How do you Make fun of Obama?

Answer: The same way you make fun of Bush.  At NPR, they interviewed executive producer Ben Karlin from The Daily Show.  If anyone knows The Daily Show always makes fun of President Bush.  However, the show says that it isn’t making fun of Bush just because they have a certain political agenda that goes against Bush.  They say that they make fun of anyone in charge and it just happens to be Bush for the past eight years.  However, if you set up a certain agenda for a while, you’ll get a certain crowd.  And lately, the crowd seems to be very supportive of Obama and hateful of Bush.  So there’s a worry that if Jon Stewart starts making fun of Obama, it will alienate his crowd.  I can remember a segment where The Daily Show did make fun of Obama and the crowd just barely chuckeled, to which Stewart said, “You know, it’s ok to laugh at him.”

Although I do support Obama, I hope that they do make fun of him on the show.  It seems like a double standard to only make fun of one side of the political spectrum.  Besides, the show isn’t meant to hold on to some political agenda, but rather to give satire to whatever the situation is at hand.

At the same time, I think that a true democracy is where you can make fun of all sides.  It seems presumptuous to say that, “My side’s right; you’re wrong.”  In order to grow, you must look at the flaws of your side.  It’s always easy to make fun of the things you disagree with.  And it makes people uncomfortable to find flaws in their own views.  But that is how you develop your own ideas: by finding flaws in it.  Satire is a way to keep you modest, and I hope that regardless of anyone’s loyalty to the show, the show does make fun of whoever is in charge.

About shaunmiller

I have just completed a visiting position as an assistant professor at Dalhousie University. My ideas are not associated with my employer; they are expressions of my own thoughts and ideas. Some of them are just musings while others could be serious discussions that could turn into a bigger project. Besides philosophy, I enjoy martial arts (Kuk Sool Won), playing my violin, enjoying coffee around town, and experimenting with new food.
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11 Responses to How do you Make fun of Obama?

  1. jonolan says:

    They won’t make fun of Obama. Obama’s followers would destroy them if they did; they tolerate no dissent and will do whatever they feel is necessary to silence individuals and groups who speak out against their leader.

  2. shaunmiller says:

    Really? Then why is it that The Daily Show has made fun of him before? Why is it that other shows have made fun of him without the fear of being silenced? If the followers of Obama won’t tolerate it, then, as I said before, they aren’t mature and don’t want to develop their own ideas.

  3. jonolan says:

    While he was a candidate, they took a few carefully timid shots at him. Once he’s in office don;t expect that to “improve” much unless Obama totally disillusions his followers.

    “They aren’t mature and don’t want to develop their own ideas”

    That describes whole swaths – though not all – of Obama’s following. And let’s not even get into the “Race Card” and race-baiting issues that would be claimed to arise by some of Obama’s flock if he were to be lampooned.

  4. Killer J says:

    I think Jonolan is right. Unless Obama completely disillusions his followers, he will receive little (if any) heat from the Daily Show/similar programming. Shaun, you actually seemed to agree with Jonolan to some degree in your original post. I think we all know where the majority of the media stands politically.

    “The true end of satire is the amendment of vice by correction. And he who writes honestly is no more an enemy to the offender, than the physician to the patient, when he prescribes harsh remedies to an inveterate disease…”
    -John Dryden, 1681

    Watch for it. Fairness doctrine+biased media=socialist totalitarianism.

  5. shaunmiller says:

    Man, I think you’re both missing the point. This post was about The Daily Show and how they can satire the Obama Presidency. But both of you are concerned about Obama’s followers. I’m not concerned about the followers. Fuck them. Of course there are going to be some of those that will never question him, but that’s how it is on every political spectrum. To those people, they will never change; you’ll never convince them.

    No, this post was about how The Daily Show has a certain political climate built up and the concern was how do you make fun of a guy where the climate adores him? My prediction is that they’re going to make fun of him. It’ll alienate the hard-core followers, but at the same time, I think it’ll bring in more people.

    As for your comment about the fairness doctrine and biased media, the funny thing is that The Daily Show isn’t really news at all (unless you count satire as news) so I really don’t see how this plays out.

    On the other hand, I guess the only thing to do is wait it out and see how much criticism Obama gets from The Daily Show. You guys say that Obama won’t get as much criticism as Bush did. But let’s be honest, Bush was an easy target from a humorist point of view. With Obama, you’ll actually have to do some digging and poking to make fun.

    My prediction: The Daily Show will make fun of Obama but not in the same tone as Bush. Not because they’re trying to appease his followers or because the media is “biased,” but because Bush is simply easier to make fun of, no matter what you’re political preference is. From this, I think it’ll alienate some audience members, but it’ll pick up some new ones.

  6. Killer J says:

    Well, I for sure agree about Bush being an easier target. You’re probably right though.

  7. prometheustherebel says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with your latest comment shaun…kudos.

  8. Nicole says:

    They should only make fun of people who deserve to be made fun of. Or else it would just be poor taste. If Obama, Bush, Britney or whoever does something ridiculous, you must take that opportunity to get a laugh. But TRYING to make fun of someone for no reason will only make things worse.

    And about the followers…if the Obama fans lose interest then they’ll probably gain McCain/Palin fans. So the ratings will be high no matter what. I say as long as I enjoy it I will keep watching it. I don’t care if other people watch or like t. Wouldn’t it be so nice if no one cared about what other people did or thought?

  9. jonolan says:


    Anyone in power should be lampooned regularly, whether they’ve done something in particular or not. A politician or a celebrity not only always deserves to be made fun of just for what they are, but needs to be made fun of in an attempt to keep them at least slightly grounded.

    Sadly, the television entertainment industry draws its income primarily from advertisers and those advertisers by add spots based on target demographics and ratings. Shift those demographics and lower those ratings and a show becomes unprofitable.

  10. shaunmiller says:


    I think they usually do make fun of people where their certain flaws or foibles can be exploited. Ford was made fun of because he tripped a lot, Clinton because he was a womanizer, Bush because he just made incoherent sentences, and so on. So you’re right about that. I’m sure if Jon Stewart was on The Daily Show in the ’90s, he would of made fun of Clinton’s womanizing ways.


    You say that politicians and celebrities “need to be made fun of in an attempt to keep them at least slightly grounded.”

    Well, based on your logic, if that person is grounded, then they don’t need to be made fun of anymore. To me, this is arbitrary. Also, how can you make fun of someone if there’s not much to make fun of? Imagine a president who is just fantastic and is adored by the people. The economy is great, everyone is loving life, and the world even adores this person. I’m sure it’s possible, but it seems hard to make fun of such an individual.

    Secondly, you also say that anyone in power should be lampooned regularly. Is this should a moral should or of a different kind?

    Thirdly, you also say that television entertainment gets its income primarily from advertisers based on target demographics and ratings. Now that’s true. But you incorrectly state that if the demographics shifted and the ratings are lower, then the show becomes unpopular. That’s not true necessarily. If the demographics are shifted, you just obtained (and lost) an audience. You’ve gained new demographics, and the advertisers can advertise new things based on those new demographics.

  11. jonolan says:


    There’s always something that can be made into a joke or parody – Obama’s big smile and bigger ears comes to mind.

    I don’t think you’ll actually find a well grounded individual in a position of fame and/or power. The very nature of such things tends towards causing people to have a distorted view of themselves. Lampooning them is a good thing. It’s also good for the society not to hold their leaders as sacrosanct. So that “should” was more pragmatic than moral. 😉

    While what you say is fundamentally true, there is a flaw in the logic. Most advertisers buy spots for an entire season at a time – but with the option to cancel them at any time during the season. If rating among the demographic they’re marketing to drop, the advertisers drop the spots. New advertisers have often already bough their spots for the season and aren’t available to fill in the gaps.

    NOTE: Fox is an exception to this since they still auction their spots on an episode-by-episode basis.

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