So I get a call from my old buddy Louis. Apparently there was a video of Nancy Pelosi on YouTube, and he wondered whether anybody at the Late Night shows would notice. Pelosi claimed that without the stimulus package, America would lose 500 million jobs a month. Wow, that’s two hundred million more jobs, than America has people. Apparently the illegal immigration problem is a lot worse than anybody thought. But it seemed a great excuse to check back on America’s premiere satirists and see if they’re doing their jobs. Since we’re now two weeks into the new administration, I reviewed David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, Craig Ferguson, Conan O’Brien, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert.
The Pelosi video never made the mainstream press, but it did make YouTube. Today, the Internet is a great place for comedians to find set ups. The Christian Bale video was such a hit on TMZ that six out of seven Late Night shows used it for jokes last night (Ferguson abstaining), as was the story of Sheyla Hershey, the woman with the 38KK breasts (Ferguson, Letterman, Conan and Leno all bagged this one). Letterman was so smitten with those pumpkins he used them as an excuse to tell another George Bush joke (Texas now has the world’s three biggest boobs).
The old ways are dying hard. Colbert went into the vaults, all the way back to 2000, for a Bush/Gore joke. Jon Stewart did a Bush joke, as well. Ferguson set a record for Day 15; going way last century with a Bill Clinton joke (Clinton will lead the investigation into the accidental showing of porn during the Super Bowl). Stewart and Leno did Joe the Plumber jokes, Letterman did a couple Dick Cheney jokes and a Sarah Palin joke.
The tax situation has been a godsend to Late Night writers. Now they can make fun of the administration without having to actually go after Him. Six out of seven hosts (Kimmel abstaining) found humor in the tax problems of Obama appointments. The funniest was Conan, who suggested the stimulus package could be cut by $50 billion if Obama’s cabinet just paid their taxes.
Also, Joe Biden is shaping up to be a favorable target for the Late Nights. Jon Stewart dropped a line (“How can Obama be any more embarrassed over his appointments? He picked Joe Biden as the Vice President!”), and Craig Ferguson did an extended interview with a Joe Biden impersonator who couldn’t help but make politically incorrect remarks, one of which was a joke about the size of the President’s ears. This was one of the few jokes made about the President that night.
Kimmel did a sight gag about Obama trying to quit smoking (and failing miserably). The boldest attempt at an Obama joke was Letterman’s “A Day in the Life of Obama,” a formula bit, where he breaks down the President’s day, hour by hour: “1 PM: Smokes in bed. 2 PM: spends forty -five minutes, just being cool. Man that guy is cool. He’s the new Steve McQueen!” The strangest part of Letterman’s take on the President’s day was “11:30 PM: Checks out Late Show’s lame piece: ‘A Day in the Life of Obama,’ and concludes comedians still can’t write a decent joke about him.” I congratulate the writers for at least acknowledging their deficiencies.
So what about the Pelosi video, the one that originally forced me to sit through six hours of Late Night “entertainment?” Leno’s was the only show that noticed it. He said it was obvious that someone must have shot the Botox a little too deep. Congrats Jay, you get the star.