After nearly two years in the mind of Melania Trump, Erin Diamond finally understands what makes the first lady a ticking time bomb. Credit: Courtesy of Artist

When writer and actor Erin Diamond steps onstage at Uptown Underground, she’s spray-tanned, her eyes piled with mascara, squinting as if she’s in desperate need of prescription lenses. She wears a gold-sequined gown that blends in with the gold-leaf design on the maroon pillows and cushions on the thronelike seats onstage. In Christmas: By Melania, Diamond subverts Mrs. Trump’s obsession with opulence by playing her as the host of a chintzy TV Christmas special, the kind emceed by Bob Hope or the Osmonds during the 1970s and ’80s. Diamond has been performing as Melania since February 2016; here’s what she has concluded about Trump’s shallow character after spending so much time deep in that dungeon:

Melania is bad.

The “Free Melania” [campaign] really bothered me, seeing people paint the narrative that she’s living in this castle as a damsel in distress. It shows the bias that women don’t want to [believe] there are bad women out there. She’s not someone who got trapped by some powerful man and had to make a choice in order to survive. She dated Donald Trump for seven years before she married him. And then throughout their marriage—she went on Larry King Live when Joy Behar was guest hosting and shilled that whole birther thing gladly and with force. When it came time to talk about the accusers [of sexual misconduct against Donald Trump], she said, “We need to look into who these women are.”

This is also the same woman who says she’s her own person and doesn’t have to listen to [her husband]. Certainly that’s true; she stayed away from the campaign for such an extended period of time. What’s helpful to me is understanding that her choice has been to make specific trade-offs, which women always make in life. Whether she’s definitely in love with him or not, she married this awful guy so she can benefit from a particular lifestyle and grow her brand to pursue her business dreams, and help spread racist lies about our former president, which is extremely harmful to our country, particularly people of color. She believed that no matter the outcome, she was going to be able to sell her products.

She wants to pillage our democracy for the benefit of the family businesses. I do not feel bad making people laugh at her expense. She has made herself more than fair game.

Christmas: By Melania Mon 12/11 and Tue 12/19, 8 PM, Uptown Underground, 4707 N. Broadway,, $15.