Obama’s one liners: where government biz and show biz intersect

I get it. I’d like to say I don’t but I do. The talk show pundits on a slow news week are filling time replaying President Obama’s Correspondent’s Dinner jokes and rating his "performance". He’s been getting everything from A pluses to C’s depending on what criteria the pundits use for rating him. This is about as relevant as a best and worst dressed debate comparing the actresses invited to "glam up" the event.
 
Of course it’s doubtful Obama himself penned any of the jokes, in fact I’d hope he has far more important things to do. Most of the jokes depended on his delivery but even the best timing won’t make a mediocre joke laugh out loud funny. 
 
In fact, he got mostly polite chuckles and some slightly forced smiles. He’s no Jerry Seinfeld or Robin Williams, and who would want him to be?
 
Some stand-up jokes depend on delivery to be knee slappingly hilarious. Most of the best though are funny when written too. I thought the only Obama joke* that worked well on paper is the one about Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, known for his use of profanity: 
 
 Now, speaking — when I think about children obviously I think about Michelle and it reminds me that tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in the audience. (Applause.) I do have to say, though, that this is a tough holiday for Rahm Emanuel because he’s not used to saying the word "day" after "mother." (Laughter.) That’s true. (Laughter.) 
 
 Here’s the transcript of Obama’s entire performance. See how funny you think it is in print.
 
What did Obama prove, if anything, by his (choose one: admirable or adequate) performance as a stand up comedian who delivers jokes written by professionals?
 
 Nothing.
 
 Not a damn thing.
 
 What was the funniest thing about the dinner?
 
 I think it was that Todd Palin attended in place of his wife, Sarah Palin, looking about as out of place and clueless as to what was appropriate to laugh at as a priest at a Kathy Griffin show.
 
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* I thought the Wanda Syke’s funniest joke on paper wouldn’t be the off color joke about Sarah Palin’s pulling out at the last minute, but her joke about advising her children to accept a ride from a stranger over one from Dick Cheney.
 

One Response to "Obama’s one liners: where government biz and show biz intersect"

  1. AustinRanter  May 11, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Hal…

    You and I are close in age. We’ve been use to all of the Bob Hope style jokes from the White House. This president is from a contemporary and slightly more progressive generation.

    While all of the “older folks” (50 and over) might find his jokes, or even more importantly, his performance doing his job to be different or just plain unorthodox, President Obama is treading through boundaries and uncharted waters unlike any president before him. His generation sees the world through different eyes than ours.

    Remember “I Love Lucy”? They couldn’t even be seen oh TV sleeping in the same bed…even though they were married.

    Our generation gave Obama’s the drug revolution, the media revoltuion, and sex revolution…without any manuals. And I would even go as far to say that most likely our generation would have done a poor job of writing a manual had it been possible. We created these little monsters and couldn’t even discuss them with our kids.

    Now…in my opinion, and I’ve been really critical of the president on a number of occasions, he’s appeared to do way more work in his first 100 days than did Bush during his 8 years in office. Bush surrendered much of his duties to people like Rumsfeld and Cheney, who many consider to be nothing short of villians.

    What I do like about Obama…without hesitation, he takes ownership of what his administration is doing right along side of the policies that’s sprung forth since “before” he was even sworn into office.

    Way more important to me is that Obama at least pretends to be accountable, not just responsible. Bush didn’t give a rats ass about being responsible, dependable, or accountable. He really didn’t have to because the electorates never really place those expectations on him in any meaningful way.

    You and I…and about a few hundred million others may not agree or even like what Obama’s done thus far. But Obama is clearly unlike Bush, who in both is first and second terms in which all we heard coming from him was threats shouted out at the world and “it’s my way or the highway” dialogue every time he opened his month.

    I don’t have a clue about how all of this will turn out. Hell, I might not live to the end of a second term, should Obama play his cards right. But one thing is sure…”He’s No George W. Bush” and if I weren’t an Evolutions I would be singing out, “Praise Be To The Higher Powers Somewhere In the Universe”.

    Like President Obama or not…can we try imagining a world with President McCain? Is that a sobering thought or what?

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