Barack Obama is funny. Back in August the New York Times Magazine published an interesting piece about his unique brand of presidential humor. In the wake of the Henry Louis Gates, Jr. arrest (and before he dropped the “s” bomb on that beer-loving cop) Obama quipped: “I mean, if I was trying to jigger into — well, I guess this is my house now, so it probably wouldn’t happen. Here I’d get shot.” Edgy, right? See also: Nancy Reagan, séances; Special Olympics, bowling; Jessica Simpson, fat.
As Matt Bai explained in his piece, unlike more earnest leaders of yore, Obama comes out of a post-modern comedic tradition that’s more self-aware and self-deprecating:
“What makes Obama’s humor more combustible isn’t just its spontaneity but also its distinctly postmodern, Seinfeldian premise. There’s an absurdist quality to the president’s less serious side, a sense that he woke up this morning to find himself occupying this singularly bizarre place in American life and that he has just now become aware that he’s the only sane guy in the room.”
Anyway, this is all a lot of lead up for this link to the audio clip of Obama calling Kanye West a jackass.
It’s hilarious. We listened to it about five times now. It makes him seem incredibly real — especially that delightful little jab at PETA — and somehow connected to us/less immersed in Washington. Perhaps it’s silly that some one-liner about a pop culture feud makes us feel this way, but it does. That said, if George Bush had ever weighed in on something this trivial (even inadvertently, off the record), we would have thought it was ridiculous. Imagine the field day Jon Stewart would have had.
So, what do you think? Does Barry make you laugh? Do you think it’s any surprise that a generation who gets their news from Comedy Central wants a funny president?
Update: And now’s there video. Enjoy!