Once upon a time there was widespread concern that America’s late-night TV comedians, who fuel and reflect so much of popular culture’s chatter, would shy away from making fun of the Smoker-in-Chief because, well, you know.
As someone who collects these passing smiles, we can report that is not the case. Here are a few recent offerings:
Letterman: Vice President Joe Bidens birthday party was over the weekend. President Obama was so excited he asked Biden to attend in his place.
Leno: Happy Birthday to Joe Biden. President Obama got him a gag gift. No, not a funny gift. A real gag.
Conan: President Obama scheduled to grant a turkey the traditional pardon on Wednesday. But a spokesman for the turkey now says it doesn’t need a pardon. It needs a job.
Fallon: What is going on these days? George W. Bush writes a 500-page memoir and Obama publishes a kids coloring book.
Leno: Tough decision for President Obama this week: Pardon the turkey or Democrat Rep. Charlie Rangel.
Fallon: Today, President Obama is going down to Kokomo, Ind. That makes sense. No one knows better how to get there fast and then take it slow.
Fallon: Experts announce a new plan to slash the federal debt by $6 trillion. All we have to do is switch from regular light bulbs to not having a federal government.
Leno: House Democrats just elected Nancy Pelosi as their minority leader for the new Congress. Why mess with success, right?
Conan: Congressional Democrats push for $12 billion in additional unemployment benefits. They say they can’t turn their backs on those who until two weeks ago were House Democrats.
Conan: Donald Trump wants to know if people think he should run for president. So his folks launched a website called shouldtrumprun.com. Americans have responded with their own website, no.com
Conan: Levi Johnston says he’s not going to do any more interviews. Says he’s already used all the words he knows.
Conan: Oprah Winfrey is reportedly considering buying a property in New Jersey. The property is called, “New Jersey.”
Leno: Michelle Obama announces her plan to install 6,000 salad bars at schools across the nation. They expect as many as three students to use them.
SNL: The first ever Starbucks at sea opened this week on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. And somehow there’s already a homeless guy in the bathroom.
Fallon: President Obama over in Portugal last week pointed out to his hosts that his dog, Bo, is a Portuguese Water Dog. Yeah, that’s a good way to make friends: ‘Hey, you know who’s just like you people? My DOG.’
Fallon: GM wants to thank all who made its recovery possible: Toyota’s brakes, Toyota’s steering and Toyota’s accelerators.
Fallon: AAA says 42 million Americans will travel over the Thanksgiving holiday. Also, 30 million of them won’t be talking by the time they get there.
Letterman: A new wrinkle this year for Wal-Mart’s midnight store openings on Thanksgiving Friday: They’ve added bulls to the run.
Leno: A rough week for President Obama. He’s gotta pardon a turkey, deal with a lame duck Congress, eat crow and China flipped him the bird over currency.
Letterman: In these times you know you’re having a bad day when your body scan at the airport gets the guards laughing.
Fallon: Senior Olympics in California — 90% of the athletes tested positive for Ensure. And the Chinese gymnasts who claimed to be 90? Turned out they’re only 86.
Leno: Facebook launches the next-generation messaging system — a combination of IM, text and e-mail designed to ensure that nothing gets done at any workplace ever again.
Fallon: New plan out to cover $6 trillion of the nation’s debt. First, look at all the spending for the past five years. Then, ask China for $6 trillion more.
(Malcolm is the regular Top of the Ticket blogger at: latimes.com/ticket )