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The Flop Heard ‘Round the World

By David Haldane

Feb. 19, 2024



A Filipino comedian told a joke that flopped. And now the universe is talking about Taylor Swift and her boyfriend.

“The biggest difference between us and the NFL?” comedian Jo Koy quipped at the Golden Globes last month in Beverly Hills. “On the Golden Globes, we have fewer shots of Taylor Swift—I swear.”

A glance at the poker-faced singer coldly sipping her wine provided all the confirmation anyone needed that the joke had landed with a thud. And for weeks, it seemed, the world’s media obsessed on determining the precise speed at which Koy’s monologue had hit the ground.

His playful jab, Swifties knew, was a reference to their idol’s budding romantic relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, for whom she has attended many National Football League games. Being a fan of neither Swift nor football, however, it was news to me. And now all I’m hearing is wild speculation regarding the famous performer and her football-playing beau.

Much of it revolves around politics. Will Swift and Kelce endorse Joe Biden for president in the upcoming US elections, as Swift did in 2020? And, if they do, will it harness the much-needed young-female vote for the aging president who frequently forgets what he’s saying?

A great deal of the speculation prior to last week’s Super Bowl centered on wild conspiracy theories. Had the CIA secretly rigged the game in favor of the Chiefs, assuring a massive audience for Swift’s endorsement? Would a dramatic Kansas City showing set the stage for a riveting half-time announcement?

The speculation even spilled over into how she could make it to the Las Vegas game on time following a sold-out performance in Tokyo the night before. There’s no way, both concerned fans and hopeful critics insisted.

Then the Japanese Embassy in the US weighed in. “Despite the 12-hour flight and 17-hour time difference,” it announced, “the Embassy can confidently…say that if she departs Tokyo in the evening after her concert, she should comfortably arrive in Las Vegas before the Super Bowl begins.”

And, as if on cue, out popped an Associated Press story the next day, reporting that Swift’s private jet had indeed landed at Los Angeles International Airport on schedule.

All of which compelled me to do something I hadn’t done in decades: watch a football game live on streaming TV. And I hate to say it, but, well, it was exciting! Coming from behind in a breathtaking display of moxie, the players from Kansas City beat the San Francisco 49ers 25-22!!

Images of Taylor Swift, of course, were ever-present. There were shots of her nervously biting her nails during tense moments in the game and cheering crazily every time Kansas scored a touchdown. She was shown looking on proudly after the win as her bearded boyfriend rendered a shaky rendition of Viva Las Vegas. And, naturally, we were all treated to a final lingering shot of the famous couple smooching in a triumphant victory hug.

Strangely absent, though, was any talk of politics. And when asked about his ballooning fame, Kelce would say only that “being famous worldwide is a lot different than being famous in Kansas City.”

Even Donald Trump got into the act, declaring that any Biden endorsement by Swift would be disloyal given his support for a 2018 law benefitting songsters. “Besides that,” he added, “I like her boyfriend, Travis, even though he may be a liberal, and probably can’t stand me!”

Personally, I don’t care whether Taylor Swift endorses Biden, as long as potential voters realize that she understands music way more than politics or policy.

What I do care about, though, is my newfound love of football. In fact, what the heck, I may even watch another game.

Guess I owe some thanks to a sometimes-tone-deaf comedian.





David Haldane is an award-winning American journalist, author, and broadcaster with homes in Joshua Tree, California, and Northern Mindanao, Philippines. His latest book, A Tooth in My Popsicle, is available on Amazon. This column appears weekly in The Manila Times.


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