Comedy on the Campaign Trail

Last week on this blog I noted that humor had been sorely lacking in the McCain campaign.  The days that followed had McCain cracking wise at the Al Smith Dinner and on the Letterman Show, and Sarah Palin appearingtwice on Saturday Night Live.  

The Letterman interview in particular has already received press attention for McCain’s quips (and apology, having lied to Letterman and blown off an interview for Katie Couric on the day he suspended his campaign);  and the New York Times gave Sarah Palin a glowing review in today’s edition.  

Advertisement

In each case, though, I think the press missed the story. McCain was funny on Letterman; really, he should do all his campaigning from Letterman’s program, he’s far more natural there.   

But the real story was Letterman. If you haven’t watched the full interview, give it a look. Letterman does the best grilling of either candidate that we’ve seen by anything remotely close to a journalist short of Meet the Press. He asks tough questions, and when McCain tries to dodge an issue Letterman doggedly returns to it.  He really shone, and it’s a very interesting conversation.    

Likewise, if you watch the two Palin skits on SNL what stands out is how careful SNL was not to let her use the opportunity to come off as too funny or charming.  In the opening sketch she’s quite stern -- it’s Fey (as usual) that is funny.  And in the news segment -- definitely worth a look if you missed it -- a very pregnant Amy Poehler does a rap about Palin (with the governor sitting in tow) that slams her for connecting Obama and William Ayers and has Poehler at one point repeatedly shooting a guy in a moose costume. Incredibly funny -- but very much at Palin’s expense. 

McCain told Letterman Palin would come on his program.  Stay tuned -- that could be interesting.  

 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
10 years 3 months ago
Um...your reading of the SNL rap was way off. It didn't "slam" her for connecting Obama and Ayers..it simply reported that she did so. Which is what she does, legitimately. The rap was good-humored, and not a slam at Palin. The conservative blogs are across the board seeing it as a win. It also revealed Fey's portrayal of Palin to be incredibly thin. BTW, the Ayers issue is legitimate - even if for no other reason that Obama has lied through his teeth about it. That should concern any Catholic concerned about issues of truth. If there was nothing to the relationship, why does Obama consistently lie about the extent of it? You can't build up a culture friendly to Catholic Social Teacher when your leader doesn't tell the truth. It just doesn't work.
10 years 3 months ago
"Incredibly funny -- but very much at Palin's expense" I had the opposite reaction. Palin showed herself to be a good sport, standing tall in front of obvious adversaries: Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, etc. Nonetheless, your observation is intriguing. Last time I checked, anything "very much" at a person's expense is not considered humor but a bully's work. Your point about Letterman is puzzling. He is as much of a journalist as Bill O'Reilly is or Keith Olbermann is-- that is not one at all. A true journalist would ask pointed questions of BOTH candidates, not treat one of them with kid gloves as Letterman did with Obama: http://www.swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2008/09/barack_obama_on_david_letterma.html. Who cares if McCain or anyone else ignores him? McCain's campaign suspension was a stunt, but for Letterman to have blown this incident out of proportion shows him to be the bigger fool.

Advertisement

The latest from america

This year’s W.Y.D takes place less than three months after the conclusion of the Synod for Young People that was held in the Vatican last October.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 21, 2019
On Jan. 18, a teenager wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat, center left, stands in front of an elderly Native American singing and playing a drum in Washington. (Survival Media Agency via AP)

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- An exchange between Catholic high school students and a Native American tribal leader in Washington Jan.

Like most public writers, I was used to getting notes that were crude, crazy or even mildly threatening. Normally, I would say a quick prayer for these obviously troubled people and get on with my day. This time it felt different, precisely because the author wasn’t insulting or obviously deranged.
Rachel LuJanuary 21, 2019
In cities across the country, local activists marched in support of a progressive agenda centered on economic justice, racial justice and immigrant rights.
Brandon SanchezJanuary 20, 2019