A Candidate, a Congresswoman, and a Lobbyist Walk into a Bar...

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

It's the old brainteaser: If a tree falls in the forest and no one's around to hear it, did it make a sound? Given how many of us get our news from the Daily Show and its ilk, if a politician says something funny or absurd and no one's around to lampoon it, did it really happen at all? With the writers' strike in its fifth week, we're in quite a political humor drought... does that mean politicians get a free ride? I mean, there's got to be something to President Bush speaking yesterday about Santa Claus and Congress... and when presidential candidate Mike Gravel said the new National Intelligence Estimate "drop-kicked" said President in the NPR debate yesterday, I laughed out loud. Imagine a line like that in the hands of a true comedian... or his or her writer. And let's not forget Chuck Norris endorsing Mike Huckabee! These are some pretty easy marks for me to pick out, but the folks whose job this is, the writers for shows like the Late Show with David Letterman, must be going nuts with an bounty of mockable material, and no outlet! Have you spotted raw political material for the comedy writers that's just going to fade into the ether without their help? How would you write the joke?

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

I think I'll respect the picket line and refrain from writing any jokes.

Sent by Amanda | 2:53 PM | 12-5-2007

The role of satire in the national political dialog is more than a frivolous indulgence or digressive entertainment. It performs a role of subjective analysis and character policing that mainstream journalism seems to have unspoken rules against, shaping the national conversation in a way that we are currently and distressingly lacking. From Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" to the Macaca incident in Virginia, topical political satire is essential in a media landscape graced by the right to free speech.

Sent by Taylor Baldwin | 3:00 PM | 12-5-2007

The topic of this piece is unethical. Of course people besides hired writers are astute to humor and irony (SNL is not funny anymore, BTW). However, the writers work to make it funny, they make alot of money for the networks who are too greedy to share it with them. Why not spend time analyzing the strike earnestly?

Sent by T. Sisti | 3:01 PM | 12-5-2007

Re: Bush's comment about Iran as a grammatical exercise ("Iran was a threat, Iran is a threat...." ) My favorite is the ever-popular future perfect: Iran will have been a threat.

Sent by Al Brown | 3:05 PM | 12-5-2007

Wow, great topic horrible guest. Who was that guy speaking on behalf of the striking writers? What a wet blanket, way to make a light topic heavy. I swear he did more damage alone to his cause than the Media companies, he's striking against. He seriously made the media companies seem reasonable.

Sent by Tony | 3:07 PM | 12-5-2007

The same industry that will sue a 12 year old for downloading a song "illegally", whining about how artists need to be paid for their work, is now trying to get away with not paying said artists for the content they provide on the internet. I guess ethics are situational in the boardroom and executive suite.

Sent by George from Oregon | 3:45 PM | 12-5-2007

Support comes from: