Bachmann Reception on ‘Fallon’—Unfunny, Guys

By Megan Carpentier

Commentator Megan Carpentier offers five songs The Roots—famous for their satiric walk-on song picks on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon”—could have used to “snark” Michele Bachmann without being sexist.

Fans of Jimmy Fallon—or at least his house band The Roots—were waiting with no small amount of anticipation Monday night just before Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) took the stage. Roots drummer Questlove first teased their introductory song selection on Twitter in the afternoon, saying, ”aight late night walkon song devotees: you love it when we snark: this next one takes the cake. ask around cause i aint tweeting title.” The song? A cover of Fishbone’s “Lyin’ Ass Bitch.”

Fallon’s initial response the morning after was  “@questlove is grounded,” though he later took to Twitter to apologize for what he termed “the intro mess.” But calling a guest—let alone a seated U.S. congresswoman who is one of a small number of Republican women to ever run for the Presidency—a “lying bitch” is both sexist and unfunny. It’s not even what one could legitimately call “snark,” which is generally understood to mean a sarcastic comment or snide remark. Calling a powerful woman a “bitch” because you don’t like her views or her attitude is pretty much standard issue sexism—just ask Hillary Clinton, for instance.

And while some fans of Questlove expressed their appreciation for the song choice and others suggested that, while the song choice was inappropriate, so were Bachmann’s ambitions or her policy positions, the fact of the matter is that sexism aimed at any woman—even one who opposes reproductive choice, same sex marriage, equal pay and a host of other issues—is still sexism. And when one of a very small number of women who run for President can take the stage on a late-night talk show to the strains of a song calling her a “lyin’ bitch” in service of “humor,” it makes it harder for any woman of any strong opinions to want to poke her head up and run for office—and it makes a lot of liberal women fairly sure that if we were to express unpopular opinions (like this one), we’d get the same treatment from our ideological compatriots as conservative women.

Better choices

All of this is not to say that it isn’t possible to criticize Bachmann, or even that it’s impossible to snark her in musical form. After all, as Spin pointed out Tuesday, The Roots’ snark of Ashley Simpson’s appearance—a little too intricate to explain here—neared the sublime. So with that in mind (let alone the inevitable critique that feminists lack a sense of humor), here are five songs The Roots could have used to make the audience snort laughing without alerting Bachmann as she took the stage.

5. Angel Eyes, The Jeff Healey Band

No one will ever forget Newsweek’s unflattering Bachmann cover—let alone the Photoshop meme it inspired.

4. Toxic, Britney Spears

If there’s a more iconic pop violin riff that could still escape the attention of a boomer, I can’t think of one. (I tried it out on my mother just in case.)

3. Where’s Your Head At, Basement Jaxx

Given her history of gaffes on the campaign trail, there are few on either side of the aisle who haven’t wondered what in the world she is thinking some days.

2. Our Lips Are Sealed, The Go-Gos

Oh, fine, peeved at the network censors/feminazi killjoys ruining your fun in calling Bachmann a “lying bitch”? This one’s for you.

1. God’s Gonna Cut You Down, Johnny Cash

But if you want to snark Bachmann where it hurts—do you honestly think she isn’t used to being called “a bitch” by now?—you have to play on her field. “Go tell that long-tongued liar, go and tell that midnight rider, tell the rambler, the gambler, the back-biter, tell ‘em that God’s gonna cut ‘em down,” Cash sang. That’s a far harsher indictment than “lyin’ bitch,” and lacking in sexism—if you really think the problem is her lying.

The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author alone and do not represent WMC.  WMC is a 501(c)(3) organization and does not endorse candidates.

This post first appeared on the site of the Women’s Media Center.



Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle6 years ago

I despise Bachmann for her views (and stupidity), but this music choice was WRONG, sexist, and downright misogynist. Like small boys, playing a trick.

Ken K.
Ken K6 years ago

She's getting ready for the book tour. Look how palin turned defeat into millions. Who would spend millions or billions for a job that pays 400k? What's wrong with this picture? Ever see anybody leave congress with less than millions?

tiffany t.
tiffany t6 years ago

Maybe she can pray her negative image away

Frances C.
Frances C6 years ago

As we used to say as children.."She can dish it out, but she can't take it." Bachmann fits that better than anyone I have ever known..Palin comes in a close second.

Catrina Hamilton
Catrina Hamilton6 years ago

I don't see what the big deal was. Bachmann needs to get some Vagisil, clean the sand out, and grow up. She IS a lyin' ass bitch, and the band was just calling it like they see it. She just wanted the media to pay attention to her again since her campaign's been ignored as of late.

Nancy L.
Nancy L6 years ago

Thanks for posting.

Dotti Lydon
Dotti L6 years ago

I agree with the poster who said it was not Unfunny - it was hilarious!!

Sharon H.
Sharon H6 years ago's not what I've read about's her own words. She's gone on national TV and said the very things I wrote about. She's been interviewed by some of the best and said those things.
I see you're back to attacking anything and everything you can and acting superior to make yourself feel better. You can stop the condescending shit too. We all have your number and your attempt to make yourself look better and more intelligent than others is old give it up. We don't hate anyone...when you have nothing else, that's what you resort to. No one hates I said before, you're just not that important to hate....pity maybe, but not hate....again, you're a legend in your own mind...

Elizabeth K.
Elizabeth K6 years ago

Please, DO, the Koch brothers would never talk to you personally. They have hired help to do that.

Diane O.
Diane O6 years ago

JaneB, I don't get into "gay" conversations and never will. If you don't agree with Bachmann's comments on gays...then you have the right to comment on that. It's the vernacular you use that negates the point you are trying to make IMO. I wouldn't vote for Michele Bachmann and I have my reasons. However, never in a million years would I downgrade and discredit her for not thinking like "me."