November 2, 2010

Well, it’s Election Day here in America, so let’s see what the New York Times has to say …

They might be funny, but the late-night TV hosts are just as partisan in their jokes as the politicians they make fun of.

Oh jeez, here we go…

President Obama has been the biggest target for all four comedians, coming in for a combined 309 darts from Jan. 1 to Sept. 6. But Mr. Stewart, left, and Mr. Letterman aimed 58 percent of their jokes at the Republicans,


This is just completely unacceptable. All comedy shows should have someone on staff counting the number of jokes to make sure they’re slamming one side exactly as hard as the other, or else the show should be cancelled.

The most important thing is to make sure nobody feels slighted, which is the number one rule of comedy. The best political comedy is the kind that’s wishy-washy and never takes any stances. A comedian should take great pains to ensure s/he is objective, for some reason.

Want to tell a hilarious witch joke about Christine O’Donnell? Well you’d better have a good joke about Blanche Lincoln ready, such as… uh… well… that’s she’s really old or something, I’m assuming? I mean, what kind of parent names their kid “Blanche?” That is such a grandma name, am I right folks? No offense to any grandmothers out there, of course.

while two-thirds of Mr. Leno’s subjects were Democrats.

OK, this surprised me a little. If there’s anyone who’d actually adhere to a meticulously-calculated Joke Quota to avoid the semblance of bias, I’d have figured it’d be Jay Leno.

Mr. Fallon, right, made fun of liberals 78 percent of the time.

I know what you’re thinking: Jimmy Fallon is an arch-conservative??? I haven’t watched his show in a long time, but I’m pretty sure his monologue is still only three jokes long. And since monologues focus on national news, you can bet your sweet bippy that one of those three jokes is going to involve the current president (D-USA), since he’s the biggest newsmaker. It’s different from Leno’s show, where the monologue is the main attraction and lasts about 15 minutes. Letterman’s monologue is slightly shorter, and Stewart’s show is basically all politics. So I think including Jimmy here is a bit like taking a single Garfield comic and comparing it to a year’s worth of Cathy (See?? In today’s strip, 100% of the jokes were about lasagna!).

Among the sample jokes cited in the study: “The economy is so bad, Al Gore had to give himself a massage.” (Mr. Leno); “George W. Bush is writing a book … It’s all part of his war on literacy.” (Mr. Letterman); “Glenn Beck and his magic erasable truth board.” (Mr. Stewart).

As I read this paragraph, horns.aiff played in my mind. With all the hubbub about THE LATE NIGHT WARS, we often forget just how groan-worthy their jokes are. Also I’m reasonably certain the example joke for Jon Stewart is part of a longer joke, unless I missed a really conceptual Daily Show where he just sat there spouting non-sequitur sentence fragments.