The phrase "populist wave shtick" is unique to this article of The Guardian. Google search returns with only 3 hits, all of them referring back to the article. Does "shtick" in this context mean "a humor that tends to manipulate"?

The definition for shtick is: the type of humour typical of a comedian (= person whose job is to make people laugh). (Cambridge Dictionary)

It didn’t happen. Emmanuel Macron defeated Marine Le Pen. And Bannon himself was out of the White House within eight months. The New York Times claimed that Rupert Murdoch had persuaded Trump to fire him. I suspect it was as much about a Time magazine cover: a photo of Bannon under the headline “The Great Manipulator”. And Trump never had much time for Bannon’s populist wave shtick, implying as it did that Trump’s election was a matter of historic inevitability. In Trump’s mind, he wasn’t swept along in the wave, he was the wave.

Source: The Guardian
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1 Answer 1


That definition is perhaps a little too narrow. "Shtick" was used to describe the particular way that an comedian got laughs. Charlie Chaplin's shtick was his funny walk with a cane. And more generally it means the act that people do to get results.

Bannon's shtick is, in this sense, the populist and anti-immigration rhetoric that he used.

It suggests that this is an act, that Bannon isn't being sincere, but presents himself in a certain way to have a particular effect.

  • Thank you. In the phrase "populist wave shtick, implying as it did that Trump’s election was a matter of historic inevitability", does "it did" mean "it succeeded"?
    – NewPlanet
    Nov 26, 2020 at 6:29
  • 1
    It could be paraphrased as "populist wave shtick, which implied that Trump’s election was a matter of historic inevitability"
    – James K
    Nov 26, 2020 at 6:35

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