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Comedians sharpen claws for Obama presidency

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They love him now, but America's razor-tongued, left-leaning comedians say president-elect Barack Obama will soon be the butt of jokes.

Satirical cartoonist Ted Rall said he couldn't wait to move on from Republican President George W Bush.

"Making fun of George Bush is so easy -- it's just kindergarten stuff," Rall complained at a post-election comedy discussion panel Wednesday. "Doing Obama is going to be so much more fun."

Political humor enjoys something of a golden age in the United States after a presidential campaign where TV shows like "Saturday Night Live" not only made fun of news, but made news.

Most comedians are strongly Democratic and their juiciest targets were Republicans, especially Sarah Palin, the Alaskan "ice hockey mom" chosen as vice president on John McCain's defeated ticket.

Now Obama, who takes office in January, is in the firing line.

"Obama is so stiff and uptight, he's just asking for it," said Rall, who proudly proclaims his liberal credentials. "I'm going to be fascinated."

Stand-up comedian Roseanne Barr said the coming Obama presidency -- already burdened by huge expectations and vast challenges -- would provide rich material and "raise the intelligence of the jokes."

The discussion, held in Manhattan at the opening of the New York Comedy Festival, soon gave a foretaste of the edginess likely in wisecracks about Obama, the country's first black president-elect.

When Barr innocently predicted "very pointed jokes, tip of the spear jokes," fellow comedian Robert George, who is black, asked in mock shock: "Did you say tip of the SPEAR jokes about a black man?"

For now, most comedians, including the panel on Wednesday, seem to be holding back from making fun of an election victory they all wanted.

Rather un-comic passions exploded during a row between the comedians and one of the panel's two lone conservative guests, Monica Crowley from the right-leaning Fox News channel.

"This is getting out of control," Crowley muttered during a shouting match about Iraq and McCain's negative campaign ads.

But satirical newspaper The Onion is already plunging ahead into the era of Obama humor.

The latest issue carries this story under the headline "Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job."

"African-American man Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America....

"As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind."

One thing that's sure, comedian Lizz Winstead told the discussion panel, is that the jokes will get close to the bone.

"Basically, it's going to be about how he handles power. Is he going to blow it? Will he become an egomaniac?" she asked.

To which Rall responded: "Of course he'll blow it -- they always do!"

© Wire reports

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

25 Comments
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For a very long time, I read Ted Rall's cartoons with one purpose in mind. Finding one that I thought was funny. After a couple of years, I gave up. He's the "Cathy" of political humor, in my opinion and his artwork is horrible.

Taka

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there will be no jokes about 0bama, it would be "racist" .

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For now, most comedians, including the panel on Wednesday, seem to be holding back from making fun of an election victory they all wanted.

I think its more like its just hard to find anything funny about Obama. They have to contrive situations to make it funny, and still, its not Obama you are laughing at but the situation or the people around him. I certainly do not believe comedians are holding back on purpose. That idea might please right wing nuts while they are licking their wounds, but its just not true.

I think they will focus on Biden if they want someone from the White House to be the brunt of jokes.

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Cirroc,

I think the guys from South Park did a hilarious post-election episode, poking fun of both candidates. It literally made me "laugh out loud."

Taka

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hereandthere said:

there will be no jokes about 0bama, it would be "racist" .

Hey man, nice shot! You will bring Obama down yet. Just keep up the effort and devout your life to it and you can accomplish it. Yes you can.

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I think its more like its just hard to find anything funny about Obama.

You're right. There's nothing funny about Obama.

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there will be no jokes about 0bama, it would be "racist" ."

It shoudn't. Its about time we stop putting politicians on a pedistal and get them to work for us. If they can't take any jokes being poked at them then I want to vote for Paris Hilton next election. She and Britney have endured some of the most disgusting and even at times racist comedy I have ever heard and while I don't like either one's entertainment skills, they still come walking out with their heads high.

Politicians should be able to take even the worst jokes and be able to suck it up and keep on going.

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Skip, You are absolutely correct when you say, "it shouldn't." Here's the rub, neo-cons keep throwing out this, "if I say anything bad about Obama, I'll be considered a racist." But...I ask you this, have you ever heard or read President-elect Obama make any claims that he has been discriminated against due to his non-whiteness?

I can't think of any. Perhaps he has, but again, I can't think of an instance where he has made such claim.

If you ask me, I believe this is a VERY flimsy strawman thrown out by neo-cons who are just angry because the election didn't go their way. They are mad that none of the mud they slung stuck. So...this is what they counter with. They have little legitimate beefs so they concocted the phony race issue. That's how I see it, at least.

Taka

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hereandther, you're dead wrong on that one. I'll never forget the skit that was on MADtv, when Obama was still running against Hillary. Funny shizz. You can expect some fun stuff out of them.

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I am waiting for those "sharp claws". So far, they have been reserved for Republicans; Obama only got swooning and flattery.

And I doubt we will much any claws in the next 4 years. Any lampooning even close to what Bush gets on a daily basis would immediately be called "racist".

The asked for "change", now they got it. Lets see when buyers remorse sets in.

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Perhaps the Democrats, in their zeal to muzzle mostly right-leaning talk-radio hosts, will reinact the Fairness Doctrine as some among their ranks seem to hope.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairness_Doctrine

I can't see why they would spare the mostly left-leaning comedians, playwrites and documentarians the same even-handed approach to the regulation of speech.

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Taka313

I love South Park. I can't wait to watch the episode on line (I'm too cheap to get cable). But those little boys have filthy little mouths and and we all know that means they have bad manners. I have it cued up right now.

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And I doubt we will much any claws in the next 4 years. Any lampooning even close to what Bush gets on a daily basis would immediately be called "racist".

If they were going to make something funny about Obama it would almost HAVE to be racist. He does not have the Bush twang, the Bush tendency to say the most ridiculous things and mix up vocabulary, nor does he scrunch up his face when he talks, etc. etc. ad nauseum. Bush has a million things to poke fun at. Its really just that simple. Obama has next to nothing, unless you consider his mixed race.

But if you got something that I could not somehow pin on all blacks, like we cannot pin mixed up and misused vocabulary to all whites, then please, post them here. I could always use the laugh, so please, be my guest. Give it a shot.

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I thought the best part of Obama's 30 minute infomercial was at the end when he said, "And if you vote now, I'll throw in a set of steak knives."

Tee hee!

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But...I ask you this, have you ever heard or read President-elect Obama make any claims that he has been discriminated against due to his non-whiteness?" Taka, first of all, it won't be Obama who would make the claims. He is a strong willed person who would take comedy for what it is... but come on, you had Newsweek run articles stating that if he is not elected, the US is a racist country.... this is even before the election.

Ever watch the Jeffersons? George would have quite a few words for Obama, remember what he would say to his daughter in-law?

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Whatever comedy is centered around Obama will be focused in two areas.

First, harmless personal flaws such as his poor bowling skills. Sort of like when they would joke about Clinton's womanizing problem and his fast food addiction.

Second, the reaction of all of those white people in Washington to a black U.S. President, how he rules and how his family lives.

You won't see anything regarding Obama's wife hitting him with a rolling pin and spewing the racist invective of black liberation theology or anything else that has any criticism or mockery in it.

The big difference between the humor of the last 8 years and the next 4 to 8 will be the lack of malice in the humor toward Obama.

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his speaking style will be an easy target. the fake folksy tone he insults 'bitter' and 'clingy' white people with and the equally fake 'ivy league but black like you' schtick he pulls in places like philadelphia and detroit.

his conservative colleagues at harvard law dinner parties played a game in which every time obama said 'folks' you had to take a drink.

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I thought the best part of Obama's 30 minute infomercial was at the end when he said, "And if you vote now, I'll throw in a set of steak knives."

Not bad for an amateur! Now please, can the racism! (kidding)

Right now I have the song "Chocolate City" by Parliament playing in my head. Seems fitting.

Uh, what's happening CC? They still call it the White House But that's a temporary condition, too. Can you dig it, CC?

http://www.leoslyrics.com/listlyrics.php?hid=PLiDbfYaNpE%3D

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"have you ever heard or read President-elect Obama make any claims that he has been discriminated against due to his non-whiteness?"

Yeah I have. He used it to good effect.

As for parody, I think (at least like to think) that now that the election is over, it will probably be easier to parody Obama without getting accused of being racist. But non-Obama supporters should have done more of that during the election. Palin parodies had an effect to some unquantifiable degree on the election result I am sure. Read Chevy Chase's talk about SNL parody in his days and his deliberate choice of Ford and how he portrayed him.

It's unfortunate for the republicans but there are just more creative and entertainment people who are democrats. I tend to think Obama would be able to take a joke more than some think though.

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conservative bloggers want to see obama get his own show: 'the fresh prince of bill ayers'.

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I am willing to pay an ichiman for each joke JT'ers put that are worthwhile and original.

They can be offensive as well... I have a certain link in the entertainment business as well..

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To be fair, with Bush they really were spoilt for choice with what to mock. Talk about an embarrassment of riches.

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"conservative bloggers" should spend more time at their local support group. Heh, their cause is lost.

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That's politics and comedy. A real marriage that makes us laugh, sometimes. < :-)

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If all these comedians can come up with are "tip-of-the-spear" type jokes about Obama-sama they better start considering another occupation.

So the guy can't bowl and has ears like a democrat. Doesn't drink or womanize. Takes the train (Chicago L) to work. -Are you sure Obama-sama is not Japanese. No wonder they can't find any humor in him, but you can easily find Obama-Sama cakes for 100¥ -tasty treats indeed.

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