When Barack Obama won the presidency, the corporate world wasn’t the only ones worrying they weren’t going to continue business as usual. The comedian industry was likewise in a minor panic, concerned that the bountiful, continuous wellspring of material at their disposal during the Bush era was about to dry up, leaving them without material and possibly, careers. But as the time has dragged on, taking the economy with it, the seemingly invincible, unassailable Obama armor has finally turned up a few kinks, which professional jokesters have been happy to exploit on late night television. Cases in point:
Jay Leno: “President Obama has been meeting with voters in what he calls ‘backyard chats.’ He’s held these in real people’s backyards. You know something, I think all politicians should talk to people in their backyards. Then you could take what they say and spread it on the lawn.”
David Letterman: “People are kind of upset with British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward. Over the weekend, he was out on his yacht. And when President Obama found out that Tony Hayward was on his yacht, he was so angry, he missed a putt.”
Craig Ferguson: “Now, I know Obama was trying to take the long view, but talking about solar energy in the middle of the oil spill is like watching your house engulfed in flames and saying, ‘We really should change the curtains.’”
Jimmy Fallon: “A year into Obama’s first term in office, unemployment is higher, the national debt is higher and there are more soldiers serving in Afghanistan. When asked about it, Obama was like, “Well, technically that is change.”
Some, like this from HBO’s Bill Maher, are backhanded compliments: “Obama is getting his mojo back. Apparently, he’s going to get this financial package. That’s right, the financial package is going through. He got healthcare. He got that nuclear weapons treaty… He’s on a roll and he’s taunting his critics. His new slogan is, ‘Change You Can Suck On.’
Of course, the depth of humor here is shallow compared to the non-stop joke machine that is Obama’s possible presidential contender, Sarah Palin. Comedians who normally vote Democratic may be switching their vote come 2012, if only for the more secure employment she offers their field. Meantime, they have Barry to kick around, and as long as the economy remains in the tank, their business is booming.