In fairness, there has been some pointed humour aimed at Obama. “They’ve done a lot of jokes about the bailout, some jokes about how he’s so cool, he’s this messiah figure,” says Russell Peterson, a former stand-up comic who now teaches American studies at the University of Iowa. But too often, it seems, the President is being used to simply set up well-worn lines about dumb ol’ George W. and Bill Clinton, the horn dog. Some argue there’s a reluctance to poke fun at the boss during these tough economic times. Others have suggested that the group of middle-aged white hosts are afraid to take swipes at a black guy. “You don’t want to appear racist,” Buddy Winston, a former writer for The Tonight Show, told the L.A. Times. “You can’t do the stereotypical thing.” Then there’s the claim it’s all a big liberal conspiracy, a theory bolstered by the fact that most in the comedy business are Democrats. But all that, say experts of political humour, is a joke. What it really comes down to is the lack of an angle, an easy hook. Obama doesn’t screw around with the English language or interns, which makes him tougher to write. “It’s a telling indictment of [the mainstream network shows’] approach, which has to do with superficial things, personality stuff,” says Peterson, author of Strange Bedfellows: How Late-Night Comedy Turns Democracy into a Joke. “Obama doesn’t fit their easy way of doing things.” Even Saturday Night Live’s Fred Armisen, a master chameleon, hasn’t quite perfected Obama in the way Dana Carvey nailed Bush Sr. and Will Ferrell channelled W.