Private Eye editor Ian Hislop reveals the hilarious Donald Trump cover you’ll never see

Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, the editor of 30 years reveals what goes into a good front page


Laughing at the new Private Eye cover has been a British tradition since 1961, and Ian Hislop has been in charge of them since 1986. (Hislop was 26 when he took over.) But one of its recent targets is as American as they come: Donald Trump.


“Not only was it my thirty year anniversary, so I was really hoping to have a good cover,” he told interviewer Nick Robinson at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, “but with Trump I’ve heard far too many people say ‘oh it’s impossible to satirise him, he satirises himself’.”

“Well that’s not true, you’ve just got to work harder. “

The result?

However, gold like that doesn’t spring out of nowhere, and Hislop walked the audience through the thinking behind it.

“The cover is the focus for people deciding whether they want to buy the magazine, it makes a huge difference for us. One of the early ideas was Trump saying to Hillary Clinton ‘your husband’s behaved appallingly too’, and then Hillary saying ‘well at least he knew when to withdraw.'” 

(Side-note: we laughed at this joke so much we mocked it up ourselves, just for fun.)

Nevertheless, Hislop believes they arrived at the right cover. “It was very graphic and it had the word ‘grope’, and that’s what you wanted to go on. I mean, how much influence can a satirical magazine have on voters in the Midwest? But it got a certain amount of play in America, particularly to embarrass the religious right. This is your candidate, is that what you want?”


Well no matter who wins, at least we got some laughs out of it. That’s something, right?