"I‘m glad they didn’t nominate [New Jersey Gov. Chris] Christie," my friend Louis (whose Acme Comedy Company is about to celebrate twenty years
in the business) said. "A lot of comedy clubs will not survive 2012; Christie would put the final nail their coffins."
He was really concerned that with President Barack Obama's dismal approval ratings the Republican primaries would become a winner-take-all contest, with the popular Christie making it all the way to the White House.
Louis believes that political satire is the finest form of the comedic arts, and he has seen it die twice over the last two decades. When the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal broke, every hack in America became a political comic just by appending Bill Clinton to their favorite oral sex gag. As we moved into the new millennium, comics who specialized in blonde jokes could call themselves political just by substituting President George W. Bush into the punchline.
With this new administration, political humor became very tricky, and only a few comics will attempt to make fun of the President. Heck, even the guys who did those “What if a Brother ever got into the White House?” routines were forced to write some original material or abandon the political arena altogether. Louis believes that the political edge of his club is part of what has kept him afloat three years into a recession.
But with the buzz surrounding Christie, there was suddenly a resurgence in hack political comedy. Late night hosts, who have been incapable of finding anything funny about a pair of big ears for the past three years, have stumbled on a new way to market fat-based humor.
This week, David Letterman speculated that Cristie was the only candidate you could view from space (gosh, Dave, no; “when he’d sit around the White House, he’d sit AROUND the White House” ... or, “New Jersey would lose a zip code”).
For full disclosure, I have been guilty of the occasional fat reference. Usually though, it's directed at Michael Moore, who happens to be the world's fattest Communist (and takes more than his “fair share” of the pie, whether it be economic or boysenberry). I lamely excuse these jokes because the underlying theme is hypocrisy -- the same reason why others might make fun of gay Republicans or Al Gore’s private jet.
So what will the comics do now they won’t have Christie to make fun of? Letterman took off running with the "Rick Perry's Racist Ranch" angle; it seems that a painted rock at a hunting camp is enough to make him the token racist of this election cycle. Fortunately, there are a total of fourteen other Republican candidates to choose from, including a couple that will even allow jokes about race and gender (though oddly enough, racism and sexism are only derogatory when the candidate is a Democrat).
Personally, I think America is ready for a fat President. I’m tired of seeing Presidents jogging (shirtless leaders are so
Eastern European). After three years of being told by Michelle Obama that we shouldn’t be eating like the First Family, I’d love to have a President who has more important things in mind than his daily carb count. We’re in a depression; who really cares about the President’s health?
Heck, that’s why we have a Vice
President -- to allow the President a vice.