It turns out most people’s idea of “fun, fun, fun” does not include shelling out $100+ for the chance to see Donald Trump chat with Bill O’Reilly.
I recently reported that the two old guys, each multiply-accused of sexual misconduct, would begin their tour in December:
According to a press release from O’Reilly’s website, he and Trump will have “a series of live conversations across the country,” starting in December.
A quote from Trump predicted “wonderful but hard hitting sessions.” He said the two will “openly discuss the real problems of our Country,” which “the Fake News Media never mention.” He promised “fun, fun, fun for everyone who attends!”
But unlike Trump’s rallies, which are free, his chats with O’Reilly are pretty pricey. According to Politico, most are $100-300 but “a ‘VIP Meet & Greet Package” goes for more than $8,500 and includes getting pictures taken with Trump and O’Reilly and a pre-show, 45-minute reception.”
The tickets are not selling like proverbial hotcakes. Politico surveyed the various arenas and found sales lagging. For example:
For Trump’s Houston event with O’Reilly at the 19,000-seat Toyota Center, home to the NBA’s Houston Rockets, 60 to 65 percent of seats remain unsold, an employee with access to ticket sales information estimated. And in Sunrise, Florida, a box office employee at the BB&T Center said that they would have expected sales for the Trump-O’Reilly event there to have been “definitely higher” by now.
“It hasn’t been [selling] like crazy,” the person added, noting that events for comedian Katt Williams and podcast star Joe Rogan have done “significantly” better than the Trump-O’Reilly duo thus far.
Politico suggests the low interest may be due to the post-pandemic times, in which people are more interested in attending cultural events than political ones and that there is still plenty of time to sell tickets before the tour. But the site also notes that other political figures have easily sold out such venues. Citing a fact that is sure to infuriate the Obama-phobic Trump, Politico wrote:
Tickets for Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” book tour in 2018, for example, sold quickly, with most tickets for her Chicago United Center stop [sic] selling out within minutes and the cheapest tickets for all the venues selling out in less than two days. Her average venue size was similar to Trump’s, although Trump’s four venues have a slightly higher capacity.
Recently, I had a discussion in our comments section with our ever-insightful reader and commenter Kevin Koster about how much O’Reilly has been able to shake off the sexual abuse scandals that forced him out of Fox. It’s hard to say that they are to blame for the low interest in the tour, as opposed to his absence from prime time television. But there’s no doubt he has lost much of the stature he once had and will not regain what he had hoped for in this tour. I would not be surprised if the crowd-sized obsessed Trump backed out altogether.
O’Reilly is now desperately complaining about the coverage on the poor sales. He’s pulled a bizarre number of having already made 7 million dollars in ticket sales. And he’s threatened to sue Politico for their temerity in reporting this. (I thought that O’Reilly had denigrated people for being too litigious in the past…)
My thinking is that if the ticket sales continue to flounder, they’ll drop the base prices and even let some people in for free if they just show up on the day.
But it’s entirely possible they may do the first event, get embarrassed by a poor turnout (as happened to Trump last summer in the midst of COVID), and then cancel the remaining ones.
I’ve been waiting far too long for Trumpers who live in an alternate world, unconnected with reality, to break free from this hypnotic early stage of idolatry. The next step can only be authoritarianism involving total abdication from personal responsibility of any kind.
What’s happening in the RW world recalls to mind a hilarious part of the film “Borat”, where a fake visitor from one of the “stans” riles up a rodeo crowd with hate-fueled, increasingly violent talking points only for that crowd to go quiet as they realise what he is saying is deeply un-American.
Can I dare hope that we’re at or near the moment when the tide will turn?