How Trump’s Win Changed a Joke in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

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Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Vulture Festival

In the first episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s 12th season, Dennis (Glenn Howerton) and Mac (Rob McElhenney) question how bad black people in America really have it. They probably don’t have it that bad, Mac concludes, since “we did have a black president before the orange one.” But had Hillary Clinton taken the presidency, like the show’s writers believed she would, that line would’ve been different. Still insulting, just different.

“What’s funny is when we shot that episode, he was not president,” Howerton said at Vulture Festival L.A. on Sunday. Kaitlin Olson chimed in, “We just assumed it would be Hillary. We made a Clinton reference and were like, ‘We should just get one [for him] just in case it’s Trump.’” Mac’s line intended for the show was, “We had a black president before we had the shrill one,” referring to Clinton, though, they shot an alternate take of McElhenney saying “the orange one” for safety.

It came in handy. “We edited the ‘shrill’ one in, and then he became president, and we were like, ‘Oh my god,’” Howerton said. “We had to go back and change it.” In hindsight, Charlie Day thinks the line could’ve had even more bite. He added, “We knew so little about him. We could’ve said, ‘Before we had the rape-y one.’”

The crew will begin writing season 13 in February, with plans to start shooting in April, aiming for a potential fall or summer premiere. They’re confident they’ll continue to comment on the current political climate while delivering the same familiar insulting, politically incorrect content still likely to offend those who don’t get it. “Normally, we don’t care what you guys fuckin’ think,” says Day.

How Trump’s Win Changed a Joke in Always Sunny