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Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 341 -- Late Night Jokes.

This Is Where Most Americans Get Most Of Their Political Information-

Would you believe that President Bush is the #1 target of late night comedians?

Yep, it's true:


Okay. Nothing that groundbreaking in these numbers.

But these are slightly more meaningful:

In the first five years of his presidency, George W. Bush was the target of eighteen percent of the 15,400 jokes from late night talk show hosts Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Conan O’Brien. This compares to sixteen percent for Bill Clinton during the first five years of his presidency.

So, more jokes about Bush than Clinton, at comparable times in their administrations. Interesting.

What's even more interesting is remembering how Clinton jokes made some people like President Clinton. He was the cool guy. The frat boy womanizer. The dope smoker. The overeater. In the world of late night jokes, President Clinton was John Belushi. Today, the jokes about Bush are mostly just about what a terrible, unlikeable person he is (which is clearly bogus) (.pdf):

Almost a third of the jokes (101) told about President Bush mocked his intelligence. Other leading topics were Mr. Bush's declining popularity, his personality, the port security story, and the war in Iraq.

Not only that, but there are more Bush jokes this year than last year, by far (.pdf):

For 2005, 544 jokes were told about George W. Bush -- averaging about 45 jokes per month. That pace has more than doubled so far this year, as there have been 307 jokes directed toward Mr. Bush -- averaging 102 per month.

Late night jokes seem to parallel approval ratings. Causation? Correlation? And which direction? Who knows. But it is suspicious how the two run in tandem. But when you think about how many Americans get their political news from comedians, it's not that hard to see the connection.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Death Taxes Are Terrible.

Posted by Will Franklin · 8 June 2006 04:44 PM


What I wonder is why Bush is beat down for being such an idiot. They guy is personable. You may not like his policies or the Administration, but the guy has a great sense of humor, even at his own expense.

The irony of his GPA being basically the same as John Kerry's both at Yale is the most telling. Kerry has no charisma and no personality at all. He appears pampered and out of touch. Bush is approachable and relates well to average Americans. He ran a damned baseball team. I mean the guy seems like the type that would have a beer (if he didn't quit drinking) and watch a ballgame, the whole time trading quips about players and having a good time. Does that make him ignorant? Makes him one of us.

Hell, doesn't he even do that weird devil salute that all you non-Aggie Texas folks do? =)

Posted by: Justin B at June 8, 2006 09:50 PM

I may be wrong, but I think the Clinton jokes will overtake Bush in the final almost-three years, as the Monica story didn't break until mid-January 1998, and the study (Jan.-Feb. 2006) would not have anywhere near all of that, based on a comparable cutoff (Jan.-Feb. 1998).

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