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The Most Terrifying Words in Lina Khan’s Stand-Up Comedy Routine

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’” – Ronald Reagan

At recent events, Chair of the Federal Trade Commission and mug-emblazoner Lina Khan has taken to quoting Reagan’s cherished tagline above. Not to express ideological alignment, but as a springboard for workshopping her own modern twists on the perils of private tyranny:

  • At a medical conference, she suggested that the most terrifying words are “I’m from your insurer, and I need prior authorization.”
  • The following week, Khan quipped to tech workers: “I’m from the App Store developer support team, and your application has been rejected.”

Clearly, Chair Khan is on a roll.

But with a budget that sets staffing below 1979 levels, she has scarce time and resources to devote to perfecting her stand-up comedy routine. So it’s time to open a public comment period to efficiently crowdsource new material.

The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from…

  • Boeing, and the good news is your next flight will come with a free toolkit, including several bolts and a wrench.
  • A major airline, and I’m surge-pricing your armrest from now on.
  • UnitedHealth, and I’m here to help you securely process claims.
  • Big Pharma, and I jot down every patent I own in a big orange book so I don’t forget them or accidentally lend one out to a country in need during a global pandemic.
  • A pharmacy benefit manager, and I’m here to make Big Pharma look fair and gentle.
  • Big Tech, and I am a staunch supporter of free speech– so long as that means I get to do ride-sharing discrimination.
  • Your landlord, and I love this new algorithm that nudges other landlords. (Say no more, say no more!)
  • The NCAA, and our target audience has a taste for exploitation.
  • George Mason University’s law school, and this is a dual-purpose job interview/date.
  • A public company, and my financial reporting is inspired by my favorite art genre: Cubism.
  • The Wall Street Journal, and our next op-ed attacking Lina Khan will finally exorcise that impotent all-powerful demoness woman if properly hedged with a forward multiple of garlic and a silver stake under a full moon.
  • The Appropriations Committee, and I’ve made some minor technical adjustments to the appropriations bill after the Wall Street Journal’s patrons whispered sweet nothings about my future career prospects as a professional monop-apologist.
  • Senator Schumer’s office, and my favorite game show is The Floor is Lava.
  • A semiconductor company, and I’m confident there’s no geopolitical or seismic imperative to decentralize the industry.
  • Europe, and I think antitrust is a “side dish” to serious industrial policies. (Hashtag not all Europeans.)
  • Big Tech, and have you heard of our lord and savior, digital trade?
  • A Too Big to Fail Bank, and I’m even Tooer Biggerer to Fail now.
  • Steward Health, and I’m “integrating” your medical needs with those of five thousand bats, all under one roof!
  • A non-profit AI startup, and our large language model was trained on The Antitrust Paradox pursuant to the secret terms of our deal with the Big Tech company that owns 49.9999% of our stock.
  • A district court, and I’m thinking let’s just hire a fleet of consultants to monitor the defendant’s behavior for a few years first before we do anything “drastic” like solve any structural problems at hand.
  • The Chicago School­ of Economics, and I’m here to teach this class of future political leaders how to do a close reading of legislative history.
  • Private equity. Period.           

Want to play along?

Use the hashtag #KhanStandup on whichever social media platform you are least dissatisfied with.


This piece was not generated by a large language model, and therefore reflects only human attempts at humor. Any copyright infringement is inadvertent and not intrinsic to my business model. Although this piece was proofread by my wonderful husband, it may contain errors that are my fault. Finally, any remaining offensiveness is also my own, despite (unsuccessfully) attempting to seek guidance from an expert sensitivity reader. Void where prohibited.

Laurel Kilgour is a startup attorney in private practice who also teaches policy courses. The views expressed herein do not represent the views or sense of humor of the author’s employers or clients. This is not legal advice about any particular legal situation. To the extent any states might consider this attorney advertising, those states sure have some weird and counterintuitive definitions of attorney advertising.

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