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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

For a whole surreal week, Kellyanne didn’t appear on television anywhere. Apparently the gag order came straight from the top.

It was so unfair, not to mention untimely. Yanking her off the air robbed the country of a burgeoning comic icon at a time when we desperately needed to laugh.

Kellyanne had always been there for us, on practically every network newscast — day or night — spouting easily disproven falsehoods with glazed conviction. She was reliably unreliable, and her appearances became an improbable source of humor and comfort.

We were amazed how swiftly she was able to dash from one live interview to the next. She seemed to possess a supernatural sixth sense that alerted her whenever a TV camera crew was in the same zip code.

It was Kellyanne who first described the administration’s daily lies and misstatements as “alternative facts,” a fantastic concept hatched in what is obviously an alternative universe.

It was Kellyanne who introduced us to the “Bowling Green massacre,” a terrorist attack that never occurred, despite her repeated references to it. (In 2011 a pair of Iraqi men were arrested in Bowling Green for plotting to ship money and weapons to al Qaida in Iraq. There was no attack on the Kentucky city, except perhaps in Kellyanne’s imagination.)

It was also she who declared that soon-to-be-fired national security adviser Mike Flynn had “the full confidence of the president.” No one but Kellyanne was remotely surprised when Flynn got canned soon thereafter.

For sheer entertainment, though, it was hard to improve upon Kellyanne’s spontaneous on-air pitch for Ivanka Trump’s fashion products after Nordstrom announced it was dropping the line.

“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff is what I would tell you,” Kellyanne chirped on Fox & Friends, adding, “I hate shopping. I’m going to get myself some today.”

She proudly characterized her riff as a “free commercial,” a clue that she was hilariously unfamiliar with the ethics rules prohibiting White House staff from endorsing products or companies.

But that’s exactly the sort of carefree jabbering that makes her so darn fun to watch.

We were crestfallen when Kellyanne got blackballed by CNN after her Bowling Green hallucinations, and we were elated when they let her back on the air. Then we were crushed again when she was banished from MSNBC’s Morning Joe for habitually saying false things.

Talk about a double standard. Kellyanne’s boss says false things all the time, yet he’s never been barred from any TV programs.

Just a few days ago the president stood before a pep rally in Florida and denounced a non-existent terror attack in Sweden. The folks in Stockholm were just as baffled as the folks in Bowling Green.

It was reported that the Trump pulled Kellyanne out of circulation because she’d strayed “off-message.” This is like Keith Richards firing a roadie for rolling a messy joint.

Sources are now telling reporters that Kellyanne had become a pest by calling up producers and trying to book herself as a guest on news shows, instead of waiting for an invitation. Evidently, all the attention she received during the presidential campaign left her addicted to the bright lights of broadcast studios.

Being silenced by the White House must have been devastating. We are left to wonder if, deprived of video contact with Mika Brzezinski and Jake Tapper, Kellyanne suffered clinical symptoms of withdrawal.

We could almost picture the poor woman reeling and adrift, cornering strangers in Starbuck’s and delivering a feisty if not factual defense of whatever the president happened to say or do that day.

It’s better to imagine that she remained stoic during her week-long exile. Radiant in Ivanka’s Mother of Pearl fan bracelets, or perhaps the Rainbow Moonstone pendant, Kellyanne would have posed defiantly in front of the bathroom mirror.

Interviewing herself, and believing every muddy answer.

But now she’s back on television, flashing that lovable rictus grin and denying that the White House kept her off the air. The queen of alternative facts is all fired up, and totally “on message.”

America is ready to laugh again.

IMAGE: Counselor to U.S. President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway prepares to go on the air in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria