Feature

Why America's leaders aren't funny

Today's top politicians fall inexcusably short as comic fodder, says Paul Waldman in The American Prospect. Thank goodness we have the media to mock

George Bush's "tendency to mangle his words," Bill Clinton's compulsive "skirt-chasing," John McCain's "old and grumpy" demeanor — all these gentlemen were rife with comic potential. Sadly, President Obama, or any of today's top politicians, says Paul Waldman in The American Prospect, just aren't that funny, and attempts to satirize these notables fall flat. As we head into the fall midterm elections, the most potent political humor mocks the media (see Stewart, Jon; Colbert, Stephen). Can we have President Palin already? An excerpt:

Stop me if you've heard this one: Barack Obama and Joe Biden walk into a bar... have a drink, shake some hands, and leave.

Not laughing? Well, our current political leadership just isn't all that funny. It's not just the Democrats — have you heard any good Mitch McConnell jokes lately? Granted, John Boehner has that orange tan, which is always good for a laugh. But apart from Sarah Palin, who sometimes seems to be doing a subtle yet devastatingly vicious impression of herself, today's top politicians don't offer comedians a particularly target-rich environment...

What's the joke about Obama? The late-night jokes are not as consistent, but if you look at the jokes conservatives make about him, they center on two themes: He's a socialist hell-bent on expanding government, and he has an inflated sense of self-regard...

Read the full article in The American Prospect.

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