I'm really not worried about the Obama years. No matter who is in office, people are going to make mistakes, do dumb things...there's going to be a learning curve for any new president or legislator during which funny things will happen. As we learn more about Obama we'll see the things that we can poke fun at. Plus, there's a whole cast of characters that make up the branches of government who aren't specifically the president, who will also be prime targets. When you consider that Bush, who was such a rich vein of material, hasn't really been a topic for comedy in the last year or so, I think it's clear that any thoughtful comedian will be able to mine what's funny from whatever the current situation might be.
Katie Halper, comic, writer, filmmaker, blogger, and co-founder of Laughing Liberally:
I'm freaking out because it's hard, not to mention forbidden, to make fun of your messiah. In all honesty, I'm not nervous that Obama won't make any material-inspiring mistakes -- he already has. His vote on FISA was disappointing (although it does show Obama's in touch with the American people and listening to everything we say). And unless a Native American Lesbian Wicca Priestess delivers part two of Obama's invocation, Rick Warren will not represent inclusion (although the pastor does resemble a big tent). But how can I stay mad? All Obama has to do is smile at Fareed Zakaria or go topless in Hawaii, and my ire and satire melt away. Oh, Obama, I hate myself for loving you.
Jay Jaroch, writer, "Real Time With Bill Maher":
There will be no humor in the new order. You'll learn that in the re-education camps.
Lee Camp, stand-up comic and humor writer for the Huffington Post and 236.com:
Yes, Barack Obama will be slightly harder to make fun of than McCain-Palin. However, I will gladly give up the ease of my job in exchange for a President who doesn't think we can bomb people into loving us and a Vice President who doesn't think 'foreign policy' is how you treat the waiter at a Mexican restaurant. Plus, if you think Obama won't make mistakes worthy of jokes, then you're sorely mistaken. Let's not forget he recently picked Pastor Rick Warren for his inauguration -- a man who thinks gay marriage is equivalent to writing love sonnets to an underage goat. Barack Obama could very well be the next Abraham Lincoln, but even Lincoln had a funny hat!
Steve Young, TV writer and author who blogs at steveyoungonpolitics:
I see comedy entering a more difficult, more painful era. For the past eight years of Bush and Cheney and the intern years of Clinton, we were pretty much stenographers. Come Jan. 20, comics and writers will actually have to make up satire instead of relying on cut and paste inanity lifted directly from political speeches and off the cuff remarks of the newsworthy. Thank God we'll still have Joe Biden, and with Bill O'Reilly continuing to be a nightly factor, it's not like we'll have to generate all the nonsense ourselves.
Evan & Gregg Spiridellis, co-founders of JibJab:
We would like to take this opportunity to calm the fears of satirists everywhere. Barack Obama is (1) a human being and (2) a politician. Those two qualities alone guarantee that there will be a steady stream of raw materials for jokes over the next four to eight years.
Elaina Newport, co-founder of the Capitol Steps comedy troupe:
Of course, every time we lose a president we worry, "Will the next one be funny?" I remember being quite distressed to lose Bill Clinton -- how could George Bush possibly be as good for comedy? But they always come through! In the case of Obama, I'm thinking that this might be the scenario: he's the straight man, surrounded by comedy gold in the form of Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and I think we're also entitled to several second-round draft picks. For now, we are having fun with the fact that the press is so enamored with Barack, in the form of our song "Obama Mia." And Hillary grits her teeth and tries to be happy to be Barack's Secretary of State, in the song "Ebony and Ovaries." But it's true, the worst thing for comedy would be a quietly competent president. Let's hope that doesn't happen!
Sam Means, writer, "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," and author of "A Practical Guide to Racism," in character as C.H. Dalton:
How do I plan to survive the Obama years? Law school.
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