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Helping out Leno and Letterman
Posted by: Billy Hollis on Thursday, August 21, 2008

Over at Instapundit, I saw a reference to this study on how TV humorists are treating the major presidential candidates.

Comedy Central is the equal-opportunity choice, making fun of all sides about equally. That increases my respect for Jon Stewart another notch.

Leno and Letterman don't seem to have found their mojo on going after Obama. Perhaps it's because the guy comes across as pretty humorless, so he's just not that easy to make fun of.

On an apparently unrelated note, Insty's link just above that one says the Obama-Ayers connection is finally breaking into the mainstream media.

That set me to wondering about something. The late night comics seem to settle on certain themes for jokes about politicians. For example, right now, the dominant theme on McCain is his age.

The Ayers connection looks like a real possibility for Obama. Why, the jokes practically write themselves. Here's a couple I came up with off the cuff:
Obama should have been suspicious the first time he visited Bill Ayer's house. The Threat Level Sign outside his door was clearly set to Orange.
Obama is having a conversation with Bill Ayers while visiting Ayer's office. Obama is reading the plaques on Ayers' wall.

"Bill, what's this plaque for?"

"Barry, I got that award for my program to assist elementary school children."

"How about that one over there?"

"Oh, that's my Terrorist of the Year award from Weather Underground."
Now granted, these are not that great, but then I'm not a professional humor writer for a network show, either.

Perhaps QandO readers could try their hand at producing their own. We might as well help out those poor struggling late-night comics as they come to grips with their Obama humor deficit.

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Previous Comments to this Post 

This is one of the funniest things I’ve read. So when the media focuses on Obama, "he’s getting all the press" and "McCain is being ignored". And when McCain is getting all the press, "they are laying off of Obama".

Neocons are priceless!
Written By: ff11
URL: http://
I love bungee commenters. They prove a point so quickly.

Of course, it’s usually not the point they intended to make.
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
What no one seems to understand is it’s a good thing that Ayers is a major supporter of Obama. The thing about Ayers is, when he tells you someone is "the bomb, yo!" he speaks from experience.
Written By: Ronnie Gipper
URL: http://
Perhaps it’s because the guy comes across as pretty humorless, so he’s just not that easy to make fun of.
Or perhaps it is because it is too easy to make fun of him... :)
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Good one, Ronnie. And a lot more hip than anything I would come up with.

(Is "hip" still the right word to use?)
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Also, in a letter to the Library, Ayers was called a terrorist, and it amused me to see the response that "The case was dropped, and Ayers was never convicted of anything".

Which isn’t entirely accurate. The case wasn’t dropped, it was thrown out by a judge and Ayers couldnt’ be re-tried. If not for a bungle by the FBI, Ayers would have been convicted...

And it ignored the "I don’t regret setting bombs, I don’t feel that we did enough" comment from Ayers... Convicted or not, he confessed...
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Barack and Michelle walk into a bar. Barack has a parrot on his shoulder, facing Michelle. The bartender takes their orders and when he comes back with two beers he asks Barack, "What’s with the parrot?"

Barack says, nodding up at the television, which is showing a basketball game, "I’m going to watch the game, so if I miss something Michelle says to me, the parrot has me covered."
Written By: Martin McPhillips
Look, what you’re all missing here is that after years of friendship and working with Ayers, Obama has unshakable faith that you can handle terrorists with diplomacy. As in, "We seem to have run out of potato salad, Bill. I’m going to pop out to the Safeway for some more; don’t blow anything up while I’m gone!"
Written By: Ronnie Gipper
URL: http://
Obama and Ayers are having dinner together in a Chicago restaurant.

Ayers gets up to use the bathroom.

When he comes out of the bathroom, he rushes right past their table and out of the restaurant.

Seconds later a bomb explodes in the bathroom blowing debris into the dining room.

Barack stands up and shouts, "I have no idea who that man was."
Written By: Martin McPhillips
Barack Obama v. Jesus in a game of hoops.

Jesus wins of course... in overtime.

(Old SNL skits are the best).
Written By: Is
URL: http://
This is good stuff.

I particularly liked the bathroom joke, Martin.
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
"I particularly liked the bathroom joke, Martin."

Yeah, bathroom humor relly hits the spot.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
It was a bomb joke.

If you want bathroom humor it has to begin, "Barack is sitting in a stall in the men’s room at Dulles airport when he hears a voice speaking to him from inside the toilet..."
Written By: Martin McPhillips
Speaking of bathroom humor, here’s a funny one:

You are a republican congressman trying to initiate anonymous gay sex in a bathroom stall. Which of the following is your most likely would-be partner if you appear to have initial success?

a- Another republican congressman looking for anonymous gay sex.

b- A televangelist looking for anonymous gay ses.

C- A law enforcement official who is about to arrest you.
Written By: ff11
URL: http://
Comedy Central is the equal-opportunity choice, making fun of all sides about equally. That increases my respect for Jon Stewart another notch.
Well then you MUST BE A LIBERAL, Billy.

At least if one were to side with producer of NewsBusted, the right wing’s version of The Daily Show, Mathew Sheffield. That’s what I was accused of in our exchange over at The Next Right.
The agenda is completely implicit in his comedy. Almost every "Daily Show" political joke is predicated on one of the following assumptions:
1. Conservatives are ignorant religious rubes
2. Non-stupid conservatives are thoroughly evil
3. Iraq = blood for oil
4. Bush lied, people died
5. Patriot act will kill us all
6. All conservatives are corrupt

I don’t watch either Leno or Letterman, but from what I gather from the many clips I’ve seen on other venues is that McCain’s age seems to be the primary punch line in their barrage of one liners. (Does “one liners” get a hyphen? I don’t know. Mkultra, help me out with that one, will you?)
And that would make perfect sense for Leno or Letterman. Their monologues are by design meant for fast paced, easily digested jabs. It’s just incredibly easy to make fun of old people. We all do it all of the time. We constantly jab at the age of our friends, family, and even our own age. It’s reliable and requires little consideration.
It’s time tested drollery. What’s the one thing you remember most about The Benny Hill Show? It’s that old man, isn’t it?

So jokes about Obama present more of a challenge. Especially considering the obvious third rail one must dance around.
Of what I’ve seen, most of the comedic attempts from the Right on Obama come from a few of his gaffs, like the “57 states” comment, or they have been childish play-on-words like “Obamissiah”. And I assume that if one really didn’t like Obama, one would consider these amusing. These jokes being not without merit, personally, I find these stale and unimaginative. But leave it to the pros at The Daily Show to work it over…
After a quick meet and greet with King Abdullah, Obama was off to Israel, where he made a quick stop at the manger in Bethlehem where he was born.
Now that’s funny.

I’m not particularly good at coming up with baseline jokes involving a subject, narrative, and a concluding punch line, but here it goes…

Barack Obama walks into a bar, and his ears get snagged on the door jam… No, that doesn’t work.

In a press release, Barack Obama puts forward his plan to help clothe impoverished nations around the world by sending them all of the underwear that has been thrown at him on stage…
Nah, not good enough.

A priest, a rabbi, and Barack Obama are in a boat when a mermaid appears and… Ah, just forget it.

I’ll leave you with an oldie but a goodie.
A mouse is at a bar drinking when a lovely giraffe walks in and the mouse decides to go chat her up.
The barkeep notices them leaving together that night and when the mouse came in the next day the barkeep just had to ask, “Hey mouse, what happened with you and the giraffe last night?”
The mouse smiled and said, “Oh man, between all of the kissing and the shagging I must have run about ten miles.”

Now that’s good funny.
(Don’tcha get it? The mouse had to run up the giraffe’s neck in order to… *sigh*)


Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Oh cool, gay legislator jokes!

You are a democratic congressman from Massachusetts having sex with young male Congressional pages and your constituents think that’s okay and they re-elect you for many terms.


Let me try again with a non-gay joke, I’m not good at those....

You are a Senator from Massachusetts and as a result of your drunken carelessness your car has killed more women than 99% of the hand guns in the United States. When it comes time for re-election your constituents think that’s okay they re-elect you for many terms.

Oh, that’s right, that really happened, that’s not funny at all.
Sorry, never mind.
I’ll come up with another one that’s funny, I promise.

Written By: looker
URL: http://
This about sums it up
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Speaking of cars and killing,

Why did Laura Bush dump her boyfriend?

He was too run down.
Written By: ff11
URL: http://
At least get your facts straight ff11, it makes the joke funnier.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looking back at the single term presidency of Obama44, history records that not much is known to have happened — except during the final three years of his term when he actively campaigned for the high office of "Planetpotentiary" of the Solar System.

Written By: Gary
URL: http://
All of these suck. Don’t take it personally: what professional writers do to make them "professional" is to throw out 99% of their material.
Written By: Ben
Well, Ben, I said in the post that mine weren’t great. I think a couple in the comments were worth a bit of a chuckle.

Of course, if you’re an anonymous Obama supporter with no sense of humor, you might think differently.
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://

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