While the President was pitching health care and the Speaker was rounding up support for Cap and Trade, the Late Nights were focused on Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC): a Republican governor that seemed like a comeuppance for Democrat Rod Blagojevich. In fact many of the hosts brought up the Illinois Governor in their jokes.
Craig Ferguson said after Spitzer and Blagojevich, the most normal governor was Jesse Ventura. He also said that a family values governor having a mistress is like Al Gore needing four SUVs to bring his lunch to him.(It was disappointing that Ferguson didn’t see the irony in his remark, because Al Gore DOES require multiple SUVs when he travels) Funniest line went to Conan O’Brien, who said the affair was a shock, because usually, Republicans don’t do well with Hispanic women.
Of all seven shows, only Jimmy Kimmel’s writers were quick enough to get Michael Jackson’s death into the monologues. (Twice.) Jimmy Fallon opened his Friday show with a little dance and a moonwalk while the band played “Beat-It.” But it seemed peculiar and out of place considering he went right into a Mark Sanford joke and never made mention of Jackson in the monologue.
The shows also weighed in on other important issues, like the Academy Awards expanding Best Picture category to 10 nominees. Just what we want, an awards show that’s Longer (Conan) and Gayer (Ferguson) with More Losers (Fallon).
Most Overused Person as a Punchline was actually ten people last week: “John and Kate + Eight.” Most hosts couldn’t resist altering the math from their pending divorce. Conan suggested they abandon three of the kids to make it “John and Kate + 5.” Jimmy Kimmel suggested Kate move in with the Octo-mom to make it “Two Single Moms + 22.” Funniest line was Ferguson: “John and Kate minus half of John’s stuff.”
Steve Jobs new liver was a popular topic. Letterman said it would be smaller, faster and more powerful, while Fallon said will be outdated in three months. It’s obvious to me that Fallon’s writers are the only ones who use Mac.
There were many similar jokes this week. A popular one was Mark Sanford outsourcing his mistress. (Kimmel, Ferguson), Conan said he should, “sleep American,” and Letterman claimed it was another case of foreigners taking jobs Americans just won’t do. He also mentioned that this proves Republicans were right about Sotomayor, Latina women don’t have any better judgment than white men.
There were two jokes tying Chastity Bono to the release of the “Transformers” film (Letterman, Fallon) and both Ferguson and Colbert made gay jokes about Wimbledon– a bunch of men in shorts swatting balls around.
But the Writers over Shoulders award for this week goes to Conan O’Brien, who started a “new” bit where if a joke goes bad he takes the cue card and inserts it into a large paper shredder. This seemed vaguely reminiscent of something Jimmy Fallon has been doing since day one, taking the bad joke cue cards and handing them out to audience members. On Friday, he even alluded to being ripped off. After giving a joke away to an audience member he suggested that maybe it should have been put in the shredder instead.
Oldest Presidential Joke goes to Craig Ferguson who mentioned that in 1987 Ronald Reagan took time out from defeating communism to sign National Catfish Day into law.
There were only three President Bush jokes all week. Kimmel ran the embarrassing video of President Bush from 2007 trying to dance alongside a traditional African drummer. Kimmel overdubbed Michael Jackson music and claimed it was President Bush’s tribute to the “Thriller” video. Letterman said that Mark Sanford liked hiking to clear his head, and “We never had that problem from Bush.”
Jason Jones, reporting from Iran for Jon Stewart last week, did an interesting segment he called “Jihad Walking” where he interviewed Iranians and Americans to see who knew more about the other’s culture (of course, it’s the Iranians). He found a young man who not only knew who Jon Stewart was, he could even do Stewart’s impression of George Bush (I’m the Decider!).
The Most Interesting Interview was Sandra Day O’Connor on David Letterman. Who knew that she had a pet bobcat when she was a little girl and likes to shoot gophers?
The Angriest White Man was not Bill Maher, since he has a couple weeks off for a much needed vacation. Friday’s show was a series of three pre-taped, one-on-one interviews with people that really don’t interest me very much. So I didn’t watch it.
So by default, the title has to go to David Letterman for the week, since he’s still griping about having to apologize to Sarah Palin. On Tuesday’s show, he started a joke by mentioning an earthquake in Alaska, held a grimace for a minute while the audience applauded and then refused to finish the joke. He also claimed that by the time Bernie Madoff is released in 150 years, the Republicans could be back in office
For The Lamest Attempt at an Obama Joke, Letterman claimed that Obama was so mad after the Iranian election, that he stopped smoking camels.
The Obama material was extremely sparse last week, although both John Stewart and Stephen Colbert had some interesting segments. They went after President Obama for his broken promises on Transparency (Stewart) and Gay Rights (Colbert). (Note the lackluster audience response to Colbert.)
However The Funniest Obama Line of the Week goes to Jimmy Fallon: “Barack Obama will be at the All-Star Game to throw out the first pitch, and Joe Biden will be on hand to commit the first error.”
Yes, I’m sad to say, that was really the best.