He runs circles around her as she stands tall and tries to look noble to no avail.

"Remember," Groucho tells soldiers in another scene, "you're fighting for this woman's honor, which is probably more than she ever did."

Behind the scenes, of course, Dumont was a professional actress who knew why the material worked. "I'm not a stooge, I'm the best straight woman in Hollywood," she once said.

But now that the comparison's been made, it's hard for me not to see a lot of Margaret and Groucho's on-screen comic dynamic in Hillary and Donald's real-world political dynamic. And the similarity isn't only apparent to homosexual worshippers of grande dames, whispering sweet nothings to each other in the bedroom; Emily Nussbaum made an identical observation in a recent The New Yorker article.

Hillary is brilliant and dignified and experienced and respected, and in a political context, these attributes qualify her to run the nation. In a comedy context, they qualify her to get hit in the face with a pie.

Groucho's barbs are fairly gentle compared to what Trump must have prepared for Hillary. He's surely been making a study of her, figuring out the best way to get under her skin and make her look foolish to his supporters. And I'm not confident that Hillary can keep up. For example, take a look at this "attack ad" her campaign just put out:

"Brutal," the Washington Post calls it. But no, it's not. This is an ad FOR Trump, not against him. It shows his supporters everything they want to see: he's fearlessly cruel, he's loathed by the establishment, the stuffed-shirts hate him—and guess what? He defeated them all. He's a winner. A horrible, twisted, evil winner.

Trump appeals to our very worst sides; and our worst sides, like undead Final Fantasy monsters healed by Limit Breaks, love it.

I don't know how you defeat Trump, aside from adjusting our system of government so that the American public is no longer entrusted with important decisions like choosing our head of state. But I don't think Hillary can defeat Trump by standing tall and looking dignified. That'll only make the audience laugh harder when Groucho knocks her down.