Scoring Late Night's First Hundred Days

April 29, 2009. 100 days. In case you were in a sensory deprivation tank, you probably know full well that Wednesday was the 100th day of the Obama Administration, and most of the news shows used it as an excuse to give Him the same exact grade they would have given Him for His first day in office.

That grade is completely unchanged by all the goofs and blunders made by this handsome community organizer, who was rushed into an office that was clearly over His head. Their grade was unbesmirched by the other grades given to Him by Wall Street, the President of France, the North Korean missile launchers, or by four Somali pirates. (The same pirates who were allowed to humiliate the US Navy for three days before the Commander in Chief gave the order to shoot.)

What a great day to do another Late Night Review, and an opportunity to grade the Nation’s Premiere Satirists on their 100 days. In the time since the last review, we saw not only the aforementioned tense situations; but also an Air Force One flyover that created a panic, one heck of a carbon footprint, and a third of a million dollar addition to the deficit, all for the sake of a pretty photograph.

Certainly there must be something worth making fun of by now. We saw Obama calling for an end to privacy, giving a gag gift the Queen, and a bow to the Saudi King. We learned that He works out three hours a day (no wonder He needs a teleprompter to stay current), and thinks Austrian is a language. He again proved that Harvard isn’t so good at teaching American History, claiming He was only three months old during the Bay of Pigs. No news there, He didn’t think He was in government when the deficit occurred either.

So I fired up the DVR, took off my jacket, and rolled up my sleeves. I, reviewed David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, Craig Ferguson, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert, (Jimmy Fallon had the night off.)

Everyone had a mention of the first 100 days. Unfortunately, there were a few hosts that still cannot get used to the transition. Both Letterman and Kimmel made a joke about the first 100 days of the Bush retirement. In fact Kimmel did an extended bit of all the cute funny things George Bush has been doing in the off time: Signing up for Ashton Kutcher’s Twitters, and painting “Fishin’ Accomplished” on the side of his boat, among others. Leno remarked that President Bush never came close to spending 100 days in the White House.

The Angriest White Man Award goes to Bill Maher, for jokes like this: “Miss California. She’s extremely Christian, kinda hot, and dumb. Looks like the Republicans have a new Vice Presidential candidate.”

“Real Time with Bill Maher” seems more like a peek inside the DNC war room than a comedy show anymore. The entire evening was absent any voice from the right, and almost every joke had “The Republicans” as a punchline. The unintentionally ironic part of the show was during Bill’s “New Rules” segment, where he listed the only things “The Republicans” have been able to find wrong with this President:

“…his birth certificate is supposedly fake, he uses a teleprompter too much, he bowed to a Saudi guy, Europeans like him, he gives inappropriate gifts, and his wife shamelessly flaunts her upper arms. He shook hands with Hugo Chavez and slipped him the nuclear launch codes….oh, and he accepted a book from him, rubbing conservative noses in the fact, that our new President can read.”

Strange. If Bill was half the comic he once was, he might have recognized that list the writers painstakingly assembled for him was comic gold; those items could have actually been used as the premise for actual Obama jokes. But the partisan hacks in the writer’s suite are still completely incapable of writing such a joke.

Arlen Specter’s jump over to the Democrats, was also big in the news. Colbert tied the two items together with a joke about Obama getting Arlen Specter as a 100 day gift (only this one wasn’t housebroken). This was the second housebroken-joke of the evening, the other one was by Ferguson and directed at Joe Biden.

Three shows also found it amusing that Fox decided to run the series “Lie to Me” during His 100 day press conference. Leno said it was the Republican response. Ferguson claimed it was Fox’s unsubtle way of saying they don’t like the President, and Kimmel also mentioned that along with David and Wayne Palmer being whacked on “24” – “What does Fox have against black presidents?”

But the real Writers looking Over Shoulders Award goes to David Letterman and Craig Ferguson, who both made the same exact joke about both Arlen Specter and Lindsay Lohan “switching parties” this year.

Lamest Attempt at an Obama Joke goes to Jimmy Kimmel, who found amazing similarities between the 100th episode of “Lost” and the 100th day of Obama: “Filmed in Hawaii, born in Hawaii. Tormented by the Smoke Monster; tormented by not being able to smoke. Dog named Vincent; dog named Bo; Bo Jackson’s real name is Vincent.” Now that’s some good Obama humor!

Oldest Presidential Joke Award goes to Jon Stewart, who went all the way back to 1977 for a joke: Last time the Democrats had the White House, both Houses and a filibuster proof majority, was the first two years of Jimmy Carter, and boy, that went well!

The winner for the Most Overused Person as a Punchline was singing sensation Susan Boyle, who actually found herself at the end of jokes on three different shows (Kimmel, Colbert, Maher). Susan Boyle unseats the previous champ, Octomom Nadya Suleman, who wasn’t referenced even once. Runner up goes to Bernie Madoff, whose April 29th birthday was recognized by both Letterman and Ferguson

The swine flu got passed around all the shows as well. The big surprise of the evening came from David Letterman: “The CDC says to forget all nonessential air travel, which includes flying Air force One over New York City.” Wow, was that an actual Obama joke from His biggest cheerleader – the most defiant of all hosts, the one who actually recycled an old George Bush joke twice in a single week? (Here is my post about the situation, and here he did the same exact joke the evening after Big Hollywood published the article.)

Unbelievably, Dave’s writers found something on the current President they just couldn’t ignore. Apparently, the familiar sound of a 747 just 1000 feet over New York City was enough to awaken the somnambulant writers. Perhaps the arrogance of a man who set up this photo op without the courtesy of a warning made them realize that no president is perfect.

At first, I thought that maybe they were following the press line: that Obama didn’t know how the plane got taken out. But no, later in the monologue Letterman did a callback: “100 days… this guy has a lot to deal with: recession, two wars, swine flu, runaway Air Force One.”

At this point, he actually stopped the monologue, handed the mic over to the cue card guy, and made HIM finish the routine because he could go no further. Dave had laryngitis, and had to stop at that point. In my opinion, those Obama jokes probably got stuck in Dave’s throat during the dress rehearsal and he lost his voice trying to cough them out. The cue card guy finished:

“His approval rate is 68%. Well, that was before He decided to attack New York.”

They also ran a video gag of Obama’s apology to the City of New York for the flyover. Obama decided to give away steak knives and there was a cartoon graphic of steak knives falling out of Air Force One while the screams of the people underneath the plane overwhelmed the sound of the jet.

Gee Dave, now that wasn’t so hard, was it?


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