Think Sarah Palin's nothing to laugh about? Then read this

Kansas City StarSeptember 16, 2008 

Considering that the largest audience in six years had tuned in to watch "Saturday Night Live," many of them curious to see what kind of treatment Sarah Palin would get on the show, and considering that Tina Fey is not exactly known for her characters (unless you count Liz Lemon, her "30 Rock" character, who may just be Fey channeling her single-gal years), it's pretty impressive that Fey was able to meet or exceed expectations with her dead-on (if Upper Midwest-sounding) impression of Sarah Palin on "SNL" last weekend.

That said, you wonder if anyone, anyone changed their presidential preference after that performance. Wait, I'll answer that in a word: no. Not one person changed their mind based on Tina Fey. Anyone think she's voting Republican? Think she's voted Republican in her life? The whole sketch was designed as catharsis for Hillary-supporting Democrats ... like Tina Fey.

Jay Leno, on the other hand, is a classic equal-opportunity-offender late night comedian. He may not sway anyone's vote either. But he does stand up for 14 minutes five nights a week and deliver a monologue. And as someone regarded by his fans as a fair dealer -- as someone whose audience is as middle-America as it gets -- he has a power that Tina Fey, Jon Stewart, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, to name a few, cannot exert. It's the power to introduce a partisan idea into the mainstream without sounding (or being) partisan.

And that's why, if you're one of these Democrats who's been whining for two weeks that no one in the mainstream media will stand up to Sarah Palin and the people backing her, you may want to have a look at Jay Leno's monologue the past few nights.

"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" is late night's No. 1-rated show by a country mile, averaging 4.7 million viewers a night to David Letterman's 3.5 million viewers. Here now, from the last three monologues for which I have the transcripts, are almost all of the political jokes told, all in just the past week, on Leno's show. See if you notice a trend. First we'll start with Monday's monologue:

Did you all see Sarah Palin's interview with Charlie Gibson? In fact, John McCain was watching it at home and at one point he turned to his wife and said, "She looks really familiar."

As you know, the Republicans are still keeping her away from the mainstream press. ... Actually, Sarah Palin is going from her interview with Gibson on ABC to one with Sean Hannity on Fox. That should be hard hitting! That's like going from hardball to tee ball, isn't it?

Sarah Palin said she is ready for Sean Hannity. In fact, she spent all day today writing out the questions he's going to ask her.

If you saw the big interview with Gibson, Sarah Palin quoted Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln said, "Let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side." Here's the amazing part. You know who Abraham Lincoln said that to? John McCain. [Ronald Reagan used to tell a version of this joke on himself.--AB]

In the Gibson interview, a lot of people thought Charlie Gibson was unfair to her. They thought he was talking down to her. That was one of the comments. Like when he asked her about the so-called Bush doctrine. Most people aren't familiar with the Bush doctrine. I mean, we are, but we know it by another name: "Murphy's Law."

Here's something I mentioned last week. For some reason the Secret Service revealed this. Sarah Palin's Secret Service code name is "danali." Turns out denali is an old Eskimo word that means Dan Quayle.

And here are all of Leno's political jokes on Friday:

If you watched TV last night, you know that Charlie Gibson did something John McCain has never done: interviewed Sarah Palin.

Last night Sarah Palin gave an interview with ABC's CHarlie Gibson. Earlier today her future son-in-law was on Maury Povich: "You are the father!"

At one point Charlie Gibson asked Palin about the Bush doctrine but she didn't know what it was. To be fair, even Bush doesn't know what the Bush doctrine is.

That was the big bone of contention on the cable talk shows. Supporters of Palin say that it's OK she doesn't know what the Bush doctrine is because the average American doesn't know what it is. Shouldn't the bar be a little higher for this job? Shouldn't it be a little above average? I'm mean, let's be honest we already had an average guy as president. It didn't work out that great.

The most important question that i would have asked her last night? "How were you treated at ABC? Are they nice people? Are they easy to work with?" That's what i would have asked.

Sarah Palin was also asked if we might have to go to war with Russia. She said, "perhaps so." Perhaps so? Isn't that like a magic 8-ball kind of answer? Will we have to go to war? "Reply hazy. Try again later. It is decidedly so."

Today the Secret Service revealed that Sarah Palin's Secret Service code name is "denali." Here's my question, what's the secret part? I mean if the Secret Service is going to give you a Secret Service code name, shouldn't they keep it a secret? Why not just call her Sarah?

They also revealed that Sarah's husband Todd, who works in the oil field...His Secret Service code name is "driller." I guess they figured Bill Clinton wasn't using it anymore.

And as you know they've already come out with a Sarah Palin action figure. Today the Democrats released a Joe Biden action figure, and it talks...and talks...and talks... You can't get the thing to shut up.

And the other day while talking to a group of supporters, Joe Biden said that Hillary Clinton might have been a better pick for vice president than him. Yeah, that's one way to get the base fired up, huh? Tell them they picked the wrong person.

And according to an AP article in the paper today, Sarah Palin's church in Alaska is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer. They call it "pray away the gay." It's a lot better than the original title: "Think outside the bun."

And Charles Rangel, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, the guy who writes the tax codes. He has been found to be in default on taxes on income of a beach villa that he owns in the caribbean. Rangel blamed it on his accountant and then said he didn't understand the law. Didn't understand it? He wrote it! If he don't understand it how screwed are we?

And there's still more. Read the full story at KansasCity.com.

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