Jordan Carlos Tackles The Obama Comedy Crisis!
Now that our nation has gone and elected a popular black man with no clear signs of dementia as president, it's obvious that our Crisis Of Comedy is a most vital public issue. Nerdy white comedians have no idea how to make fun of Obama! Never fear. We reached out to Jordan Carlos—professional comedian, Stephen Colbert's black friend, and a guy we once tried to assert (unsuccessfully) would be a better Saturday Night Live Obama impersonator than Fred Armisen—for his take on the future of Obama comedy. Exclusive Jordan Carlos Analytical Comedic Essay Below! Barack: This Dude Even Changed Comedy Tuesday By Jordan Carlos The political balance of power may not have been the only thing that shifted Tuesday. The world of comedy got a bit of a shake up too. Though it's difficult to predict the misty future with any certainty, Obama's win does beg a couple of obvious questions; namely, "Do Black comedians have much to complain about anymore?" Now before you tear my nuts off for asking this, let me say I'm just raising this extreme question for the sake of argument. I don't actually think Black people don't have anything to complain about anymore, though cabs were remarkably easier to come by yesterday in the city. But things have changed—and who are many comedians of color, if not people who point to the old saw of differences between white and Black and all the hi-larious inequalities surrounding those differences? Remove that brand of humor from the mix, and what's left for Black comedians to fall back on? Plenty, of course. The world is full of comedic opportunity. But it will be intriguing to see how audiences will respond when a Black comic moans about the everyday racial politics he or she faces when a Black person holds the highest office in the land. For anyone who can do an impression of Obama, congrats! Your stock just went through the friggin roof! Bush impersonators, report to your local soup kitchen or shanty town. Obama impersonators are guaranteed at least 4 years of career opportunity. For me, a fairer-skinned black dude with newly close-cropped hair and larger-than-average ears, things are looking up. I've already been able to do my impression for TV (once on Headline News and once on a Japanese morning TV show – Yeah, I know. What the F?) and I look forward to at least four more years of it. Though I was asked by the folks at Gawker to give my take on Fred Armisen's impression of Obama, I'm gonna have to pass. Other art forms encourage a lover's quarrel among artists – boisterous roundtables and bustling salons, etc. — comedy, not so much. Take it from me, comics are a sensitive bunch – me more than most (we're not talking Kanye West levels here, but you get where I'm going with this). We want to be liked (obveeez!!!). Did I dance around that enough? You can watch my Obama impression here, OK? [Ed.: And also here] I think the existential question of what comedians can complain about now is shared by not only Black comedians, but also the good folks at The Daily Show and Real Time with Bill Maher. They got what they wanted, right? So now what? Feast on Obama like they did Bush? That would be kinda weird. Recently on his show Bill Maher declared a new rule: that President-elect "Obama must give comedians something to work with." When questioned about this statement by America's favorite old man, Larry King, Maher said, "But look, [Obama]'s going to be the president and we're going to have to get over our nervousness about making fun of a Black person. He's not a black person. He's the president." OK, Maher lost me at the whole, "he's not a black person" bit, but you get what he's trying to say. Eventually ALL comedians are going to have to take off the kid gloves and skewer the newly anointed commander in chief. How they do it will be something that I, for one, am interested to see. To me there's plenty you can make fun of when it comes to Obama: — Because of him the high concept movie about a jazzy black dude being president is dead and over. —People maybe just maybe expect too much from him. —He's got huge, honking ears. —You can make fun of the fact that it's hard to make fun of him. —You kind of have to do a lot of self-deceiving to back the guy (doesn't believe in gay marriage, tough on immigration, tosses friends when they become political liabilities – Rev. Wright, Ayers). —He may kinda owe Oprah a place in his cabinet. —Does Jesse Jackson still want to cut his nuts off like he said? And why the hell was he front-row Chicago victory rally after saying something like that? Obama must have known he said that. Where's my front row seat? I didn't call for castration. You could make sketches out of all that stuff and more if you've got the salt. You should always be able to laugh at your leaders – even if they're awesome people who happen to be Black. Click to view