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Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Late Night Comedy: Now Obama, Weiner Butt of Most 2013 Jokes

  • (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
    U.S. President Barack Obama laughs as comedian Conan O'Brien speaks during the White House Correspondents Association Dinner in Washington April 27, 2013.
August 5, 2013|3:05 pm

While Republicans were the butt of most late night comic humor last year, now that President Barack Obama is re-elected, those comics have turned most of their attention to the president. New York mayoral candidate and famed "sexter" Anthony Weiner had the second most late night jokes in the first half of 2013.

Obama was joked about in 288 monologues on late night television, over twice as many as Weiner, who came in second with 120 jokes, according to a Center for Media and Public Affairs study on late night jokes between January 1 and June 30.

Pope Benedict XVI closely followed Weiner with 112 jokes. Vice President Joe Biden was a distant fourth place with 88 jokes. The only Republicans in the top 10 were former President George W. Bush (84 jokes) and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (71 jokes) in fifth and sixth place, respectively.

The rest of the top 10 were North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un (57 jokes), Dennis Rodman (48 jokes) and Edward Snowden (45 jokes).

CMPA notes that Rodman is not technically a politician but he is on the list because he engaged in some diplomacy, sort of, with the North Korean leader.

The record so far in 2013 is a stark contrast from 2012 when most of the jokes were about Republicans and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. But Democrats were joked about 70 percent more often than Republicans in the first half of 2013.

"Where scandals go, late night comedians follow. These days that means they're following the Democrats," said CMPA President and George Mason University Professor Robert Lichter.

Five late night talk show hosts were examined for the study: Jay Leno, David Letterman, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy Kimmel. Among them, Letterman was the only one to tell more jokes about Republicans (139) than Democrats (102). Fallon, on the other hand, had the highest Democrat (240) to Republican (76) joke ratio.

Here is a sample of some of jokes, provided courtesy of CMPA:

I was going to start off tonight with an Obama joke, but I don't want to get audited by the IRS, so forget that. – Leno

A lot of critics are now comparing President Obama to President Nixon. The good news for Obama? At least he's no longer being compared to President Carter. – Leno

Joe Biden said that some people buy guns because owning one feels like driving a Ferrari. At which point, Obama was like, "stop helping." – Fallon

Polls indicate that the American public actually misses George W. Bush … Let's see, two wars, an economic collapse and mortgage crisis. Ah it's hard not to be nostalgic. Those were the days! – Letterman

CPMA is a non-profit, non-partisan research organization affiliated with George Mason University. It has monitored news coverage of every presidential election and every new administration since 1988.

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