The importance of the President on pop culture

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Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view), a large segment of the American population gets the majority of their exposure to the President from various pop culture outlets – Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, Bill Maher, Frank Caliendo etc.

Say what you will about President Bush but he has been an absolute gold mine for the nation’s purveyors of parody and sellers of satire. In fact, one of my own early memories of the yet-to-be President was comedian Will Ferrell’s portrayal of the candidate during the 2000 campaign season. Admittedly, I was much less political and tuned in back then so I nearly based my decision on the fact that I wanted to see that impression more. End result – Will Ferrell shuffles off to $20 million per movie land (and the occasional tease of what might have been) and we get stuck with perhaps one of the most incompetent chief executives since the guy who green lighted New Coke.

I was reminded of these impressions when I came across this column from a couple weeks ago about the possible difficulties faced by comedy writers should a certain candidate whose name rhymes with “Yo mama” end up winning:

But what of Obama? He inspires our nation’s youth. He strings lyrical thoughts together. He’s a movement. He fills arenas with his believers, clamoring for change. What’s funny about that? OK, he’s skinny. He’s even demonstrated some self-ribbing, if you will, on that score. But are we really ready for four years of thin jokes?

It might actually be kind of nice to have a president who makes Jon Stewart’s job a little harder. Besides with 435 congressmen and women, 100 senators and countless state and local officials, not to mention foreign leaders, there will be no shortage of material.

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