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.
9 years 1 month 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.
9 years 1 month 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

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Participants at the recent plenary assembly approved a petition requesting the pope to waive the “monitum” issued by the Holy Office in 1962.
Gerard O’ConnellNovember 21, 2017
If the tragic revelations of the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis are any guide, the process of reckoning with problems that have been avoided for decades will itself take decades.
The EditorsNovember 21, 2017
“Coco” is—despite its otherworldly elements—a realistic look into love, family and tradition.
Olga SeguraNovember 21, 2017
Since becoming pope, Francis has given special attention to the Holy See’s diplomatic staff. 
Gerard O’ConnellNovember 21, 2017