Tuesday, June 19, 2012

But Remember, There's Just Nothing Funny About Barack Obama

Full Disclosure: I don't watch the night time comedy shows.  I probably haven't seen one in the last several months.

Apparently, it's becoming something of "a thing," to make fun of Mitt Romney's wealth.  And, indeed, there are things to make fun of there.  He once tied his dog (in its kennel) to the roof of the family station wagon (Obama ate a dog).  He is (or was?) reportedly going to have an elevator installed in his garage (Obama ate a DOG).  All in all, he's a presidential candidate and therefore "fair game" for the late night comedians.

However, it seems striking to me that, with very, very few exceptions, no one is willing to make fun of Barack Obama.  He may be the first sitting president in history not to be poked fun at on a regular basis.  Heck, it made news when Saturday Night Live finally got around to making fun of him- and even that was a kind of lame, "man, I wish we didn't have to do this" kind of thing.

Even worse, there are apparently those in the industry who say he's just "too cool," and "there's nothing to make fun of."  RightThat's itNothing to make fun of.

C'mon, guys.  Either be political activists and pundits- and take the same hits the others in that profession do- or be comedians and make fun of stuff that's funny.   Alternative number 3, of course, would be to show the same deference to Mitt Romney as you do the President, but no one is expecting that: nor should they.

Comedy holds a special place in our culture.  It is through comedy that we can often address, and even begin to understand, some of the most difficult issues of our time.  Archie Bunker made us laugh at bigots- while helping us understand exactly why such bigotry was wrong.  For decades, SNL and the night time comedians have used the absurd to help us gain perspective on what's going on in the real world. 

Comedians have incredible power to explain the inexplicable.  They have the ability, some of them a gift, to make the complex simple.  But, as a certain wall-crawling superhero might say, with that power comes a responsibility.  Part of that responsibility is to use that power, that ability, and that gift.  Part of that responsibility is to be evenhanded when using said power, ability, and gift. 

So, please, continue making fun of Mitt Romney.  Goodness knows there's plenty of fodder there.  But remember, when you do, that Barack Obama has left you more fodder.  You might consider using it.

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