|Chris Rock finds it difficult to ridicule President Obama.|
January 20, 2009
By BOB WHITE and CYNDI SMITH
How do you make fun of Barack Obama? He's articulate, he's intelligent, he's inclusive, he is monumental when the expectation is huge and low key when the crowd rises to the occasion. He is, to be brief, a comedian's nightmare because he is a politician who is difficult to ridicule.
Chris Rock loves to ridicule politicians because, "This is what people come to see. I'm just doing my show," he says with a laugh.
He's also known for his political commentary, but there's one person he's having trouble making fun of. How do you make fun of President Barack Obama?
Jokes about John McCain and Sarah Palin resonate around the world, but how do you make fun of an intelligent President at a time of unprecedented challenges?
In his own words, Chris Rock said,
He's just one of those guys, you know, like Will Smith. There's no Will Smith jokes. There's no Brad Pitt jokes. You know, what are you going to say? "Ooh, you used to have sex with Jennifer Anniston. Now you have sex with Angelina Jolie. You're such a loser." What do you say? "Ooh, your movies are big. You make $20 million." There's nothing to say about Brad Pitt.
How do you criticize Barack Obama? Leave it to Chris Rock to ridicule the prospect:
It's like "Ooh, you're young and virile and you've got a beautiful wife and kids. You're the first African-American president." You know, what do you say?
He has not made it easy for comedians to ridicule him at his expense. Perhaps, Barack Obama will be the first President in American History to laugh with the people, instead of provide the opportunity for the American people to laugh at him. Now that's what you call really Inclusive!
It looks like Chris Rock may never get the opportunity to make fun of Barack Obama because he understands his job. As Rock says, "You know, if you're the president you only have two jobs: peace and money. That's it. I mean, it's like, what did Clinton do? We were at peace and we had a budget surplus. That's it. That's the gig. The closer you get us to those two goals, you know, that's pretty much the gig."
In contrast, Bush's "gig" was fodder for comedy. When Chris Rock hosted the academy awards in 2005, he came out swinging, unleashing his acerbic wit on anyone and everyone in Hollywood — including himself. Needless to say, under the circumstances, Bush was an easy target.
“All right! Sit your asses down!” he shouted after walking on stage in a white tie and tux and receiving a standing ovation from many in the star-studded crowd. Rock picks celebrities and politicians apart with his razor sharp, observational humour. On the topic of controversial movies, Rock noted the lack of an Oscar nod for one of his favourites this year: Michael Moore's anti-Bush polemic Fahrenheit 911.
"A lot of people like to bash Bush. I'm not going to bash Bush tonight," Rock said, adding that he thought the president was a "genius" for winning another election in spite of the considerable deficit and the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
"Bush basically reapplied for his job this year. Can you imagine applying for a job, and while you're applying for that job there's a movie in every theatre in the country that shows how much you sucked at that job? It'd be hard to get hired" said Rock.
I watched 'Fahrenheit.' I learned some stuff. Bush did some things you could never get away with at a real job.
When Bush got into office, there was a surplus of money -- now there's like a $70 trillion deficit. Now just imagine you work at the GAP. You close out your register and you're $70 trillion short. The average person would get in trouble for something like that. Not Bush. Then he started a war. ... Now just imagine you work at the GAP. You're $70 trillion behind on your register and then you start a war with the Banana Republic because you say they got toxic tank tops over there. You have the war, people are dying -- 1,000 GAP employees are dead, bleeding all over the khakis -- you finally take over Banana Republic and find they never made tank tops in the first place."
Bush was clearly the easiest target but everybody was in his his scope, with jabs like, "Oprah is so rich that I saw John Kerry proposing to her just an hour ago." Regarding Michael Moore, he said, "You know he’s thinking 'I should have made Super Size Me — I’ve done the research.'"
It wasn't all slash and burn. Rock gave a nod to American troops with the quip, "I just want to send some love out to all our troops fighting all over the world for freedom right now," receiving as enthusiastic a response as he got when he ridiculed Bush -looks like he belongs in Obama's Cabinet.