Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Nothin' Funny About Barack?

"...Obama has cast so many political humorists into a bad spot because he lacks the obvious defining qualities -- both mentally and physically -- that transformed previous Oval Office occupants into comedic catnip.

The 44th president's elusiveness as a comic target is more than just superficial, however, and reveals deep national reluctance toward mocking a leader in crisis and toward discussing race. Much of humor's punch derives from the humbling of the mighty, but that card has, for now, been greatly diminished in the wake of the financial meltdown.

But it's Obama's African American heritage more than any other single factor that has perhaps frozen comics' pens and keyboards. Political humorists, most of whom are white, have never dealt with a black president and aren't sure how their material will be received. Is an Obama joke truly aimed at the office and its policies, or is it merely a smokescreen for racial prejudice?

"You don't want to appear racist," said Buddy Winston, a former writer for the "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." "You can't do the stereotypical thing. Someone who's a Texan or an elite is much easier to attack." (Read the whole story)

Maybe it's just me, but Obama's borderline pathological teleprompter dependence (especially for one dubbed as such a fantastical orator) could provide hours of race-free comedy. Along with his horrible luck in picking cabinet members... His gift choices for English royalty...his wife's clothes and expressions...the fact that he got a black and white dog and named it BO. Need I go on?

Actually, Chris Moody has a Bush joke and an Obama joke --they work perfectly together!

And this totally warrants its own post, but it fits so nicely here:

An admitted lefty writer at the Detroit Free Press laments over the fact no one can talk trash on Obama (comedy or actual political discussion) or it's akin to treason...

"One example: Obama's comment to Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show," comparing his bowling abilities to someone in the Special Olympics.

Can you imagine the uproar had Bush said that? He'd be banished from bowling alleys for eternity. His bowling average and IQ would have immediately been compared in Twitter messages demanding his resignation.

But instead, media and water cooler conversations the next day were about bowling scores and how tough the game can be. Anyone bringing up the insensitivity of the president's remark heard, "Come on, give the guy a chance. So he said one thing wrong. Anyone could have said something like that." End of discussion..." (You must read the entire piece!)

HUGE H/T to Newsbusters.

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