It’s official: Late-night TV comics love Obama

posted at 8:15 am on August 21, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Andrew Malcolm provides a biting finale to his report on the imbalance of late-night television comics when it comes to the presidential election.  A study coming out today shows that the major late-night shows make a habit of skewering John McCain but give a pass to Barack Obama.  Obama only got ridiculed 169 times by the broadcast network shows, while McCain was the butt of the joke almost twice as often — 328 times.  Interestingly, the most balanced presentation came from Comedy Central, which combined the Daily Show and Colbert Report to come within six jokes of a dead heat, McCain slightly ahead … which coincidentally resembles the latest polls.

Malcolm fires his own zinger at the networks:

The study did not explore why Obama got off so lightly on the network shows from New York and Burbank. So we’ll all just have to guess: Probably out of simple respect for Obama’s long public service.

Perhaps they feel that satirizing The One is … above their pay grade?

No one who pays any attention to Hollywood’s predilection for hard-Left demagogues will find themselves surprised to see these results.  I’m surprised to see Jon Stewart being the most balanced comic in late-night television.  Shouldn’t that development be accompanied by locusts or frogs?


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I suspect that because everything Obama says, these comics agree with, they just don’t see anything he says or does as funny.

Whereas with McCain, since he’s wrong on everything, he’s automatically the dummy, and dumb is funny.

MarkTheGreat on August 21, 2008 at 8:18 AM

Shouldn’t that development be accompanied by locusts or frogs?

It’s August in Texas and it has been raining like hell. I wondered what was going on. Now I know.

Kafir on August 21, 2008 at 8:21 AM

When I was young I watched late night television. It was overwhelmingly liberal back then too– but so was it’s audience I suspect.

Other than the fact that they’re factually wrong about right and wrong, what’s the problem with libs making entertainment for libs?

JiangxiDad on August 21, 2008 at 8:24 AM

Watching the late-night talking heads twist in the wind would be the only reason to give The Lord Most High Barack Obama the White House.

ZK on August 21, 2008 at 8:24 AM

August in the Panhandle, we may finally hit the 80s for the first time in nearly a week.

Remember that report a few weeks ago, where the late nighters said that they feel like they can’t say bad things about Him?

bikermailman on August 21, 2008 at 8:26 AM

Perhaps the imbalance is due to the fact that everything Obama says is a parody of speech already.

TooTall on August 21, 2008 at 8:30 AM

Perhaps they feel that satirizing The One is … above their pay grade?

That phrase will now become household, along with “swiftboating,” “the definition of is,” “Jenjis Khan,” “getting a Lewinsky,” and “I didn’t inhale.”

It will forever be associated with ridiculing Obama.

fossten on August 21, 2008 at 8:30 AM

Just wait until Saturday Night Live is back.

rockmom on August 21, 2008 at 8:30 AM

The study did not explore why Obama got off so lightly on the network shows from New York and Burbank.

Reminds me of the old joke, updated.
Q: “How many Obamas does it take to screw in a lightbulb?”
A: “That’s not funny! You racist hatemonger!”

rbj on August 21, 2008 at 8:32 AM

“The study did not explore why Obama got off so lightly on the network shows from New York and Burbank. So we’ll all just have to guess: Probably out of simple respect for Obama’s long public service.”

Of course, the study was “weighted” by throwing in the king of comedic overtures—–Keith Olbermann

Rovin on August 21, 2008 at 8:33 AM

This proves that show business really is racist. They think black people are so weak they can’t take a joke.

indythinker on August 21, 2008 at 8:37 AM

Yeah! They’re afraid of being tagged as racist. The Imus lesson was not lost on them. I bet they’d love to get their teeth into Obama. That man’s behavior is made for comedy. Not racist comedy, just comedy. He’s funny to just to watch doing his everyday thing with cloying seriousness.

jeanie on August 21, 2008 at 8:43 AM

Obama needs no help in being a joke. HE is a parody of himself and demonstrates it every time he is off teleprompter or script.

hunter on August 21, 2008 at 8:46 AM

I’m surprised to see Jon Stewart being the most balanced comic in late-night television. Shouldn’t that development be accompanied by locusts or frogs?

Not necessarily. Stewart & Colbert have a certain rank & privilege as being unabashedly liberal. Letterman is a liberal, too, but is sufficiently cagey about it that he doesn’t quite have that “rep.” Leno is pretty non-partisan. That rank and privilege gives Stewart & Colbert two abilities: (1) the ability to joke about Obama without turning off their liberal audience or being accused of racism; and (2) a friendly “practice” forum to debut joking criticism of Obama to get his campaign used to what they might see and what responses are and are not effective.

Outlander on August 21, 2008 at 8:47 AM

Further proof that Rush was right. Media Matters is pushing a headline that Rush said Obama’s nomination is the result of democrats being afraid of a ‘black guy.’

The leftie blogs are hilarious, wearily trying to give it legs, but they’re just phoning it in:

“Hey it’s boycott time again, man. Limbaugh said we caved in to pick Obama because we were too afraid to criticize a black guy! Which we’re not! What a totally racist thing to say, man. It’s like, total racism. He is like, so wrong about that.”

jeff_from_mpls on August 21, 2008 at 9:06 AM

That’s okay. I mock him on a pretty regular basis. Usually about how international crises can probably be solved by bodysurfing.

mjk on August 21, 2008 at 9:07 AM

This proves that show business really is racist. They think black people are so weak they can’t take a joke.

Unfortunately, to a large extent, this is true. Too many Blacks are liberals, & liberals can’t take a joke.

jgapinoy on August 21, 2008 at 9:09 AM

Last week, a co-worker brought a life-size cardboard cut-out of Michael Jackson in leather just for laughs. I grabbed a magazine w/ BO on the cover, & using the copier I enlarged to photo to size, & I taped BO’s face over Michael’s. The very first BO fan who saw it became furious & ripped the BO face off.
If someone had put McCain’s face on there, I would have laughed & left it there.

jgapinoy on August 21, 2008 at 9:14 AM

I wouldn’t read too much into it. I’d bet 320 of those 328 jokes about McCain were “he’s old!” type jokes. Obama’s were probably a bit more cutting.

As a point of comedy, McCain’s an easier target, so the lazy Hollywood writer can throw a “McCain’s Old!” joke into just about anything. They can’t joke about Obama’s race, so that’s out.

Nethicus on August 21, 2008 at 9:19 AM

I’ll give Stewart a little more credit, in that just after the kerfuffle about the New Yorker magazine cover that the Obama folks attacked, Stewart and/or his staff suddenly seemed to realize that if they let this go on and Barack was elected, they were facing the possibility of being intimidated into four years of being unable to make anything but the weakest tea of jokes about the President of the United States. Since then, the comedy on The Daily Show has been a lot more fair and balanced (to borrow a phrase from their least-favorite news network).

They may not be for McCain, and they might not care if the Obama people call Maverick’s campaign or conservatives in general racist. But they’re also making a stand in saying they’re not going to let Barack’s crew try to do the same thing to them or dictate what is and isn’t allowed to be considered funny. As for the main network shows, we’ll see next week if they spend the entire DNC convention spinning Republican jokes, or if they lampoon everything about the convention except for the candidate himself.

jon1979 on August 21, 2008 at 9:21 AM

This proves that show business really is racist. They think black people are so weak they can’t take a joke.

indythinker on August 21, 2008 at 8:37 AM

Gee, where would they have gotten that idea?

Oh yeah, the Obama campaign.

ej_pez on August 21, 2008 at 9:30 AM

Whereas with McCain, since he’s wrong on everything, he’s automatically the dummy, and dumb is funny.

MarkTheGreat on August 21, 2008 at 8:18 AM

I haven’t heard any jokes about McCain’s intelligence. Like Nethicus pointed out, many of the jokes are of the age variety and not very funny since you see them from a mile away.

Attacks on many popular conservatives from liberals focus on intelligence: Reagan was a doddering fool, Bush is a moron. But not on McCain.

When are we going to see a book with ‘Obamisms: The wisdom of the messiah?”

Canadian Infidel on August 21, 2008 at 9:32 AM

Trying to make fun of Barack Obama is like trying to parody a supermarket tabloid; the target is already over the top and if you make it any sillier, it will completely disconnect and not be funny.

Or maybe it’s just that liberals don’t have a sense of humor, and conservatives are too polite to laugh–or too concerned to take the matter lightly. Gee, for that matter, the liberals could be scared, too. Republicans on Fright Night!

njcommuter on August 21, 2008 at 9:48 AM

Giving the crowd what they want. Whereas McCain and Bush jokes are rewarded with explosive guffaws by the doped-up, slobbering liberal boobs in the studio audience, Obama jabs would be greeted largely with silence.

whitetop on August 21, 2008 at 10:01 AM

The libs are making fun of him. It’s just all gone underground.

http://ytmnd.com/search?q=obama&o=|0|all|D|D|0|

thareb on August 21, 2008 at 10:04 AM

Interestingly, the most balanced presentation came from Comedy Central, which combined the Daily Show and Colbert Report to come within six jokes of a dead heat, McCain slightly ahead … which coincidentally resembles the latest polls.

.
Pretty sure that Stewart is a Hillary supporter; that might explain it.

Think_b4_speaking on August 21, 2008 at 10:38 AM

I’m surprised to see Jon Stewart being the most balanced comic in late-night television.

Why does no one remember how hard Stewart was on Clinton 42? He’s an equal opportunity skewerer, he just hasn’t had as much opportunity to hit the left until lately. (It’s not like Pelosi & Co. do any thing funny; they’re just sad.)

Tanya on August 21, 2008 at 10:41 AM

i remember one show Stewart made a joke about Obama, and the audience tittered nervously, and Stewart then said “It’s okay to laugh to at him”.

Sackett on August 21, 2008 at 10:51 AM

Verily, for the late night Comic knows that he is Already on the road to He11, and making light of the Messiah, being a sin in and of itself, will hastene their journey…

Romeo13 on August 21, 2008 at 11:14 AM

The success of late night “comedy” shows is directly related to the fact that doing bong hits in college dorms, makes really stupid things seem funny.

Or so I’ve been told.

NoDonkey on August 21, 2008 at 11:49 AM

I think if you went back and looked, you’d find that their jokes about Obama increased the moment he started tacking center, aka flip-flopping. So now he’s fair game.

apollyonbob on August 21, 2008 at 12:16 PM

O just takes himself and his message so very, very seriously that I bet, given a safe opportunity, he will become the target of a lot of jokes. I have a vision of some writer out there writing really funny stuff about Obama in the dark of his closet.

jeanie on August 21, 2008 at 12:46 PM

Perhaps they feel that satirizing The One is … above their pay grade?

Perhaps they feel that satirizing The One would be seen as racist! LMAO! HAHAHAHAHA! morons!

Chakra Hammer on August 21, 2008 at 1:25 PM

It would be helpful if Obama had done something – anything – to be zinged for. As it is the best we have is the symbol on his new lawn sign.

NTropy on August 21, 2008 at 4:08 PM