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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Trump has provided Zelensky with a gold mine of material

Now it has become oddly relevant that Volodymyr Zelensky made his living as an actor, comedian, screenwriter, television producer, film producer and director in Ukraine before ascending to the nation's presidency.

His recent phone interaction with U.S. President Donald Trump, and their meeting last week at the UN, might have put him in an embarrassing position at home and in Europe.

And yet someone like Zelensky might console himself that at least he has found a gold mine of material.

Remarkably, Zelensky's big satire show, begun in 2015, is called "Servant of the People" in which he plays the main character, Vasyl Petrovych Holoborodko, a history teacher in his 30s, who surprisingly wins the presidency of Ukraine.

The fictional Holoborodko carried on about government corruption — and by its script, a student's video of it went viral, launching his political career.

The series is going to a fourth season, according to entertainment magazines cited on Wikipedia.

Last week the real-life Zelensky found himself in an awkward position perhaps reminiscent of Larry David's character in "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

His first appearance at the UN General Assembly in New York became a side plot to President Donald Trump's scandal involving Ukraine now under congressional scrutiny.

In the "rough transcript" from their July 25 phone conversation, released by the White House on Wednesday, Zelensky, seeking more missiles from the U.S., goes along with Trump in bashing Germany for an alleged lack of support for the Kyiv government.

The U.S. has been “very, very good to Ukraine” but European nations don't do enough and “Germany does almost nothing for you," Trump is quoted as saying.

Clearly kissing up, Zelensky said Trump was “absolutely right. Not only 100 percent, but actually 1,000 percent.” 

Laying it on thicker, Zelensky said he met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron and told them they weren't working as much as they should for Ukraine.

Then, unbeknownst to Zelensky, the White House published its notes on the remarks. 

“They said they wanted to publish," Zelensky told reporters afterward. "I just thought they would publish their part."

Not to be outdone, a Ukrainian opposition leader asked Zelensky's office to release its own transcript of the call. 

What gaffes and laughs might follow — especially if a Ukraine record of the call conflicts with the American version — becomes anyone's guess.

At this point one could almost hear the tuba music from "Curb"— or maybe recall the appalled face of fictional U.S. President Selina Meyer from the sitcom "Veep."

Sometimes life really does imitate satire.

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