Correction: Obama is too cool to joke about
posted at 6:22 pm on April 25, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
My bad. Last July I penned a column that challenged the conventional wisdom that Barack Obama was too cool to joke about. It turns out I was mistaken. Mediaite’s Noah Rothman writes that “opinion leaders” Jimmy Kimmel and the Chris Cillizza (a writer for the Washington Post) both recently observed “within 24 hours of one another … that Obama maintains a monopoly on cool.”
While I can’t say I’m that familiar with the work of Chris Cillizza, I am better acquainted with the oeuvre of Jimmy Kimmel, whose CV includes that laugh riot The Man Show. Kimmel may not know that much about politics, but he’s an expert on cool. A regular doctor of coolology he is. And according to Kimmel, the president is one cool daddy-o. OK, I’m exaggerating: Kimmel didn’t really say daddy-o.
He did, however, say in an interview with Reuters that “It’s hard to make fun of Obama in general because he’s a cool character. Outside of his ears, there’s not a whole lot.”
Hmm. Fancy that. So when Obama intones the names of foreign places (well, most foreign places—he says Afghanistan like everybody else) with the foolishly exaggerated accent of someone struggling to appear erudite and worldly, Kimmel sees no comedic grist. Nor apparently does he find any yuk potential in Obama’s many Bushisms (“I don’t know what the term [for wheeling and dealing] is in Austrian,” “We’re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad,” Cinco de Cuatro”).
Apparently, wearing “mom jeans” and a fielder’s glove to throw out a ceremonial first pitch and then delivering said pitch like a girl doesn’t float Kimmel’s boat, either. And if you don’t see any humor in that, you’re certainly not going laugh when the president, posing for a group portrait of world leaders, sticks his hand up to wave just as the shutter is being snapped and obscures the face of the dignitary standing next to him. Anyone else committing a boo-boo of this magnitude would seem like a gigantic doofus, but Obama’s coolness obviously spares him ridicule.
Cilliza agrees that Obama is too cool for school. Here he is on MSNBC’s Hardball declaring, “This is important, he [Obama] is cool. Mitt Romney is not cool.” Matthews demonstrates his own coolness by playing a video of Romney echoing Obama’s support for extending the current student loan interest rate and then asking, “Can you dig it?”
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