On Wednesday I predicted the quick demise of The Daily Show and the Colbert Report once their favorite target, President George W. Bush, falls off the national radar screen, and now that Republicans have reduced themselves to a political footnote. I argued that the left-leaning shows would lose their relevance and their audience, and quickly run low on material, once humorless liberals were in power. I wondered whether Bush-bashing comedians and pundits can adapt to the Obama era, when Americans seem to want a Messiah more than they want a president, and whether the president's race would insulate him from the kind of scalding ridicule conservatives routinely suffer.
Maybe I'll be proven wrong.
Yesterday appeared this story, indicating that left-leaning comedians are eager to be rid of an easy target like Bush and ready to take on the much tougher challenge of tackling Obama, which gives me hope that the media honeymoon for Obama will last less than 8 years.
I stand by my prediction, but with a tad less confidence.
Here's the story:
US comedians sharpen claws for Obama presidency
They love him now, but America's razor-tongued, left-leaning comedians say president-elect Barack Obama will soon be the butt of jokes.
Satirical cartoonist Ted Rall said he couldn't wait to move on from Republican President George W. Bush. "Making fun of George Bush is so easy -- it's just kindergarten stuff," Rall complained at a post-election comedy discussion panel Wednesday. "Doing Obama is going to be so much more fun."
Political humor enjoys something of a golden age in the United States after a presidential campaign where TV shows like Saturday Night Live not only made fun of news, but made news.
Most comedians are strongly Democratic and their juiciest targets were Republicans, especially Sarah Palin, the Alaskan "ice hockey mom" chosen as vice president on John McCain's defeated ticket.
Now Obama, who takes office in January, is in the firing line.
"Obama is so stiff and uptight, he's just asking for it," said Rall, who proudly proclaims his liberal credentials. "I'm going to be fascinated."
Stand-up comedian Roseanne Barr said the coming Obama presidency -- already burdened by huge expectations and vast challenges -- would provide rich material and "raise the intelligence of the jokes."
The discussion, held in Manhattan at the opening of the New York Comedy Festival, soon gave a foretaste of the edginess likely in wisecracks about Obama, the country's first black president-elect.
When Barr innocently predicted "very pointed jokes, tip of the spear jokes," fellow comedian Robert George, who is black, asked in mock shock: "Did you say tip of the SPEAR jokes about a black man?"
For now, most comedians, including the panel on Wednesday, seem to be holding back from making fun of an election victory they all wanted.
Rather un-comic passions exploded during a row between the comedians and one of the panel's two lone conservative guests, Monica Crowley from the right-leaning Fox News channel.
"This is getting out of control," Crowley muttered during a shouting match about Iraq and McCain's negative campaign ads.
But satirical newspaper The Onion is already plunging ahead into the era of Obama humor.
The latest issue carries this story under the headline "Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job."
"African-American man Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America....
"As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind."
One thing that's sure, comedian Lizz Winstead told the discussion panel, is that the jokes will get close to the bone.
"Basically, it's going to be about how he handles power. Is he going to blow it? Will he become an egomaniac?" she asked.
To which Rall responded: "Of course he'll blow it -- they always do!"