LA Times article on comedians and Obama contains a few jokes of its own
Take a look at this article written by Greg Braxton, entertainment writer for the LAT. The premise of it is nothing we haven’t heard before– comedians/late night talk show hosts are having “issues” coming up with “jokes” about Obama because of a number of things – his race being the primary factor. That eased up a bit as the general election campaign season went on, but the reluctance is back again.
Anyway, in addition to race – and the probably that most of the comedians are Democrats themselves (something I wrote in my original piece talking about this issue), here are the other excuses cited as reasons why comedians still have trouble joking about President Obama:
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. He doesn’t have a strong regional accent and didn’t have a strange job before his political rise (former peanut farmer Jimmy Carter). He doesn’t fall down (Gerald Ford). He is not regarded as aging or forgetful (Ronald Reagan). He hasn’t been dubbed a “wimp” (George H.W. Bush). He is not tainted by scandal (Clinton). He doesn’t stumble over the English language (George W. Bush).
Huh? Obama has funny looking ears – even more so than Bush, and Bush’s ears were the subject of jokes almost everytime you watched a comedian perform, a late night talk show host open his show … and let’s not forget about the endless list of political cartoons that used his ears as part of the “joke.” Whether we considered it humor or not, that’s what comedians, talk show hosts, and comics did during the Bush admin. Think about when Clinton was President and how they made fun of his looks. Again, this is what comedians do. But you don’t see it much with Obama.
The writer of the LAT piece has also obviously missed the almost daily Obamateurisms coming out of this administration, which Ed Morrissey has thankfully documented at Hot Air (the most recent one can be read here).
There is a ton of material on Obama that can be used against him by those comedians and talk show hosts, but worry about race accusations – and supporting him themselves – are the key things holding them back. I suspect that without the race angle, the fact that they support him would be much less of a factor. How many times did we hear and see late night talk show hosts take cracks at Bill Clinton? As I recall, SNL got in on the act, too, as they did last year in showing the media’s favoritism towards Hillary Clinton – but even that piece was more of a criticism of the mainstream media than Obama.
Will this reluctance to laugh at our President’s expense continue to plague comedians throughout the Obama admin? Maybe – but my real worry is that this fear doesn’t just persist within the comedic community, but that it also persists in many Americans who saw the use of the race card played last year during the campaign – by Barack Obama, his campaign, his supporters, and the mainstream media, and are seeing it played again this year by prominent supporters – who as a result may stifle their criticism out of fear of being branded a “racist.” Comedians holding back on trying to make jokes about Obama are one thing; stifling your dissent because you’re afraid the race card will be played is something else.