In his March 13 Daily Beast piece lamenting that "the GOP can't take a joke," comedian Dean Obeidallah demonstrated he doesn't read NewsBusters closely and/or that he lacks proper reading comprehension skills.
Here's how Obeidallah described a March 12 story by my colleague Jeffrey Meyer:
On Wednesday, the conservative publication Newsbusters complained that Jimmy Fallon, the new host of the esteemed Tonight Show, took an “unnecessary swipe” at Sarah Palin. Translation: Fallon told a joke about Palin they didn’t like. They have even come after me and I’m not even in the same universe as these other comedians! But it doesn’t matter. Famous or not, the right is scouring the airwaves for any joke they don’t like.
But of course Meyer's point wasn't merely that Fallon took a swipe at Palin but that there is a double standard among left-leaning comics when it comes to portraying politicians as goofy grand standers. Here's how Meyer concluded his piece:
One wonders if Fallon will be as critical of Democratic senators reading Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” during their climate change talkathon as he was of Ms. Palin. Let’s hope Fallon doesn’t limit his jokes to taking cheap shots at Republicans.
To be fair to Fallon, yes, he has made jokes at the expense of Democrats, but they are not as mean-spirited as the anti-Palin joke Fallon made denouncing the "Green Eggs and Ham" reference.
Indeed, Fallon did make one joke on his March 11 program about the Democratic talkathon, but the butt of the joke was... Al Gore:
FALLON: Let's see what's happening in Washington. Thirty Democratic senators held an all-night talkathon. [audience laughter] That sounds exciting, huh. Yeah.
[ audience laughter ]
FALLON: An all night talkathon on the floor of the Senate last night to highlight the impacts of climate change. Yep, 14 hours of climate change talk, or as Al Gore calls that, a first date.
[audience laughter ]
FALLON, as Gore: You look hot. But, not as hot as the Earth is getting. Take a look at these charts. [audience laughter] I brought these charts here, and this is where our love can go. [audience laughter]
Amusing, of course, but, again, the butt of the joke is Al Gore, not Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) the grandstanding senators who read portion of Dr. Seuss's The Lorax during Monday evening's "talkathon."
What's more, Fallon's Gore joke is good-natured ribbing compared to the harsh tenor of the anti-Palin "Green Eggs and Ham" joke, wherein the punch line involved "Sam I Am" issuing "a rebuttal of his own" to Palin:
I do not like the speech you spoke. The speech you spoke was quite a joke. I found your words were lacking taste. You first hit copy then hit paste. I would not like this on a beach. So next time write your own damn speech.
The longstanding tradition of Tonight Show humor has been good-natured ribbing of political personalities on both sides of the political aisle, and if Mr. Fallon wishes to see success in the ratings, he would do well to keep that in mind.
Making that argument is hardly anti-comedy and in fact is in the best interests of seeing Mr. Fallon succeed as a comedian who gets laughs from Republicans and Democrats alike.