Barack Hussein Obama is the president-elect of the United States of America. The press, Hollywood, and the rest of the world will be in their element celebrating this “historic” outcome and looking forward to change, however that might manifest itself.
However, it is not all champagne and kisses for everyone. And no, I am not talking about Republicans, capitalists, or Israel. I can think of one group, possibly even worldwide, who will have mixed emotions no matter who they wished to win.
Of whom do I speak?
The comics of the world are of whom I speak. Based on past performance none of them has the stomach, the courage, or the inclination to make even one major gag at the expense of Obama. They have had their way with Bush, Cheney, McCain, Palin (in extremis), and, of course, Hillary Clinton. Saturday Night Live and comedy clubs across the land have been filled with comedians doing their best to mock all politicians — all but Obama.
So what are these poor comics going to do now? Are they going to stop doing political comedy altogether? If the Democrats control Congress and Obama is president will they no longer have anyone to mock? How will they cope post-inauguration? They might get away with a few more months of Bush-bashing but, after that, what new material can they use?
Keen observers of the comedy world will have watched the ever-present “Bush is a moron” rescue joke that has saved all but the worst comic when bombing. It always gets a laugh and seems to recover their momentum.
Granted there are events like Evan Sayet’s monthly comedy gig in Hollywood, Right to Laugh, which might feature a few gags about our new president. His right-of-center set of comedians goes against the grain of almost every comic — barring Dennis Miller, whose career can be expected to thrive — but he is in the minority.
There is another possibility. Now that Obama is safely in the presidency, they can finally start having a go at the messiah-like figure who has been elected to the highest office. Will they finally find their comedic spine and start making edgy comedy aimed at Obama — Saturday Night Live skits about the various insanities of the Obama movement and all those who threw themselves at the previously unknown and completely inexperienced man from Chicago?
It’s unlikely. Even Letterman, Leno, and O’Brien’s writers haven’t yet been able to muster many jokes about Obama. And the hesitance isn’t limited to the U.S. There are British comedy panel shows that have not dared to take any potshots at Obama while being vile to McCain and Palin.
Over the past few weeks, I have followed their comedic output: lots of jokes about McCain’s age and Palin’s background, but nothing about Obama’s colorful past. Is there really nothing at all funny about Obama?
Hopefully, we will see the late-night hosts start to poke fun at President-elect Obama starting tonight — unless the fact we have a black president means that we can no longer make fun of our leader because of his race.
Spare a thought for the poor professional comic: they now live in uncertain times.
Americans voted for change and probably many comics did as well. However, it is likely that they didn’t realize the first thing that would have to change would be their profession.