How not to watch Trump’s first State of the Union address

Don’t worry, it’ll be over soon.
Don’t worry, it’ll be over soon.
Image: AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
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Donald Trump is set to give his first State of the Union address as US president on Tuesday night (Jan. 30) at 9pm ET. All major US broadcast networks and cable news channels will carry the speech live, so it may feel like there’s no escaping it if you’re an American who’s usually plopped down by the TV at that time. But I assure you, there are other options.

A presidential tradition since 1790, each year the US commander-in-chief delivers a speech to a joint session of US Congress about his administration’s accomplishments and plans for the new year. They’re kind of like the Super Bowl for political wonks, who often obsess over granular details of the evening, from the body language of those in the room to the vain attempts by congressmen to shake hands with the president as he enters the chambers in the hopes of securing five precious seconds of screen time for themselves.

It’s unclear what exactly Trump plans to talk about. His only concrete accomplishment of note over the past 12 months is a tax reform bill that remains unpopular with the majority of Americans. Just 39% of American voters approve of Trump’s job as president—10% less than Barack Obama’s standing at this stage in his presidency in 2010.

After the speech, a representative from the opposing party typically delivers a rebuttal, which also airs on national television. This year, Joe Kennedy, a representative from Massachusetts (and the grandson of liberal icon Robert F. Kennedy) will respond on behalf of the Democratic party.

But you don’t care about any of that, do you? Me neither. Here are some things you can do instead:

  • Like US representative John Lewis is doing, you can skip the speech altogether. Maybe go get some pizza?
  • Put the speech on, but turn your back to it, and wear black, like some Democratic Congresswomen plan to do, to protest sexual abuse and harassment (Trump has been accused by 17 different women of sexual misconduct).
  • Watch it on mute and dub over the speech with your own Trump impression.
  • Read a book.
  • Listen to Hans Zimmer film scores.
  • Start a puzzle, and then quit out of frustration.

Or if you want to watch something else on TV at the same time, here are some fun alternatives:

  • Black Lightning episode three (CW)
  • Re-run of the Victoria episode in which the queen rides a train (PBS)
  • Vanderbilt vs. Kentucky NCAA men’s basketball (ESPN)
  • Re-play of the non-World-Cup-going US men’s soccer vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina (Fox Sports 2)
  • Shark Tank (CNBC), a show featuring actual billionaires
  • Planet of the Birds (National Geographic)—don’t know what that is but sounds scary
  • New episode of I AM Jazz (TLC), a reality series about a transgender girl
  • Something called Do You Poop Enough? (Mall Channel)
  • The Goonies (Syfy)
  • Braveheart (BBC America)
  • Apollo 13 (SundanceTV)
  • #ThatsHarassment (Starz), a series of short sketches about sexual harassment in the workplace.