Why can't comedians crack wise about Obama?
OPINION - Must you resort to Black History jokes and miscegenation jabs Barack's probably been hearing since third grade?...
It’s been no secret among those enrolled at the other school of thought that Republicans are often about as funny as a stomach virus or wake up call from a student loan vulture. So it was not the least bit surprising to hear that a President Obama impersonator was shooed off stage after he dared to poke fun at some of the Republican presidential candidates at a GOP leadership conference.
The GOP is known for being the party that’s willing to dish it but conveniently manages to develop a hypersensitivity disorder whenever it’s time to be on the receiving end of anything. We all remember Stephen Colbert’s performance at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner, right? If not, see comedian Reggie Brown’s performance where jokes about former President George W. Bush, George Jetson’s Republican brother, Mitt Romney, and don’t call me nasty Newt Gingrich were met with noted uneasiness from the audience.
The Obama impersonator did get some laughs out of the crowd before being booed and booted, though. Naturally, they were all at President Obama’s expense. No doubt influenced by Republicans’ trademark embrace of all things new and forward thinking, Brown offered oh so clever jokes largely centered on Obama’s biracial background.
WATCH REGGIE BROWN’S DISCUSS HIS ACT ON MSNBC:
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Here’s a sample joke: “Now, uh, my favorite month is February…Black History Month. You see, Michelle, she celebrates the full month and you know I celebrate half.”
That’s so funny I could set a calendar on fire.
And another: “My mother loved a black man and, no, she was not a Kardashian.”
Or how about my remote control?
Are you laughing yet? If so, I wish I could join you but since I was born in 1984 Brown’s banter missed me by 30 years or so. That’s the feeling I got when Brown used a photo of Redd Foxx from an episode of Sanford and Son to make a joke about how much Obama will age by the time he leaves office.
Some have taken issue with this Brown’s antics under the belief that the humor is a little racially insensitive. However, it should be noted that the issue is also not one that can be easily quantified as right vs. left. Other comics like Bill Maher have joked about the need of a “real black president.” Say, those who go into meetings with the CEO of British Petroleum and “lifts up his shirt so you can see the gun in his pants.” As Maher explained, “That’s — [in ‘black man’ voice] ‘we’ve got a motherfu**ing problem here?’ Shoot somebody in the foot.”
While it is fair to point out the racial insensitivity of these kinds of jokes, in the end the use of stereotypes is nothing new to comedy nor will the practice ever go away. That’s not really the issue anyway. Uncomfortable laughter is better than no laughter at all, which means if you do choose to go that stale route the least you could do is be funny with it.
And therein lies the greater problem: A lot of the jokes made about President Obama aren’t that funny. Maybe some on the right are a wee bit too stuck on the obvious while members on the other side are too worried of going too far. Whatever it is, please fix it, y’all. It should not be this pitiful for you or for us watching on.
There are some who attribute the lack of funny jokes about the president to his brilliance and personality. You know, as if he’s far too “cool” to ever get a ha-ha moment out of audiences the way President Bush or President Clinton were. Seriously, Obama’s not Jesus Christ and even if it he were folks make fun of him, too.
No one, especially not a politician is above reproach. One would think it would be a little easier for paid funny people to poke fun at a lanky, ex-professor with big ears and a funny name who dances like he left his left foot in Hawaii.
I’m not one to tell anyone how to do their job (at least without getting a check first), but c’mon guys, can you not be so obvious? Must you resort to Black History jokes and miscegenation jabs Barack’s probably been hearing since third grade?
You can do better, I’m sure of it. And if not, turn on The Daily Show for help. Or maybe one of President Obama’s own comedic performances given he’s been doing a much better job at it.