September 28, 2004
Highlights of John Kerry's recent attempts to grapple with humor, or, the newly-introduced "Laughter Initiative 2004"

Just an ill-informed guess, but Presidential candidate John Kerry appears to be scouring the latest issue of The Onion for ideas pertaining to "what is funny" and "what to do at the Mercury Lounge later this evening"

The Associated Press, in the wake of other reports on the success of the Bush camp's usage of humor at political rallies earlier this week, has now provided equal time to the president's opponent in a rote assessment of John Kerry's skills at invoking laughter.

Literally - the piece is rote and by the numbers.

According to the piece's writer, Nedra Pickler, "even while speaking on the very serious topic of Iraq last week at New York University, Kerry made the audience laugh six times at President Bush's expense." Did you get that? Six laughs, to be precise. Furthermore, the subject matter of Iraq is deemed to be "very serious" for some inexplicable reason, though Sen. Kerry has been able to invoke "laughs" and "chuckles" from audiences who have been treated to his riffs on the President's disavowal of bad news in our latest colonial acquisition. Later, we learn that audience members have also "guffawed" at these events, but it remains unsaid whether or not anyone may have ventured so far as to "chortle", though that's a definite likelihood if they were treated to Kerry's time-tested "Bush is sooooo stupid, that..." routine. Seriously, that bit kills every Tuesday night at the Laugh Factory.

Thankfully, Pickler assists politically-minded stand-up comics everywhere by detailing some of the senator's signature lines:

Kerry said the occupation of Iraq is riddled with problems, "yet today, President Bush tells us that he would do everything all over again, the same way." Kerry paused for affect before asking sarcastically, "How can he possibly be serious?"

Oh, fuck, that snide sumbitch! He pulled the asshole card right there! (Full disclosure: I, too, am an asshole.) Hmmm. This quandary creates some sort of mid-post smug-asshole-dilemma, I suspect, that can only be resolved by a battle of humorous invocations of colloquialisms:

Kerry used an idiom likely to be heard among teenagers in a shopping mall, but not on the Senate floor.

"You're going to hear all this talk, `Oh, we've turned the corner, we're doing better, blah, blah,'" he said, running on the phrase as his Wisconsin audience erupted in laughter. "You know, blah and blah and blah."

Damn, he really has been polishing his material by watching a great deal of MTV2 and Fuse...since my initial instincts, as a recreational reader of Lingua Franca and Congressional Quarterly, were to recommend that Kerry try something more traditional, along the lines of: "You will proceed to hear a series of speeches emanating from the President's operatives, henceforth declaring, 'We have turned the corner, we're doing better, et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum.'" The senator from Massachusetts, on the other hand, clearly knows his shit.

To demonstrate this, we've got this nugget of merriment:

Kerry was cracking up his partisan crowd by telling Wisconsin voters they shouldn't be wary of changing horses midstream when the horse is drowning. He tied the metaphor to reports that the Bush campaign insisted that podiums in Thursday's debate be set relatively far apart to obscure Kerry's five-inch height advantage.

"May I also suggest that we need a taller horse?" he said. "You can get through deeper waters that way."

From an objective standpoint, even I can admit that qualifying this bit as "funny" is a stretch that even Olympic medalist Carly Patterson wouldn't attempt to make (Ha, ha...see you next week at the clubs, suckas!!!).

Posted in a Grave fashion.

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