In the wake of the New Yorker's hilarious cover image of black Muslim insurgents Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, the New York Times interviewed a bunch of comedy writers from a number of talk shows and stuff to talk about the proper way to make fun of the Democratic presidential candidate.
The general consensus among them seems to be that you just can't make jokes about the guy, because there's just nothing funny about him…
Why? The reason cited by most of those involved in the shows is that a fundamental factor is so far missing in Mr. Obama: There is no comedic "take" on him, nothing easy to turn to for an easy laugh, like allegations of Bill Clinton's womanizing, or President Bush's goofy bumbling or Al Gore's robotic persona.
"The thing is, he's not buffoonish in any way," said Mike Barry, who started writing political jokes for Johnny Carson's monologues in the waning days of the Johnson administration and has lambasted every presidential candidate since, most recently for Mr. Letterman. "He's not a comical figure," Mr. Barry said.
Tell me about it! What's funny about a guy who travels across the country making vague promises of "hope" and "change" and then turns around and supports a bill designed to rob us our 4th Amendment rights at the behest of the least popular president in the Earth's history?
I just can't think of anything! Gah! It's so hard being a comedy writer these days!
Jon Stewart — popular host of a little show you may have heard of called You Wrote It, You Watch It (amongst other less popular shows) – says that audiences seem less than inclined to laugh at the self-important, Christ-like savior of liberal idealism…
Despite audience resistance, Mr. Stewart contended, his show had been able to develop a distinctive angle on Mr. Obama. Noting that the senator seems to emphasize the historic nature of his quest, Mr. Stewart said, "So far, our take is that he's positioning himself to be on a coin."
Yeah. That or a cross.
Tags: Barack Obama, David Letterman, Jon Stewart, Michelle Obama, New York Times, New Yorker, The Daily Show, The Late Show, Tonight Show