by Brad Jacobson
As the majority of Americans continue to bask in the glow of Barack Obama’s landslide victory on Tuesday, comedians nationwide have suddenly fallen on hard times. Some literally.
Widespread reports of comics leaping from windows on Election Night have received little attention in the press. Some historians liken the turn of events to the stock market crash of 1929. But Freddy Roman, Dean of the legendary New York Friar’s Club, called it “worse, much worse, mayo on corn beef bad.”
The Daily Show host Jon Stewart put a good face on it during Comedy Central’s election night coverage. Yet sources at the show say Stewart retreated to his office afterward and “went, like, totally ballistic.”
“We had Grandpa Cranky McCrazyPants and Sarah f**king Palin! Now we’re stuck with Obama! There’s nothing funny about him! It’s like cracking jokes about Lincoln following his Gettysburg Address! F**k me twice with a motherf**king hope stick, people!” Stewart cried amid the sound of breaking glass, a shrieking cat and overturned furniture. “And Michelle?! She’s the most likable First Lady since Eleanor Roosevelt! We had Cindy McCain, Cruella De Vil incarnate, but nooooo! Goddamn America’s good fortune!”
The Wounded Courier spoke with several top comedic minds about the daunting challenges ahead.
“Let’s face it,” admitted Late Show host David Letterman, “George W. Bush was comedic welfare. None of us really had to work very hard. Hell, our writers would often just send me links to The New York Times and then hit the peep shows. McCain and Palin, as a team, would’ve kept those comedy welfare checks flowing. But the gravy train is over now. And, you know, Bush is gone in January.” The usually unflappable Letterman paused, chocking back a tear. “It reminds me of the incredible void Johnny left after retiring from The Tonight Show.”
Gilbert Gottfried, stand-up comic and voice of the Aflac Duck, was even starker in his judgment, calling Obama’s achievement “a comedy Holocaust.”
“President-elect Obama has my full support,” said Gottfried, “but I’ll never forgive him for redistributing the wealth of punch lines. I’ll survive. But think of all those comedians who might never again be able to pick up a newspaper and just copy and paste. Hundreds of thousands of them will be forced into lives of prostitution, dealing drugs, working in advertising.” Gottfried added, “They say tragedy plus time equals comedy. But this time we really got screwed. No one ever factored Barack Obama into that equation.”
Once the race was officially called for Obama, Stephen Colbert, co-hosting Comedy Central’s election night coverage with Jon Stewart, appeared to break character for a moment to shed tears of joy. But viewers actually misinterpreted his reaction.
“I knew I’d miss Bush, but I thought I could rely on McCain-Palin and the millions of bile-filled, pitch-fork-waving, infuriatingly ignorant and virulently racist bat-shit crazy Americans to maintain comedic stability in the White House.” Colbert removed his glasses and wiped fresh tears from his eyes, then added, “I was wrong. I never realized how much hope, goodwill and reality-based thinking can damage comedy.” Steeling himself for the dark days ahead, Colbert said, “We grieve today for Mr. Obama’s historic victory, for the tremendous barriers he’s broken, and we pray he is much more of a f**k-up than the steady-handed statesman he appears to be. I mean, really, we’ll take anything — like he irons his jeans or doesn’t floss nightly. Anything. It’s our only hope.”
Even Chris Rock, an iconic and wildly successful African-American comedian, felt conflicted over Obama’s victory.
“Two hundred and thirty-two years to get a black man in the White House, and the one they choose disenfranchises an entire nation of comedians! Can’t a brother catch a break?!”