It’s going to be a very sparse one this week, since Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert, and Jon Stewart were all on vacation. (Last week, everybody but Stewart and Colbert were on vacation so I didn’t watch. They re-ran those episodes this week, but except for the Michael Jackson stuff, there wasn’t really enough overlap material to judge them fairly).
Lamest Attempt at Obama Joke: David Letterman claimed that Obama was in Russia, hiking the Appalachian trail.
Letterman also used Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as a foil on three different nights to compare the disparity between winners and losers of the last Presidential election: While Obama traveled to Russia to meet with Putin, McCain was chasing kids off his lawn. While Obama was in Italy, McCain was heating up a can of Chef Boy-Ar-Dee; While Obama was in Italy meeting with the G-8, McCain was on his front porch in Arizona, waving at cars.
Conan O’Brien also seems to like the ageist jokes, claiming that John McCain is using twitter, only he’s twittering on his garage door opener. With all the McCain material, and the dearth of Obama jokes, you’d almost think John McCain won the election. According to Craig Ferguson, when Palin resigned, John McCain said, “Who?”
Most Overused Person as a Punchline: Sarah Palin for her resignation. Letterman claimed she blamed the media, and was spotted in a helicopter shooting Wolf Blitzer. Conan said America was just ranked the 114th happiest nation,in the world but when Palin resigned it moved up to 17th. He also suggested she might be doing a TV show for viewers that find Paula Abdul too coherent. Letterman claimed the Governorship now passes down to Miss Congeniality, Ferguson claimed it goes to Chillee Willee.
Writers over Shoulders Award: This week it goes to to all three Late Nights. O’Brien, Letterman, and Ferguson each did a play on Tina Fey’s old joke about Sarah Palin seeing Russia from her house. (I believe we’re coming up on the one year anniversary of that one.) Conan claimed that while Obama was in Russia, he could see Palin cleaning out her office. Craig Ferguson did a version of the joke, claiming he wouldn’t use the room she stayed in during his USO tour because he didn’t want a room where he could see Russia. Letterman claimed that while Barack was in Russia, Sarah Palin waved at him. He was actually so enamored with that joke he used it four times on three different nights. On Tuesday he actually used it twice in the same monologue.
But Letterman’s favorite joke he used most every night was, “Mosquitoes mate and breed in standing water, kinda like my in-laws.” A couple of times he also told a joke about his mom thinking the Fourth of July fireworks were an attack from North Korea.
Oldest Presidential Joke of the Week: Even though Letterman and Ferguson both made Clinton jokes, this week’s award goes to Conan O’Brien for telling a Classic Bob Hope Presidential Library joke: “Saddam Hussein’s gun will be displayed in George Bush’s Library, right next to the book.”
Funniest Obama Line of the Week: Goes to Conan O’Brien who claimed that when Barack was in Moscow he gave a speech to an economics class entitled, “Can we borrow 4 trillion Rubles?” Runner up also goes to Conan who claimed that Obama was in Italy because the Italians were great allies of ours, excepting anytime we’ve gone to war. Conan also did the only mention of the famous photo saying that the only ass Obama was looking at, was Joe Biden. (It seems there’s still much hesitation to use Obama as the actual victim in the jokes.)
Angriest White Man: Again David Letterman who’s still griping about having to apologize to Sarah Palin. On two separate nights he wondered aloud whether it was his joke that might have caused her to resign.
The Most Interesting Interview: Bob Newhart on Conan. He’s been at it for almost 50 years now, and is still able to do panel. He had some great stories about the old “Tonight Show” that really made me long for Golden Age of Late Night, back before it got so personal.