While President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the election results continue, one of his key witnesses, Melissa Carone, has caught America’s attention. Before Carone inevitably appeared as a caricature in a Saturday Night Live sketch (perhaps played by Cecily Strong), actor Ben Yahr delivered a hilarious lip synch in which he parodied the “star witness”.
STAR witness of the Trump Legal team pic.twitter.com/ZKWiwUmdk4
– Ben Yahr (@benyahr) December 3, 2020
With messy, bright red lipstick and a confused blonde wig, Yahr wears lipsync to Carone’s statement and gives her some mannerisms that show how ridiculous her statement is. “I have not tried to match [her mannerisms]. I’m doing this from an auditory point of view,” he told Washington Newsday in a phone conversation. “I have not tried to imitate their exact gestures. I was trying to do what the sound tells me to do naturally.”
And Yahr explained that when he heard Carone’s testimony, he knew that she was the “kind of character I could impersonate,” and his followers also marked him, knowing that he could nail the impression and act as “a moment of levity in this terrible year,” as he put it.
The actor has shown a series of videos showing lip-synchings with Trump’s spiritual advisor, Paula White, or the woman who said that the Monster Energy Drinks were advancing a satanic agenda. Yahr said that bizarre conspiracies and strange characters are some of his main targets because it helps him make sense of ridicule.
“There was just always something fascinating and frightening to me about the kind of people who believe in conspiracy theories, and especially during the Trump presidency, when conspiracy theories are now so widespread and printed in the national news agencies. I feel that many people, myself included, are trying to figure out how to process and deal with this. My way of doing this is parody. I wanted to make myself laugh through the horror of the parody,” Yahr said in a telephone conversation.
Yahr said he was surprised to see Carone show up at the “by-election circus” because it felt like most viral moments were over. “Rudy Giuliani was the biggest clown I’ve ever seen in my life – when I saw someone acting so chaotic and messy that Rudy Giuliani tried to catch up with them, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” he said.
Yahr’s followers regularly lip-synch him along with various right figures, but he carefully selects his clips so as not to spread harmful messages. “I always want to do something that has a degree of absurdity, that it is funny and entertaining. Sometimes people send me clips of conservative Republican people telling their nonsense, but sometimes it’s not so absurd that it would be funny. It’s just sad and scary and harmful. I never want to radiate and amplify this negativity and poison,” he said.
Yahr said he didn’t expect the lip sync to change anyone’s mind, and most of his followers tend to agree with him in advance. However, he pointed out another message that he thought people might take away from his videos.
“I just hope I can remind people that this is not normal. Where we stand in relation to what has become mainstream for republicans, speaking out loud is not okay. It is not normal. It’s not safe, and I just hope that I’m reminded of it all the time and that I can make people laugh in addition,” he said.
Later in the conversation he said: “There was a time when such people kept these thoughts to themselves, when they didn’t feel as encouraged and activated as they do now. I don’t want to take that at face value. I would like to say: ‘No. Your racism, your conspiracy theories – all of these things – do not deserve to be broadcast publicly to this extent.
You can find more information about Yahr on his website.