Country music fans tuned in to the Country Music Awards Wednesday evening and witnessed Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley open the show with some smooth-sounding jokes about politicians from both sides of the aisle.
Both hosts pointed out that they were told to stay clear of politics by the show’s producers. But they ignored the warnings and dove straight into political jabs at politicians, including President Donald Trump.
Underwood said producers required this year’s show to be a “politics-free zone.” She added, “Clearly we can’t say or play anything.” Paisley, strapped with his guitar, playfully asked if that meant he’d be barred from performing such songs as “Hold Me Closer, Bernie Sanders” and “Stand By Your Manafort.”
He also suggested other titles that incorporated the names of Anthony Scaramucci and Hillary Clinton.
Underwood and Paisley then proceeded with a parody of her 2005 hit, “Before He Cheats,” reconfigured it to address the president. They sang about a gold-plated White House toilet seat, leading into a chorus of “Maybe next time he’ll think before he tweets.” Along the way, they mentioned “Rocket Man” and nuclear war.
The Country Music Association initially requested that reporters covering the show refrain from asking musicians about politics or recent shootings. Artists and journalists balked and the restrictions were lifted.
Presenters and winners also used their time onstage to talk about unity, if not politics. Presenter Tyler Perry received a standing ovation when he said, “It has never been more important that we all, right now, come together and find some common ground.”
Below are small clips from the parody.
— CMA Country Music (@CountryMusic) November 9, 2017