How Do You Mock Barack When All You’ve Got Is a Pair of Big Ears and a Boatload of Hero Worship?
What’s funny about BARACK OBAMA?
Satirists, late-night talk show hosts and topical stand-up comedians will have to figure that out by tomorrow if he becomes President. Because as Salon noted today, while we’re all excited for change, no one wants to live in a laugh-free world without THE DAILY SHOW or solid SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE impersonations.
The word from the front lines isn’t good. According to SNL writer James Downey, satirizing Obama has posed one of his biggest challenge decades: “The media is kind of madly in love with Obama. He is also such a smooth character that he doesn’t give you many handles.”
Which makes the situation sound more dire than it is. Our suggestions on where to look for the funny after the jump.
Between his infomercial, his Facebook campaign and his Twitter feed, it seems like the most obvious target available is his idiosyncratic methods of connecting with his audience. The idea of Obama 2.0 fighting zombies and updating his status on Facebook or Twittering with BILL CLINTON about foreign policy, for example, seems ripe with comic potential for a Web-savvy SNL audience.
Need proof? Stand-up comic and NEW YORKER contributor ANDY BOROWITZ squeezed blood from a stone with this outrageously funny blog post last week, in which he revealed that Obama’s half-hour infomercial would be a paid advertisement for rock-hard abs. It made us laugh out loud. And then do some crunches.
It’s also important to note that during his time in office, Clinton was impersonated on a record-breaking 73 episodes of the show. Yes, SNL writers had some rich material in the form of all of his sexual escapades, but our point here is that a Democrat in office doesn’t mean the sketches have to stop — they’ll just need to take a different approach.
Another possibility: give conservatives their own Daily Show and let them examine policy. While FOX tried it before with THE 1/2 HOUR NEWS HOUR, satire is difficult to pull off when your guy is at the reins. Conservative news with an anti-establishment bent might have some entertainment potential with Obama in the White House.
Dangerous? Sure. We imagine THE COLBERT REPORT but with more proud eagles and less irony. It might go nicely with some beef jerky though…
Ok, so we’ve told you what we think. Where do you see comedy headed if Obama wins tonight?
– Mo Diggs