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Late Night Wimps Still Won't Mock Obama


What a bountiful two weeks of comedy material we had. Our elegant man in the White House thought the capital of Canada was Iowa and proved that they don’t teach Industrial History at Harvard. There was also this photo… And so I thought it was about time to check in again with the Late Night hosts.

Monday marked the debut of Jimmy Fallon’s “green” talk show. According to USA Today he has recycled carpet, used seats and bamboo floors. I wonder if he also lights the stage with CFLs, limits guests to one square of toilet paper, serves warm tap water and vegan treats, and takes the subway to work? But enough of the negative. I thought I should check in and see if Late Night’s newest host has decided that it’s okay to make fun of the President. (Fallon also claims to have three bloggers on staff, so if you three are as sharp as I hope, Welcome To Big Hollywood!) This Monday I reviewed Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, Craig Ferguson, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert.

Many of the nights jokes centered around the snow storm (Letterman, Kimmel, Ferguson, Fallon, Colbert) that buried the East Coast. Nobody mentioned it essentially shut down the Washington DC Global Warming protest scheduled for Monday, although Letterman mentioned in his “Top Ten Things Overheard in the New York Snowstorm,” #4: Al Gore can Suck it!

Letterman and Fallon both wondered why talks show hosts don’t get snow days, Letterman and Kimmel both made jokes about the Obama daughters getting the day off school (Letterman claimed they played with Joe Biden all day, Kimmel showed a doctored video clip where two lookalikes played with a hula hoop on stage during a press briefing.)

Ferguson completely avoided politics last night, outside a few jokes about the Hollywood delegation visiting Iran: “Iran wants an apology from Hollywood — I read it in the NY Times, so it may be the truth. Hollywood never apologizes; I’ve seen a lot of crap movies, and they never once apologized to me! Of course, I don’t have a nuclear weapon …and neither does Iran!”

Jon Stewart ignored the President and spent his show, going off on the CPAC proceedings. He did his usual schtick, airing out of context quotes and then making funny response faces. He did make me laugh on one: he showed a clip of NRA President Wayne LaPierre saying, “We must view any attack on the second amendment as an attack on freedom …it’s not politically correct, and I don’t care if their butts pucker from here to the Potomac.”

Stewart claimed that the new NRA slogan will be: “From My Cold Puckered Butt!” Nothing like a butt joke to amuse my inner adolescent.

Fallon also touched on CPAC, saying that Rush Limbaugh wants Jimmy Fallon to fail. David Letterman, in an interview with Katie Couric, called Rush a bonehead who was dressed up like an Eastern European Gangster, then tried to get Katie to admit that she supports the New President more than the last guy (she demurred).

Leno’s block of Obama jokes claimed that the Obamas new dog will actually be the second dog since the first had tax problems; that he was the first black guy Canadians ever saw, and that Tickle Me Elmo was more analytical than George Bush.

He also mentioned that Wall Street gave Obama an F, to which George Bush replied, “That’s easy, try maintaining an F for eight straight years!”

So what about the new guy? Jimmy Fallon did a reasonably good job on his debut, although he seems a little nervous in the host chair. He acted more like a guest than a host, and on a couple of occasions launched into stories about his own life rather than evoke stories from his guests. He had a few of staff scripted gags: an audience participation bit called “Lick it for $10,” that really doesn’t require anymore elaboration beyond the title; and one called “target demographic,” an excuse to make stereotypical generalizations. Tonight’s target was “Blond Mothers,” (women that shop at William Sonoma, etc.) He also did a “Saturday Night Live” style skit with Robert DeNiro (“Space Train” –for astronauts afraid to fly).

His monologue was as consistent as many of his peers, but unlike most of the others (save Colbert), he actually told a funny Obama joke: “Obama released his new budget which will result in a record deficit. His next State of the Union Address will be brought to you from China.”

(Stephen Colbert also registered a decent Obama joke, claiming that the cheap, Obama memorabilia coins being sold on Late Night infomercials, were literally: “Change you have to believe in.”)

Considering Fallon had to hit the ground running, you have to admire him for at least attempting something that all the veterans have been avoiding for months and didn’t resort to Bush or Clinton for any set-ups.

This week’s nod, goes to new guy Jimmy Fallon.

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