Clinton and Giuliani Most-Lampooned Candidates: But Is That a Bad Thing?
A new study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs found Hillary Clinton and Rudolph Giuliani were the biggest Democratic and Republican targets of late-night comedians in most of 2007, respectively. Clinton has endured 186 jokes this year (all her other Democratic opoonents got a total 197 jokes), while Giuliani for 72 barbs.
Overall, Dems got it worse with 383 jokes compared to 312 knocks for Republicans. Unfortunately, the CMPA looked at a pretty narrow field: monologues from Jan. 1 to Oct. 10 by Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, David Letterman, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (not sure why Jimmy Kimmel anmd Craig Ferguson got the cold shoulder; maybe the CMPA doesn't have enough VCRs).
But I think you have to wonder whether this exposure is bad as it seems. Jokes equal top-of-mind recognition. And when you have so many condidates in the most contested primaries in recent memory, maybe even a good jab from Leno or letterman is better than no attention at all.
Here's the rest of the CMPA release:
Hillary Clinton has been the butt of 186 jokes by TV comedians this year, nearly as many as all her Democratic opponents, who combined for 197. Running a distant second in the humor race was Barack Obama with 56, followed by John Edwards (43), Dennis Kucinich (34), and Joe Biden (26).
The jokes about Ms. Clinton focused heavily on her physical appearance, including her taste in clothes (29 jokes), her alleged lack of emotional warmth (43 jokes), and her marital problems (21 jokes). Among the other candidates only John Edwards attracted frequent jokes about physical appearance, often about his hair. (See below for sample Hillary Clinton jokes.)
Overall the comedians found Democratic candidates (383 jokes) funnier than Republicans (312). Rudy Giuliani led the GOP contestants with 72 jokes, followed closely by Mitt Romney (68) and John McCain (54), with Mike Huckabee (27) and Fred Thompson (24) trailing behind.
Only "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart targeted any other Democratic candidate more often than Hillary – he told 27 jokes about Sen. Obama vs.25 about Sen. Clinton. But there was more variety in the choice of Republican targets: Leno zinged Giuliani most often (37 jokes), Letterman focused mainly on Romney (18), McCain led Jon Stewart’s list (25), and Colbert zapped Huckabee most (14).
But the presidential candidates have had plenty of competition from other newsmakers this year; only Ms. Clinton and Mr. Giuliani were among the ten most frequently joked-about public figures. The top ten targets of the TV jokemeisters were topped by George Bush with 826 jokes, followed by Paris Hilton (258), Dick Cheney (197), Hillary Clinton (186), Bill Clinton (142), Larry Craig (116), Alberto Gonzales (103), O.J. Simpson (87), Al Gore (84) and Rudy Giuliani (72).
Sample Hillary Jokes:
Bill Clinton says that he’s been very conditioned about global warming. As a matter of fact, last week another chunk of ice fell off his wife. – Letterman
During a recent campaign speech Barack Obama called John Edwards "kind of cute." Then he said Hillary Clinton has a really great personality. – Conan O’Brien
Hillary is dressing sexier and sexier. Yesterday she was seen shopping at Victoria ’s Pantsuit. - Letterman
Sen. Clinton said that as president she would bring the troops home. The troops? She can’t even get Bill to come home. – Leno
Over 18 million American men currently suffer from erectile dysfunction. Doctors say that number could double if Hillary gets elected. – Leno