I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but political humor can be tricky. Comedy is entirely subjective anyway, and introducing politics into it just makes it more likely that one person will laugh while another doesn’t find it funny (or, in some rare and tragic cases, even realize you were trying to be funny).
No one feels the brunt of the rancorous political season worse than the candidates themselves, and that’s why it’s happy-making to watch these clips from last night’s annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York City. In election years, the two presidential candidates traditionally are invited to speak at this event, and it’s become a sort of “roast,” where they can crack wise at one another’s expense all in the spirit of good fun.
McCain’s segment is broken into two parts, followed by Obama’s in one. It does my heart good to see them not only making some very good, very clever jokes (they had speechwriters, of course), but to also see them laughing at each other’s jabs. It looks like honest laughter, too, not the fake kind you do because you have to. Like I’ve always said, a good joke is a good joke, regardless of who the target is.
And they’re both funny! They make fun of themselves, of their public images, and each other. Why can’t McCain be this loose and energized in general? His routine here is snappy, animated and smooth. Obama is more deadpan and doesn’t have quite as polished a delivery as McCain. As for the overall quality of the jokes themselves, I’ll call it a draw.
Here are the videos, after the jump.